The days leading up to a race you’ve been training for are always filled with anticipation. When I’m gearing up for a big race, I’m always nervous about getting sick (or injured) in those last couple of weeks. I take vitamins, I stretch a lot, and I just try to stay calm. But no matter how I try, those race prep jitters always tend to get me a little.
This year will be my fifth consecutive Flying Pirate. In 2010, this was my very first target race as I entered my training program. That year was the inaugural year of the Flying Pirate and there were just 3 of us who ran. Each year the group grew. This year, we have 16 folks traveling to OBX for this race; 7 of us will be running the half on Sunday and just as many of us will participate in the 5K on Saturday.
This year is special for a lot of reasons. When I found myself single again back in 2008, I started running on a regular basis for the first time since college. My mileage was short but it was regular. It started me on a journey to a much healthier lifestyle. When Melanie convinced me to join the training group that was starting in 2010, I joined but was uncertain as to whether or not running 13.1 miles was something I could really do. Since then, I’ve done it, many times over. I’ve completed 2 full marathons (I’ll do another one sometime down the road) and I’ve run a 50K at a 24-hour ultra. I even met my darling Nathan thanks to training to run races. This year holds special meaning because for me, it celebrates the fifth anniversary of doing something that I once thought was impossible.
Unfortunately, this is the year that I know I’m going to have one of my most challenging journeys. My plantar fascia is better, but I’m not completely healed. I feel okay on most runs, but my foot will start to ache after a while. Since we’re running back to back days, I’m concerned that this could affect me on Sunday. I’m also having some other pain that I’ve been trying to ignore but really got to me on my run on Wednesday night. The pain is towards the inner top half of my quadriceps, so I’m pretty sure my adductors are feeling some strain. I’ve been icing, stretching, foam rolling, and administering small doses of pain reliever to take care of that and they are feeling better, but I just don’t know how they are going to feel on race day. And last but, definitely not least, is my breathing. Spring is always hard for me because of my allergies to almost all tree and grass pollens, but this year the race is later than normal, so my allergies have been even worse. I can control my breathing with walking, but that slows me way down. That all adds a lot of frustration to my normal race anticipation.
I keep telling myself that all that really matters is finishing this 13.1. A few months ago, I couldn’t run 5 miles without significant pain in my foot, so to be ready to even start this journey is an amazing feat. It may take me longer than any other half-marathon I’ve ever completed, but I’m going to celebrate this running anniversary by crossing that finish line on Sunday, no matter what it takes!