In some ways it's hard to believe that race day is less than two weeks away. It seemed so far away when I set the goal earlier in the New Year. Though in other ways, it's not hard to believe at all.
My body is feeling the reality, feeling the closeness of the day. At this point in the game, I'm tired. I'm tired of lacing up my sneakers and heading out for hour plus runs several days a week. I'm tired of scheduling even longer runs into my weekend. I'm tired of sacrificing a glass of wine in favour of water, the extra sleep on the weekend, the lazy weekend mornings at home. At this point in the game, with several 10km runs still to go, I really need to get my head into race day. I need the motivation of the race in my head space.
Thankfully the weather cooperated with my plans today. The sun was out by the end of the work day. The temperature a perfect cool 13 degrees. The breeze just right. I laced up my sneakers first thing in the door, before any excuse, before any fatigue could take over. I treated it like I would race morning, up and at 'em, no going back now.
I decided to grab a few things to take with me, My new handheld running water bottle, some gu, my sunglasses, and my iShuffle. I could have easilly done my run without any of it, well maybe not without the tunes, but without the rest. I didn't even touch the gu, given the run was just 8km. But my thought was it would help feel like race day. And it did. There's something about fuel and hydration that makes it feel more purposeful.
I also decided to use a pond trail instead of just running from my door. See, running along my street is convenient, but there are fewer runners along the route and lots of traffic. The trail route puts me amongst other runners and eliminates most of the traffic concern. I can focus on the run and see like-minded people out doing the same thing. Even if we weren't going in the same direction, or at the same, or the same difference, somehow it helped.
Finally, I decided to treat the run like I would race day. Go out the gate with some level of adrenaline pumping (helped by having a good tune on the ipod!). Start strong and plan to keep a good pace. Work hard to finish strong. Visualize the end goal whenever my mind or body wavered.
The focus, the plan, the effort all came together and I kicked that run's ass. I finished the 8km in 44 minutes, my fastest 8km evah! Usually it would take me 48-50 minutes at 6-6.2 mph pace. Not today. Un-uh. Today, I got my head space into the race and it paid off.
How about you ... any tricks you use to get your head into the game?