|Waiting, NERVOUSLY, minutes before the 2011 Fargo Martahon|
As long as I've put in a reasonable amount of training for the particular race, the logical and most likely conclusion when evaluating an impending 26.2 is that I'll have no trouble completing it. And sitting here a week before the 2014 Little Rock Marathon, I really can't imagine a scenario where I would DNF. That said, I'm still nervous as heck. And I can't help but wonder why.
Part of my anxiety is because I measure so much of my personal performance by finishing time. I know some don't ... but I do. I usually have a clock goal set for each race. Sometimes it's fast, sometimes it's slower. But regardless of the specific target for the race, the nerves build as I wonder if I can keep this prescribed pace over the entire distance. In fact, regarding time, that's simply what it comes down to. Not really whether or not I'll finish, but can I hold it for the full 26.2. For instance in this race, I really want to be around 7:30 for most of the latter miles. I have no doubt I can carry the pace for 20, but the remaining 6.2 is where the concern really comes in.
But besides the typical clock challenge, I think the other reason nerves build is because it's my body's natural way of saying, "Oh no, here we go again ... this is gonna hurt!" In almost marathon I've lined up for, the first 90 minutes feels great! The people are cheering, the bands are playing, and the energy from the race day adrenaline carries me like a breeze. But after that ... it sucks! It's a grind, and sometimes an all out Pain-fest. And if I went out too fast, like I've done plenty of times, those last miles feel like a certain excruciating death has consumed the lower half of your body. So the nerves are probably just my body's subconscious way of pushing back.
So how about you? Do you still get nervous before your big races? Or are you cool as a cucumber? I've learned over the years that keeping the nervous energy at a minimum plays a big part in success or failure on race day. So this week, I'll be focusing on just that. Have a great week!
... be great today!