The main reason I didn't run any races for about 10 years is that I get disproportionally nervous about racing. I'd been brought up with the "do your best no matter what" ethic, which is a good thing, but for some reason my best includes getting way too nervous about screwing up. I had a hard time finding a healthy balance and calming down enough to "just go for a run," as my HS cross country coach would tell us.
Once I was out of school I thought it would be fun to do some races without any pressure, and soon found out that a whole lot of the pressure was self-imposed, because it didn't go away. After I'd run a few 10K's, it dawned on me that I didn't have to keep putting myself through the stress of racing. So I stopped. I kept running, but only for fun...by myself or with friends, but no clubs or formal anything.
When we got to California I needed something that was just for me, so I thought "Hey, I wonder if there's any running stuff in the area." Lompoc was a nice place to ease into a few races because it was small and because no one knew me. At worst, I could be a slug and everyone would think, "Oh, there's that slow chick," and I'd be gone by fall. And then, as it turned out, I had some decent times, which was a great bonus, and I thought "Hey, this is fun. I could do this more often and enjoy it."
So since I had the Littler One my goal is to be able to do the Bolder Boulder 10K next May. It so happened, though, that the opportunity arose for me to Run for the Fund while we're in Phoenix, and I thought "Hey, I can do a 5K in December." It's been good motivation to get my butt in gear, running-wise, and get my miles up. 2.5 miles per week just wasn't cutting it.
So I've been gearing up. Similar to two summers ago (I miss you, Central Coast weather. I don't miss you, Central Coast snakes), I've been running twice a week. My norm is to do 3-mile runs, which makes sense since I'm planning for a 5K. I would really like to work up to 3 times per week; I just haven't kicked myself in the butt & done it. 3 miles 3 times per week is sustainable for the long term. I can keep up with that.
So far I haven't actually been running a full 3 miles. Instead I've been sticking to the 2.5 mile loop that spits us out at the playground. It's just so dang convenient, and fun for His Highness. I'm thinking it won't be too much of an issue come race day, though. The last several jogs we've been out in 20 mph or so winds which, combined with the double jogger and rolling hill terrain, make for some nasty resistance training. We'll be in Phoenix for almost 2 weeks prior to the race, so I'll lose my high-altitude red blood cell advantage, but I'm still pretty optimistic.
This is the first time in about 10 years that I'll be racing anywhere near anyone I know, with the exception of the Cat Daddy. As much as I say I'm not in it for the competition anymore, I want to look good for my friends. I don't want to go out too fast & burn out midway through, or twist an ankle, or anything.
I have a bit of a warped fear when it comes to stuff like that. I think I've hung on too hard to the idea of God teaching us stuff through our circumstances (which he does sometimes), to where I get afraid ahead of time about what he might be planning to teach me by botching something I'm looking forward to (or allowing it to be botched, perhaps). I would never say it out loud because it sounds so crazy, but I think deep down I believe God doesn't want things to go right for me unless I act & think perfectly about it. And even then, he may just smite me for spite to remind me he's the Alpha (& Omega. Har har.).
So I'm already checking myself--trying to figure out how I'm supposed to feel about the race, and looking forward to it, but not too much (idolatry). Wanting to want to place, but afraid to admit it fully because I don't want to look dumb when I get there and there are a zillion runners and I'm nowhere near the front of the pack (pride). Looking forward to seeing so many friends, but nervous about what they'll think of my running abilities (as if they will be evaluating me, or even paying attention for that matter).
I've got issues.
I seriously need to relax. These are my friends, for heaven's sake. Their love for me is not contingent on my running abilities. In fact, probably very few of them have ever even seen me run. Not that I want to screw up, but if I did, I think they would still want to go grab some Jamba with me after (Mmmmm, Jamba).
Not to mention the part about God not being out to get me. Maybe the race will go great, or maybe it will be a disaster, but most likely God will not be using it specifically for a painful object lesson. Sometimes a race is just a race.
So my gameplan at this moment--other than maintaining my whopping 5-6 miles per week--is to try to get back to "just go for a run." And maybe talk to God about the whole thing and see what he thinks I should do, if anything. I like to think he'd sigh and smile and tell me to relax. I think that's a good plan...