Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Race Week Freak Out!!

I've got my favorite race of the year coming up this week; which is actually kind of a funny thing to say since the trails have changed location from one year to the next, so I guess this is a compliment to the race organziers (Jodi and Karine) who keep the atmosphere of the race welcoming and fun each year regardless of the trail. Yup, its Wascally Wrabbit time! If you're a fellow runner you know the ups and downs of the last taper week before a big race. Waves of excitement followed by feelings of panic ("Oh my god-what have I gotten myself into" thoughts frequently pass in my mind). The best countermeasure to the negative thoughts is to review your training. If you've had a solid training block, it gives you the confidence to step up to the line. This year, I have had much more consistent and injury free training than I had last year. I've also learned a few new things this year, especially how fast I should increase my overall weekly mileage before I burn out. One big boost to my morale this year is that my brother, Joshua, is going to join me! He and I have finished a few half marathons, a full marathon and a bunch of 10ks together. He's great at keeping the mood light for the majority of a race and I try to keep us on track strategically. With both of us spending our childhoods running through the forest by our home, and then he experienced the trails of BC these past few years, I know he can handle this trail...just how much of it though remains to be seen. I'll certainly fill him in on the fact that the first 30k or so (for me anyway) is about my training. If I've trained well enough I don't start to feel the miles until the 30k mark. At that point the race turns mental-no not "crazy" mental- but the challenge isn't that you'll finish (physically if you're not hurt you can walk it), but staying focused and positive mentally until the end. Last year I totally lost it with 3km to go. Feeling sorry for myself, I cried and stomped my way into the last check point before trying to shake it all off and head out for the last 2km. I remember having next-to-tunnel vision, knowing 2km stood between me and the finish. Every bone and muscle hurt. I shuffle/walked with my husband and daughter to the end with a time I'd rather not repeat. When I look back at that race I know I did the best I could with the horrible training I had (months of blistered feet, bad shoes and inconsistent runs), coupled with the fact I had spent the previous week on a work trip, socializing late into the night and flying home the day before the race. So, this year I have more confidence going into the race and the new format will also play to everyone's benefit as well. This year we're doing loops of 6.4km. So, if my math is correct I'll need to do at least 8 laps to get 50km or more. Last year we did loops of about 13km, and the year before (my first 50km) we did one loop of 6ish km followed by a larger loop of about 9km, we did both loops 3 times and the 6km loop a fourth. This new format will not only allow people to rest a bit between loops, but if I manage to complete all 8 loops I'll have run my furthest distance yet of just over 51km. The goal is in my sights. So what do you do the week before a big race? Rest. Sleep as much as possible, hydrate as much as possible without overhydrating, make sure you have all of the supplies you think you'll need for race day, don't run a lot, walk if you have the pre race jitters and for god's sake don't eat anything different the night before the race...and don't forget..breathe. ;-) Here goes..again!

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