If you're a runner living in Philadelphia then I imagine you are gearing up to cheer or run in this week's Broad Street race, the largest 10-miler in the country. This was my first 10-miler and had been a milestone race for me last year. Thank the Universe that this year is not my first time doing it.
Yes, I completed BSR in good time in 2010. Yes, I completed a half-marathon a month ago. This left me feeling really good about the BSR which would soon follow. High off my 13.1 mile success, I started reading Runner's World magazine on the bus to work, getting giddy at the thought of doing more races this year. I found myself coming home from work exhausted but nonetheless psyched to lace up my shoes and hit the trails. I even got motivated to work on my inclines and speed, secretly racing boys to improve my timing.
But as I was discovering a new-found love of running, I was rapidly experiencing a loathe of my current work situation. I was not taking the best care of myself in the process, resorting to lots of coffee and processed foods to "carry" me through the roller coaster ride. And where did running fit into all of this? Well, it didn't. I tried to run on the weekend but ended up feeling the way I did all week...like I needed to hurl. After spending the day in bed with a throbbing headache and hot and cold flashes, I decided to refrain from any running during what was then the upcoming work week (and the worst work week of my life)...which brings me to the here and now. And my first run in a week...a week before BSR, which, knock-on-wood, went amazingly well.
My roommate asked me if I was nervous about this week's race, given my unexplained illness (likely stress related but not completely sure) and lack of running in the past two weeks. This isn't going to be my first BSR, so I've got that much going for me. I know what to expect, course wise (and it's flat; another bonus!). I don't need to wonder if I can do this race. It's been done before. Completing a half marathon at a decent pace a month prior to an upcoming race was a big check mark on the motivator list too. If I have to rely on muscle memory, dammit, I'll do it. I might feel sick on race day. But I always feel sick on race day!
Here are some extra TLC goals this week for my "Bring It, Broad Street" preparation for both the physical and mental aspects of my recent departure from my running routine.
*Hydrate - the temperatures this year are not likely to come close to last year's record (thank goddess). But going easy on the Joe will help regardless. This week I'll try to refrain from coffee and hydrate with chia frescas. And despite a fun date last week that happened to involve some alcohol, I will try and forgo said spirits at any upcoming date nights. It might have been what instigated the health situation last week.
*De-Stress - leaving work at 5:00 p.m. should definitely help. (most nights I am there until 7:00). Making plans to meet up with friends for dinner this week is a must. Their company makes life more scrumptious.
*Visualize - my dear friend Robert sent me an email last week with a detailed visualization about kicking asphalt at the BSR. In one paragraph, he took me through the course and got me successfully from start to finish. Training is essential but even with a detour in my running plan, I am confident that I can complete this race. Picturing a run across the finish line will help me meet the goal. My only concern at this point is setting a personal record. But I'll figure that out on Sunday. So many factors can affect timing on race day. There's no reason to worry about that now. In the meantime, I'll imagine a fast and solid run.
*Enlist helpers - adding a couple new artists/songs to the iPod gets me groovin'. Latest downloads include Lady G's Born This Way and Adele's Rolling In the Deep. Having friends or family come to cheer is the best. Susie might be making an appearance at the finish line. But even if friends or the fam can't come, picturing them there (add this to the Visualize list above) is a fantastic mood-booster. I did this during my half-marathon. I knew my parents were coming to the race but I had no idea where they'd be. So I pictured them at every mile marker. And this no doubt contributed to my fast finish time.
*Lastly, keep things in perspective - When it comes to terrain, temperatures, training, and timing, any race you or I will run is nothing like this one (sorry). When I was nervous for my first race last year (a 4-miler), a friend popped this documentary in the old DVD player. Watch the trailer. Enough said.
What helps you get ready to rock race day?