It’s race-day eve for the Surf-n-Santa 10-Miler, and all forecasts suggest that race day will dawn warm and humid, with a chance of rain—everyone’s favorite weather for distance running in December! (Shudder).
I probably won’t feel this way tomorrow if the forecast holds, but at this moment, I’m kind of grateful for the icky weather, as it will basically force me to honor my race plan of chilling out, slowing down and enjoying the atmosphere of race day without any pace expectations.
I found my other last-minute race-day guidance from an unlikely source: A handout about surviving the holidays I received from a grief counselor at the hospice that helped my dad. Stick with me—I promise this is good stuff.
As I scanned the handout looking for explicit permission to skip sending out holiday cards this year (if you don’t receive one, it’s because I found that permission—sorry! See you in 2013!), I was struck by how the advice could apply to just about anything in life, including a 10-mile race. Some tips I plan to keep in mind tomorrow:
Know your limits/boundaries and pace yourself accordingly. I’ve done most of my long runs at a relaxed, happy 10-minute mile pace. So it’s kind of silly to start a race at 8:30-minute mile pace, because it feels good at that moment in time (I’m looking at you, Philly Half!).
Don’t argue with reality—accept who/what/where you are at this moment in your life. I shudder to think about the time I’ve spent in races (and, let’s face it, in life) arguing with reality. The 2009 Marine Corps Marathon comes to mind—though I knew from the first step that something was off for me that day, and though it became clear fairly quickly that this was not my day to run a four-hour marathon, I treated every new pace group that passed me as a new and shocking affront, thinking: “Now, it’ll be even harder to catch up to the four-hour pace group! Nooo!” Imagine the time and heartache I would have saved had I accepted reality and readjusted!
Make this a basic principle underlying your plans: “I will do what I know is best for me, not what others have told me to do, or what I think others want me to do.” How many times have we (or maybe just I?) felt ashamed of perfectly good races based on what They will think? Whoever They is, Their opinion doesn’t matter, and only serves to subtract from my overall goal of running happy and strong. It’s much harder to listen to your own body, heart and soul and devise honest goals based on what you hear, but I’m pretty sure it’s the only path to peace.
Happy race-day eve to everyone running tomorrow. Look for me on the course—I’ll be the one whose costume theme is “Christmas threw up on me.” (Seriously—wait til you see how “well” my custom Santa hat from middle school and my maroon leg-warmers match!).