Heading into Week 12: On Pre-Race Jitters And Anxious Enthusiasm

Guys, the UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon is one week from today. By this time next Sunday, I will have completed my first ever half marathon. [INSERT YOUR FAVORITE SQUEAL HERE] I can’t believe that after 12 weeks of training, the time to run is finally upon us.

This is after 12 miles last weekend (with a crooked hat?) — look out for this chick next weekend on the streets of Pittsburgh very early in the morning (she'll be the one moving at a pace that is barely considered "running")

This is after 12 miles last weekend (with a crooked hat?) — look out for this chick next weekend on the streets of Pittsburgh very early in the morning (she’ll be the one moving at a pace that is barely considered “running”)

Before I share all of my pre-race thoughts, let’s review last week and my plan for race week (!!)

Last Week:

Planned Schedule
Monday: Day of Rest
Tuesday: Boot Camp
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: Boot Camp
Friday: 2 miles
Saturday: Day of Rest
Sunday: 7 mile run

Actual Schedule
Monday: Day of Rest
Tuesday: Boot Camp
Wednesday: 2 miles, Yoga
Thursday: Boot Camp
Friday: Day of Rest
Saturday: Day of Rest
Sunday: 7 miles

Okay so I didn’t hit my overall milage, but I hit the major points in my first week of tapering, and my boot camp so crushed my legs this week that I needed Friday and Saturday to recover. (Dead lifts are a killer — that’s my theory on why they’re called “dead” lifts.)

I accidentally wound up running through Oakland during some graduation photos. Congrats class of 2014! Sincerely, the sweaty girl who photobombed your picture

I accidentally wound up running through Oakland on Sunday during some graduation photos. Congrats class of 2014! Sincerely, the sweaty girl who photobombed your picture

This Week’s Plan:

Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: Boot Camp
Wednesday: Resting
Thursday: Resting and hydrating
Friday: Resting and hydrating
Saturday: Resting and eating delicious carbs
Sunday: RUN 13.1 MILES OF THE HALF MARATHON

This week actually sounds like quite a delight. Resting, sleeping, eating. Sign me up!

Though I have to admit my 7-mile run this past weekend was beautiful enough to be considered almost R&R!

Though I have to admit my 7-mile run through Bloomfield, Shadyside and Oakland this past weekend was beautiful enough to be considered almost R&R … almost.

Topic of the Week: Pre-Race Jitters and Anxious Enthusiasm

Seeing as the race is this weekend (in case you didn’t get that in this post already), I wanted to review what I’m most nervous about and what I’m most excited about, because it’s the internet so that means it’s the time to be vulnerable to strangers, right? Right.

Most Nervous About:

–Parking. I know that sounds lame, but all of the logistics of just getting to the race are incredibly stressful. For the race, they shut down all of the streets around 6 a.m. (and some the night before), so I need to wind my way downtown, find parking, and not panic before the race starts at 7 a.m.

Bodily Functions. As a naturally anxious person, I am going to have to pee approximately 100 times both before and during the race. How will I find places to pee? What if I throw up out of nervous energy? What if I openly weep? Egad.

Weather. After I hit the wall in 86 degree heat 2 weeks ago, I know the incredible effect weather can have on my run and my own energy. I want it to be cold, but I don’t want it to be so cold that I have to start bundled up and then shed layers (I can’t afford to shed my clothes, so they will have to be tied around my waist like a cool kid). Rain would also be challenging, and would prevent spectators from cheering us on, which would be sad.

My Asthma and Ankles. These are my two biggest personal struggles. As an asthmatic for my entire life, I always worry about it flaring up during sports events. My ankles, despite many shoe changes, continue to cause me constant pain from about mile 6 to the end of the race. It’s not unbearable, but I don’t want to be so focused on pain that I can’t enjoy the run.

The Hill. The only big hill on the course occurs at mile 11. A cruel joke, I know.

Survivor Shuffling My Way to the Finish. The Survivor Shuffle, according to my father, is when one spends the last few miles either walking and running or painfully running to the finish, because you have hit the wall. I understand that this happens, but after all of this training, I really want to run the whole thing (not walking was an original goal). And I want to end strong, both because it feels less like death and because I want the spectators to see my finish strong (shallow, I know).

I interrupt discussion of my fears for this picture of tulips. How can tulips not cheer you up?

I now interrupt discussion of my fears for this picture of tulips from Sunday’s run. How can tulips not cheer you up?

Most Excited About:

Carb Loading. Seriously. I get to gorge (appropriately) on delicious food and it’s encouraged behavior. Please and thank you.

–My Supporters. Both my incredibly supportive boyfriend and my mom (who really doesn’t get enough credit on this blog. She is a huge inspiration to me as a strong amazing woman who owns her own gym.) will be at the finish line. These two non-morning persons will be making their way downtown at 9 a.m. in the midst of crazy traffic just to see me complete this run. I am so humbled and grateful to have such support.

The Energy. From the crowd, the runners, the city of Pittsburgh! I can’t wait to be a part of the teeming energy that takes over Pittsburgh on Marathon day. I can’t wait to high-five strangers and slug through the hard parts with fellow runners. I can’t wait for the shouting crowd as we pass the finish line. I just can’t wait for all of it!

–Doing Something I Never Thought Possible. I am the girl who had to take remedial throwing and catching. Who was always picked last for any and all sports-related activities. Who never, ever thought of herself as athletic. I am the girl who is running a half marathon. I wish I could tell my middle school track coach (who was always very patient and kind to her slowest runner).

Finishing The Race With My Dad. I am getting a little choked up just thinking about it. My dad and I have grown closer than ever over the past 12 weeks of running together. It’s so amazing that during my first post-grad year, I’ve had this opportunity to really spend time with my dad. And we will be stepping over the finish line together. Him, a 50-year-old man with decades of marathons under his belt, and me, his daughter who’s completing a life goal.

My dad and I, ready to tackle this challenge together.

My dad and I, ready to tackle this challenge together.

Veteran runners, what are you looking forward to? I hope to say hi along the way!

And I wanted to say a big thank you to all the readers who have followed this blog throughout my entire training (don’t worry, I am going to write a post after the race too, so don’t think this post is my last). But truly, you all have been a huge part of my motivation to keep running.

Your partner in training (and racing),

Jessie

 

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2 thoughts on “Heading into Week 12: On Pre-Race Jitters And Anxious Enthusiasm

  1. You’re going to do great! Don’t stress too much over pre race stuff. Just get a plan together and stick with it! Race morning always comes together. I was running in Oakland on Sunday too! It was beautiful!

  2. Hi, Jesse!

    To address some of your fears:

    Leave very early, and parking will be fine.

    I’m pretty sure there were port-a-johns at every (or almost every) fluid station. Along with like two dozen around the start corrals. My advice is to pee just before the gun. You’re probably starting in a later corral, and your time doesn’t start until you cross the start line (Last year, it took me around 30 minutes after the gun to get across the starting line because I was in the last corral.).

    The hill is not as bad as you think. If you’ve trained in Pittsburgh, you’ve trained on hills. Everything else is essentially level (second biggest inclines are the bridges… that’s cake). There was a really good cheer squad, and you can almost hear the crowd towards the finish at that point, and you’ll have enough adrenaline to carry you through.

    Good luck Sunday! I’m glad I found your blog again to cheer you on. 🙂

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