As a seasoned athlete, you know the preparation, the planning, the worrying that goes into running a race. Logistics is a concern. How are you going to make it to the event? Will you be driving, flying? What’s the best route? Proper clothes for the weather, and on and on and on. The things you have to think about and do, can be daunting. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to NOT prepare for a race? All of the pre-event things you do to make sure you are successful? What would happen if you did none of it?!
I ran a 5k a couple of weekends ago called Janes Warriors . It was a fundraiser for a woman named Jane who battled cancer and was a swim coach at Sandburg High School in Orland Park. I knew about the race for a couple of weeks and have run it before, but for some reason I never got around to signing up for it. Then, the night before the race I saw an email from the race director reminding us that there is race day registration available! I have run dozens (hundreds?) of races over the past 20 years and I have NEVER registered at the last minute. It goes against everything I stand for to let everything go until the day of the event. After all, what kind of person does that? Racing (even a 5k) is serious stuff. We’ve all seen them, the guy AHEAD of you at the start line – a very high number on their bib, pinned to the BACK of their shorts! They’re yammering on and on about their special diet, or how tired they are, or how they almost overslept and missed the race. All of this during the national anthem! That’s not me. I come early and prepared because that’s how WINNERS do it.
OK, here I am. 7am. Race starts at 7:30. I’m in line with my race fee in hand. I have not planned for this at all. No training runs, no special meal the night before, I threw on whatever shorts and shirt I had in my drawer. You know what? I feel great! The anticipation of just going out and running as fast as I can for 3.1 miles is very exciting. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain, and because I haven’t spent a lot of time prepping (worrying), that weird feeling in my stomach is not there. I ran a great race. Came in 3rd in my age group. Only about 10 sec off of my P.R. Not injured. It was a good day. Maybe I have this preparation thing all wrong. OK, maybe just a little wrong. There is nothing wrong with letting up a little on all of the planning that goes into racing. Of course this is a 5k and not a half marathon, but you get my point. Sometimes we put so much thought into an event that we end up over thinking it and not enjoying the moment. That (the moment) is the point isn’t it? If we’re not really enjoying ourselves then why are we doing this?
Am I running the Chicago Marathon next year? I don’t know, ask me the night before…