I sit here typing this little post and I’ve been able to get my big assignments done and a little ahead of schedule. My hotel room for my conference has been booked. My daughter is on the mend. So, it seems, my mind is immediately taken to the next impending task – the race. I have been going through this mental checklist and I found myself with a bit of a flashback. At one point, I thought that runners just, well, ran. I thought there was no real strategy involved. Obviously, I was wrong. Here I sit, thinking about how I need my race clothes (shorts, underwear, shirt, overshirt, calf sleeves, socks, shoes, hat), my equipment (water bottles, my homemade Clif Bars, gels in case I need them, my fanny pack), my drop bag stuff (extra bottles and nutrition, dry socks and shirt, extra compression shorts), and my overnight/post race back. It’s crazy how much goes into “just running” a race. But I think that it makes sense to plan out. We need to have enough, because you can never be sure the aid stations will have enough or the right stuff. We see this planning mentality a lot in sports and distance running, in this case in particular. The phrase “Failing to plan is planning to fail” has at least 4 different people who are supposed to have said it. It’s a constant motivator that planning can give us a better chance to succeed. We even see it in the Bible.
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?” – Luke 14:28
But equipping ourselves and having the right stuff isn’t always about the stuff or what you carry, but about how you carry yourself. Pre-race jitters get me pretty good every time. Between the time I eat breakfast and the race starts, I probably use the bathroom 5 times, retie my shoes 6 times, and second guess my abilities the whole time. Dean Karnazes wrote a blog post entitled “Secret to Calming Pre-Race Anxiety” where he says:
We cannot control the competition. We cannot control the weather. We cannot control the struggles that will undoubtedly arise during the run. All we can control is ourselves. Standing at the starting line, I make the simple commitment to myself that today I will try my hardest. No matter what happens during the race, I will give it everything I’ve got and won’t give up without my strongest fight.
Now, I’m equipping myself. Despite maybe being a bit late and being a bit hurried, I’m starting to plan. I plan to try and I plan to have what I need to finish. From there, we’ll just see how it goes. Wish me luck! Race recap to come next week!
Who else is racing this weekend? What do you do to prepare?