Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pre-race jitters...

It's two days before my "A" race of the season, The North Face Endurance Challenge Trail Marathon in San Francisco.  Pretty much since I started my taper a week and a half ago, I've started second guessing every choice I've made regarding this race since I started training for it in August. 

Did I do enough flat speed work?

Did I do enough hill training?

Did I do enough and long enough long runs?

Is my fueling strategy solid?

Is my gear selection right?

Am I really ready to run 26+ miles on trails with 4500' elevation gain?

To add to an already frustrating taper period, plagued with second guessing, the weather in SF has taken a turn for the worse.  It was bad enough worrying about everything when weather was going to be good, but now there is a storm front moving through that area that is adding flooding rains and wind to the equation.  Now I ask myself even more questions....

Will my shoes give me enough traction?

How much more difficult is poor weather and deteriorating trail conditions going to make the race?

Do I change my gear selection?

Should I wear a jacket that may keep me dry on the outside, but make me sweat excessively?

Am I really ready to run 26+ miles on the MUDDY trails with 4500' elevation gain in the rain and wind?

Truth is, I won't know the answer to any of those questions until I run my race.  I did speed work when my training plan called for it or when I felt it was appropriate.  I am faster than I was 3 months ago.  I have done more hill training (by running local mountain trails) than I had conceived doing up to this point.  I've got 3 solid 20+ mile long runs, with shorter 12-15 mile runs the day prior under my legs in the past few months.  I've done long runs fueling to the max, and I've done long runs allowing myself to bonk, just to know the feeling and how to push through it. 

Even with the foul weather on tap, the other questions are somewhat irrelevant.  My shoes are what they are; comfortable.  I know I can run the distance in them.  Are their shoes out there with more traction available?  Yep, sure are.  I even own a pair.  But I'm not comfortable enough in them yet (they are fairly new), and don't have the confidence in them that I have in my old trusty MT110s.  Will it affect me on the trail?  Maybe, but I don't expect everyone out there is going to be cruising in some Mudclaws or Speedcross 3s. 

The weather will undoubtedly make the race harder, of that I am sure.  But guess what?  It's going to make it harder for everyone, not just me.  All I have to do is go out there and run my own race...nothing more, nothing less.

Fact:  I am ready for this race.  I am the fittest I have ever been.  I am the fastest I have ever been.  My legs are the strongest they have ever been.  A week and a half ago I was nervous about gear, and weather, and training.  Today, I'm not nervous.  I'm ready. 

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