As I've mentioned before, I don't really get pre-race jitters. I need to know beforehand where I'm going, what time I need to be there, ideally where I'm going to be parking -- but the race itself doesn't faze me.
Except for when I get an e-mail like this:
Our course will stay open for a pace of 12 to 15 minutes per mile. The City of Cilleyland restricts ALL running/walking events to this pace. If you go slower, you are a LOSER and we will force you to the sidewalk, you LOSER. So go FAST GO FAST GO FASTER WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU WHY DID YOU SIGN UP FOR THIS RACE ANYWAY SUCK SUCK LOSER SLOW ASS LOSER.I may be making some of that up. At least, the actual text of the message. The feeling it gives me, that's pretty much dead on.
And it annoys me. I know I'm a slower runner. People do walk faster than I run, at some points. Even ladies with canes. But I know I will finish the course in plenty of time, and probably not DFL, and I don't think about this thing at all. Until I read something in the race FAQs about it. Then I start to panic, thinking maybe I should drop out of the race, or switch distances, or JUST GIVE UP RUNNING YOU'RE TOO SLOW WHAT ARE YOU THINKING GIVE IT UP YOU SLOW LOSER.
You get the point.
I've said before, I like to think I inspire those who aren't natural runners. Running is both really easy and really hard, both physically and mentally. I recently read an article about Kara Goucher, discussing how she has exactly the same feelings I have. Kara Goucher. Freakin' speedy, world class runner Kara Goucher worries all the time if she can even finish a race. Not whether she can finish with a 6:00 minute mile. If she can finish AT ALL.
You can learn to run. There's bouncing and jiggling and it hurts. Up until very recently in my training, running hurt all the time. It had gotten better when I wasn't running; I wasn't so sore and achy all the time. I recovered pretty quickly. But the actual during the running? Screaming pain. Leg cramps, aching hip, low back spasms, can't feel my toes, wish I couldn't feel my toes. Not pain into the run, where you've run ten miles and yeah it hurts. But the I've taken two steps and my god what is wrong with me pain. I just kept running (mostly) through it, hoping -- but not really believing -- that some day it just wouldn't hurt so much. And finally, it doesn't. Being fatigued seems kind of a wussy pain in comparison.
Hmm, I think my point has meandered off the tracks. Where was I? Running races, pre-race jitters, I'm a slow runner, if I sign up for a race it's because I'm going to run so get off my back about time already, inspiring the slow folks like me, pain will pass. Yeah, still don't know where I was going with this.
Anyhow, I'm not going to worry about the course/pace thing for Sunday. Except to say that it would have been more helpful if they had translated that into a "the course is open until ________" warning. If my math is right, the course is open for roughly three hours and 15 minutes. I hope to finish in under three hours, and am aiming for somewhere around 2:30 - 2:45. Since there will be water (there better be water), I think it's all doable. Work obligations blew up my running schedule for this week, so I am extremely well rested. Let 'em try to relegate me to the sidewalks!
Viva la slowpokes!!