The Final Run?

Well this week hasn't been the focused, relaxing week I was hoping for. Between trying to minimize my annoying injuries, to getting ready for my Grandma's funeral next week...well let's just say my anxiety level is pretty high. anxiety-main_Full

It doesn't help that I only have 8 work days left of the year (yes, the year) which doesn't leave me a lot of time to finish up some projects. I'm averaging 6 hours of sleep a night and I'm exhausted.

Yesterday was the first time I ran since Saturday. I ran just a slow, short 3-miles on the treadmill before my Core Training class. The problem with such short runs is that by the time you start feeling good and find your stride, its over. And I think it will be my last run before Sunday. I haven't hurt this much going into a race before. Not even Seattle.

After my Core Training class the instructor spent about 20 minutes with me teaching me some exercises that will help to open up my hips and loosen up my hamstrings. Then last night I had a deep tissue massage that hurt so bad that I was almost in tears.

But despite all of this, I'm not too worried about being able to run the race. I've pretty much thrown any PR goals out the window, but I know I can still do this. I've ran 9, 10 and 12 miles in the past few weeks, have done a lot more core training this time around and most importantly, allowed myself more rest days. Well, more like my body forced me to have more rest days. But I'm ok with that. A year ago, I wouldn't have been, so I'm learning as I do more of these races, which is my answer to the question of, "Why do you race?"

The Lululemon blog recently had a post written by a guest blogger about why he races. Its an excellent post that I think expresses the sentiments for many runners. Personally for me, a race is not just about the race day; its about my whole training process:

- When I sign up for a new race the first thing I do is find a training program that works for me and map out the entire schedule on my calendar. I love having a daily schedule that tells me what to do and takes the thinking out of it me. My training programs have usually been 12-16 week periods and it feels good to cross off each workout after I've completed it.

- During the training process I religiously track my progress and bury myself in reading magazines, Internet articles, blogs - basically anything that may help me improve my training and preparation.

- I spend weeks building the perfect play list. Music is a huge part of running for me and I create a unique play list for each race. My main music sources are referrals from other runners and tracks from Les Mills classes.

- If its a destination race, planning the trip and who's going with you is all about the process too.

When the race arrives, I view the weekend as a celebration; a culmination of weeks of blood, sweat and tears. I love the experience of going to the expo, picking up my bib and timing chip and going out for a pre-race dinner. On race morning, I feel proud to line up with my fellow racers, compadres, who understand what the past 3-4 months were about. During the race, as each mile passes, I get a little sad knowing the experience is almost over, but the elation of crossing the finish line is priceless. Then, when its all said and done, I can't help but start to think, "When can I do this again?" And another training period begins, with new takeaways of what I learned from previous races.

One more day till the party gets started!

PS And who doesn't love race photos (from the Mermaid 5K two weeks ago)