I considered running last year’s 10K, but I had already made the promise that the Vegas Half would be my first, long distance race.
Yet, ET was always on my race day wish list and I can say, I have been waiting a long time for this day. So much has happened since the Vegas Half – some up’s, some down’s, some catastrophe’s and many victories along the way. In writing this blog, I realized that it would be an impossible task for me to explain how I feel going into this race. This race is my race. If the runner snobs want to point and laugh because I don't finish as fast as they think I should. Let them. While I run with 1,500 very skilled athletes – I will be in my own zone and place. I will be calculating my body stance, foot strike, breathing and making any needed adjustments – every step of the way.
As I sit at my office desk, I can look up and see the 10 races I have run, including Vegas. I can look at the trophies/awards that I have received in all, but one of my races. I am so humbled by the recognition, praise and awards. I know I worked hard for each of them - and enjoyed each race experience.
Yet – my eyes are glued to one particular race day picture and medal. Yes, the Laughlin Half. My mind races back to that pre-race day when I easily race 16+ miles on my last long run. Never in my wildest dreams could I anticipate being injured on the course, both physically and mentally. I see my race day photo (at Mile 12) and I still wince from the pain I know I was feeling at that moment.
Since that time – I have gladly taken my training in my own hands. I trained the way my body would take me. Sometimes my body would push me and sometimes, it would have to tell me slow down.
No doubt my body is stronger – although it has a LONG way to achieve the fitness level I desire. I believe it is the mental muscle of mine that will be tested the most when the gun goes off at midnight.
I have a pace set in my mind, not to win, not to place – but to finish, injury free. I will wear my Garmin to ensure I am going SLOW enough on the front end, that I have something left in when for the back end.
And btw, here is the elevation chart - we go UP and then DOWN -
In the past few months – I have found that when I set out to my weekly long run, it’s the first 6 miles that my head starts playing games with me. Sometimes I just want to quit at Mile 2! No doubt my mind will send me messages of what has happened in the past, and try to keep me from finishing.
Not going to happen. While my mind will tell me to stop, I am going to trust my legs, my lungs, my arms and any other body part to just take me up that hill and down the next all the way to the Finish. I will let my body decide my race event, not my mind.
Am I prepared for this race? You betcha I am. My body needs it – and my mind needs to believe I can do a Half Marathon race. I can do these miles in my sleep (of course, running from 12midnight to 2am, I might be sleep-running!)
For those who see me cross that finish line – if you see my tears…. It will not be of physical pain, but to finally know “I did it, once again. Vegas was not a fluke. This 49 yr old body, can do it!”. Every mile is a celebration to me. Every mile crossed brings me closer to the Finish Line of that race. Whatever is my time – I will celebrate with a smile on my face. I don’t care if I finish last, I will finish a better person and athlete than I was almost 5 months ago at the Laughlin race.
I look forward to running this race with so many of you! I look forward to being at the Finish as I watch my Full Marathoner and 51K running friends come in.
And what happens if my mind starts playing tricks on me? I will do what I have always done since March, I say to my Ladybug, “come on babygirl – run me in”. She never lets me down, she has always made sure I make it to the Finish. This race will be no exception.
At the finish - not sure what will be beaming brighter – the Glow in the Dark Finish Medal or my Smile.
See under the Moonlight, my fellow ET’ers!
(c) C. Ragsdale 2011
Celebrate Your Finish,
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Certified Sports Nutritionist, Running Coach & Public Speaker
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