Gotta 'fess up: I'm nervous about the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas half-marathon, which is now less than two weeks away. My nerves shouldn't be jangled--I've lost count of how many half-marathons I've run. Last spring, when I ran three 13.1-mile races in the span of eight weeks, I was feeling as confident as my older daughter when she's bossing her younger sibs around. But now that I haven't stepped up to a starting line since May 21, I've got a case of stage fright. I know I can cover the distance--my training has been going really well (probably because I've been following one of two half-marathon training plans from our upcoming Train Like a Mother!)--but there are a lot of variables that have my brain in a tangle. Such as:
-The race starts at 5:30 p.m. As in, at night. (Thus the race's nickname, "Strip at Night.") A creature of habit, I only run in the morning. I haven't run in the late afternoon or evening since my 1st-graders were wearing size 9-12 month clothes. Sure, the late start means I can sleep in, but then what am I going to do for the day? Not much of a gambler, I don't want to cruise the casinos. Lounging by the pool might be an option if it's warm enough, but I worry about the sun sapping my energy. I guess Dim and I could hang in our hotel room watching re-runs of "Friends" and "The Golden Girls" as we are wont to do on road trips but, again, I worry my energy level will start an unstoppable downward spiral. I'm an up-and-at-'em kinda gal but by day's end, I'm ready to get horizontal, not bust a move on a race course. And, don't even get me started fretting about what I'll eat that day or, ahem, how my bowels will react with a late start.
-The race has 44,000 entrants. FORTY-FOUR THOUSAND racers. And that's not including the 6,000 doing the marathon that starts 90 minutes earlier. That is a heck of a lot of people, and I'm not much for crowds. My palms get damp and my breathing a little shallow simply visualizing the mass of humanity making their way to the corral or pounding down the closed-to-cars Strip.
-My last race was a painful experience thanks to my plantar fasciitis. The pain was only about a 2.5 on a 1-to-10 scale while I was running, but the moment I slowed to a walk after crossing the finish, it shot up to 9+ agony. My foot is symptom-free 99% of the time, but a fear of the pain returning bings around my brain. If I end up hobbled at the finish in Vegas, that pretty much crushes my ability to run Boston next spring.
That covers the biggie reasons why I'm biting my nails these days when I think about Stripping at Night. What sets off your pre-race jitters?