I have been so busy lately that I nearly forgot that the Hill Country 15K Trail Race was this Saturday. Well, some of that is a lie. This race has been haunting me for a while. See when I signed up weeks ago I thought I would have plenty of time to hit the trails and get ready. I talked a little bit about this race here. The problem has been that it has rained and I have been so busy that it hasn’t happened. Like at all.
Since signing up for the race I have only managed to run on trails once and I’m not feeling too confident. Running on the trail is so different than road running. It’s much harder because the ground is soft so your muscles work harder and the inclines are usually less gradual which overall makes things much more challenging. I like a good challenge don’t get me wrong, but I am also slightly concerned with the possibility of injury. Don’t forget I’m running the Disneyworld Marathon the first weekend of January.
Last week I was so busy with one of the organizations I volunteer for that I was out late every night and spent most of the weekend trying to catch up. I was basically a zombie running on coffee and lipstick.
Well, all of this is to say I’m nervous. I haven’t been nervous for a race in months. In fact I wasn’t even that nervous for the Chicago Marathon last month. So, what’s my deal? I think in the back of my mind I think that my body has somehow forgotten how to run and push through. I know that sounds incredibly ridiculous, but I think it’s true. I’ve never done a trail race before and I haven’t been running on trails consistently in about two years so I’m kinda scared. I’ve been so worried in fact that I’ve thought about requesting to drop down to the 5K. I’m worried that I won’t make it the 9 miles without rolling an ankle or tearing up a knee especially with the elevation gain for this race.
This year has been the year of the marathon and I’ve been embracing what scares me. I ran my first marathon at 5,000 ft above sea level in Denver with no elevation training and managed to run the Chicago Marathon with 45,000 other runners without walking. This year I’ve said yes to every opportunity to let running change me and I’m not giving up now.
I will not be dropping down to the 5K. I will do the race I signed up for. I will run the 15k. I will do what scares me and I will let it change me. I will push a little harder and dig a little deeper than I would normally have to and I will finish. I signed up for this race for two big reasons. Firstly, I wanted to love the trails again and commune with nature. I wanted to be in the woods where I feel most at home and escape the world for a while. Secondly, I wanted to break up marathon training with something really fun before the holidays arrive.
The Hill Country Trail Races are held at Serenbe which is just outside the city and easy for us to get to on a race morning. The Mr. and I have wanted to visit Serenbe for months so this is our chance to do just that. We will even be able to dine at the restaurant there because they are opening early because of the race.
Here are my goals going into this Saturday:
ENJOY IT. I want to have fun and enjoy the beautiful community of Serenbe. I want to take in the change of race atmosphere and delight in the chance to run a race without a time goal in mind. The leaves will be in full color and I can’t wait to see the amazing foliage.
RUN BY FEEL. Since this isn’t a marathon I can afford to run by feel. I don’t have to worry about going out too fast and bonking at mile 19 so I am going to enjoy running by feel. I think being able to run by feel will take some pressure off and let me enjoy the race a little better.
FINISH STRONG. Because I haven’t properly trained for this race I am going to take it easy when I need to and focus on finishing strong. I’m going to look over the elevation climbs and make a game plan. Based on the climbs I can make the call during the race to speed up or pull back if I know where the gains will be along the course.
I’m still quite nervous about this race, but I am going to do my best to not let it bother me. I am going to push through and come out on the other side. This race will be the perfect high to start the Thanksgiving holiday and I can’t wait!
I am linking up with Amanda over at Running With Spoons for Thinking Out Loud. Not sure what I’m talking about? Visit her website and join the fun!
Have you been this nervous before a race?
How do you push through a mental block?