February 23, 2007 on 8:50 pm | By | In Fitness Musings | Comments Off on Perspective

Now that I have hundreds of miles and numerous races behind me it’s easy to forget what it’s like to face your first race. I was chatting with a gal before our Pilates class the other night and she was full of trepidation over the upcoming St. Patty’s Day Dash — a 5K fun run. Not only will it be her first race, she hasn’t yet run 3 miles.

I gave her a pep talk (I’ve run the dash 10 times and may do so again this year), assuring her that she’ll not only make it, but will have a ton of fun (more than 12,000 people run it each year, many in costume). But our discussion really brought things into perspective and I had to give myself a pat on the back. You see, I’m at the point where a 5K is what I run when I don’t feel like running.

You’ve most likely had those days: you’re dog-tired, but your training log is beckoning you to run. My current training calls for 30-45 minutes of running twice a week (4-6 miles), with a long run on the weekend. While I’ve been diligent with my long runs, sometimes I just can’t muster the motivation to do the weekday runs. My darling also falls prey to such slackitivity (if that’s not a word, then it should be), and we can be very bad influences on each other. But before we succumb to the couch’s siren call one of us (typically my darling) will spur us toward Greenlake — a 3.2 mile jaunt at the most (the inside loop is even shorter — 2.8 miles). We can complete the entire trip in less than 30 minutes, including the walk to and from the lake.

Although I don’t remember much from my first race (the 5K Teddy Bear Tunnel Run in 1990), I do remember feeling nervous about being the last to cross the finish line. My concerns were for naught, as my friend and I finished well ahead of many others, despite walking the last mile or so. That was the last time I felt nervous before a running race, although the feeling returned this past summer before my first triathlon. It’s more the fear of the unknown — of what to expect — than the worry about finishing that causes this anxiety. After all, the way I train now, I’ve already run the distance required for the race long before the race itself.

So, will the fear return before my marathon? Hopefully not. But considering I’m a novice traveler who does not speak French, I’m sure there’ll be some restless nights.

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