For me, closing in on the starting line of any race causes nerves, but there’s something about “the week of” that feels transformative and magic .
Suddenly, everything I’ve been chasing is terrifyingly and tantalizingly close.
Long training hours turn into short runs that shake the dust, but there’s no pushing for more distance. Whatever work I could do to prepare myself out on the trail or road has been done. I can only eat well, get enough sleep, prep my kit and be patient. I can sit with my anxiety and my flighty excitement.
I can once again lace myself into the shoes of the protagonist. Envision the start, the struggle, the finish line. “The week of” gives me time to reflect on the work.
Race week is also magic because any joy of running that I lost during sometimes gruelling training starts to return.
I feel a buoyant and exciting propulsion towards the finish I forgot I was craving. It’s easy to get lost in the middle of months of work and forget what you were pushing for in the first place.
”The week of” sharpens everything into focus. It brings the goal back in sight. Race day is coming, it will happen and then it will be over—and there’s literally nothing to do but go along for the ride.
You can’t guess how many minutes your race day experience will go on for—how many steps are in that mason jar guessing game?—but it won’t be anywhere near as many as the hours you poured into getting ready. You might as well try to enjoy every moment of build you can… And every second of the actual day.
Because for all the struggle and suffering you put into it—when it’s over, glowing with victory, wrapped in your foil blanket like a sweaty burrito, with a medal around your neck and a banana in hand… You’ll start to miss training and racing. It’s just that instantaneous, the way the feeling of joy comes and goes once the race is over.
Cue melancholy and longing music.
So this week is a time to prepare and think about stuff before the pre-race joy and the post-race blues. To go a little out of your mind as you prepare for your battle. To brace yourself and breathe deep and recognize that even getting to this point is a huge accomplishment.
The week of is an energizing chance to look back on what went wrong, what went right, and what goals or hopes wait on the other side of the race… AKA what race you’ll be signing up for next… AKA the thing you promised yourself you probably wouldn’t do but now you’re almost most definitely doing.
Run For The Toad 2019—I’m ready for you…. and whatever impulsive, soul-saving decisions come to me in the week that follows.