Friday, October 30, 2009

Ready to Race?

I have a race in two days, the Hot Chocolate 15K. And I'm not quite ready.

I chose this race back in April, after the Wrigley Early Start 5K, when I wanted to challenge myself for the season, to keep my motivation for running high. Since I hadn't run in two years, I thought it would be a good distance for me - doable, but enough of a stretch to be challenging. I wasn't even thinking about trying to increase my pace at that point.

Well, I didn't anticipate how well my training would go this year, how easy it turned out to be to get faster and to increase my mileage. But I also didn't anticipate how inconsistent that same training would become. The interruptions seem to follow a regular cycle of work - illness - travel... there have not been that many weeks where I have actually managed to do all my runs as planned.

So now I have a race at a distance I am totally comfortable with, but I'm not quite sure I can sustain the speed I want - I haven't been able to get in the longer tempo runs I'd hoped to. I'm not quite sure of my strategy for this race - I'm not sure enough of what I am capable of over that distance.

In the past it wouldn't have been an issue, my goal with every race was just to finish, running strong and easy. And sure, I could do that again. But I am certain that I can do more than that, that I have it in me to really push myself. But by how much? Do I set a goal that I know I can make (with effort, to be sure), or do I set a more ambitious one? I don't know. I think I probably won't know until that morning - after all, I have no way of knowing how much sleep a certain little one will let me get the next two nights...

Well, however it turns out, I'm in pretty much the best shape of my adult life, and I know I can easily run it faster than any race I've done before, so whatever the final time, it will be confirmation of the work I've done this year.

(And I'm still going to cross my fingers for a sub-11:00 pace.)

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