Where I discuss my nervousness over an upcoming run
Why the heck am I so damn nervous?
See, I’m running a half-marathon in 11 days. I’ve run two full marathons, and I’m training for a third (that one is in 39 days). If I have a few hours with nothing to do? I’ll just go run 13 miles & change. I’ve conditioned my body for this distance.
I shouldn’t be nervous.
But, I am.
The first reason for this sudden bout of nerves is the most obvious. I’m running with my sister. She’s the better-looking, smarter, funnier, more-put-together version of me (but with boobs and long hair). We all know that I’ll stop, mid-race, to help a fleet of old ladies cross the street and then rescue a clowder of cats from a flaming apartment building, and that will be the reason why she’ll cross the line before me.
Even with my good-samaritan duties waylaying me, affecting my end time, I’m really afraid of rolling my ankle or something and not finishing. My sister and I weren’t always great friends growing up – but we’ve become very, very good friends as soon as we discovered we weren’t living under the same roof. She started to grow interested in running when I ran my first 5k, and despite several races that we were supposed to run together, it’s never panned out. Either the race would have to be moved and one of us wasn’t available on the new date or something would come up, and we just never managed to get something together.
It would be horrible to have one of us not be able to finish our first race together . . . especially if I get injured in my heroic cat-saving feats.
The next reason I’m nervous, though, I don’t want to admit. You see, I’m aiming for a time.
When I started running, it was just me – push myself, get myself tired, make myself go further and further. And I do that, regularly. But, a funny thing happened through all of that. I became a dad, and the time I had available to run disappeared. This meant that, if I wanted to really push myself, I couldn’t, “simply,” extend my runs. No – I had to make myself go harder as I ran.
Last October, I ran a 5k as I trained for a marathon. I don’t want to belittle anyone who is currently training for a 5k, but running 3 miles, when you’re used to running 12-15 per run, is “no big thing.” As long as something unforeseen didn’t happen, I was going to finish. So, I pushed myself a little. I started with the pack, and then I slowly pushed myself and pushed myself. My end time was nothing to write home about – but it was a good two minutes per mile faster than most of my training runs.
If you’re not a runner, two minutes per mile is significant.
I’ve never run that fast over that distance since, but I’ve come close.
Then, a few weeks ago, I had a few hours on a Saturday morning & I went for a run. I did one of my normal loops, checked runkeeper to see how I was doing, time-wise (I had to be back by 8:15 at the latest1, and I had plenty of time left. So I did another loop.
When I finished the second loop, I looked down and saw that I had just broken the 13 mile barrier, with a little bit to go. I found my last gear, and sprinted to the house. At the end, I ran 13.14 miles, in a time just north of 2 hours.
If the weather is kind on the 16th, and I don’t take too much time saving kittens from a burning building, and the course isn’t too hilly, and the wind is just right, I hope the adrenaline from the crowd is just enough that I’ll break the two hour limit.
And I hate that I’m even setting that goal. Because it’s not about any other runners, but I totally want to push myself, just to show myself that I can do it.