I'm enjoying this sense of calm.
In five days I'll be testing myself once again. It's all I ever seem to do - set myself challenges and see if I can do them. Thankfully, I appear to overcome most of the time.
For a change, I'm serene. I feel okay about this. I just have to keep telling myself that it's going to be okay. I've done it before I can do it again. I can't overthink this. It's just one morning of my life.
It's only 21.1 kilometres.
I will be rising early on Sunday. I'll be imbibing my normal triple ristretto and a vanilla protein shake - that's all I ever have on the morning of a race. My bum bag will be packed the night before. My spare, lightweight house keys, a couple of gels - one for the 8 km mark, one for the 16 km mark, one for after and a spare or two for any needy compatriots on the road. Also there will be my driver's licence, my credit card and twenty dollars which I jokingly refer to as cab fare. I normally run with twenty dollars tucked down my bra - just in case I get into trouble. To date, I've never used it.
Clothing wise - I now know which bra destroys my breasts leaving my poor,dear, girlie fun bags covered in chafe marks - I wont wear that one. Along with a crop top, my go-faster-red singlet I like to wear for races, 2XU compression tights, black toe socks, heart rate monitor, ASICS Kayanos and a white, stay dry hat. A spare bag might have a jumper in it to sit in the bagging area - then again, I might not. It will depend on the day. If it's not feeling too cold I'll leave it behind.
Other than my knee brace, I don't have any special accoutrements. The toenails will be cut short during the week. I left them long for my second race and lost a toenail. Don't want that to happen again.
So far, the day looks like it will be a good one to run in. 23 degrees celcius, fairly sunny, at 12 degrees overnight, so when we set off, it will be nice and cool - some of the marathoners will struggle if they're doing the race in anything over four hours though - I can see the last half hour being a bit rigorous - though thank heavens for daylight savings.
If Trin and Desi join me on the way in on the morning, I'll see them off on their 10 km run which starts half an hour before.
It's Desi's first fun run. She'll do brilliantly in the ten kilometre race.
I've lost count at how many I've done of these. I just know it's my fourth timed half marathon.
Anna from the gym might be running with me in the half - she normally runs a bit faster than me, but she has never gone the distance. I don't mind if I'm on my own. I like the challenge and I always meet people on the road - just like when I go on holidays.
I'm not setting out with a true race plan. My agenda is fairly simple. Run 21.1 kilometres. Don't hurt myself. Don't walk too much (I use the odd 50 metre walk as a way to regulate my heart rate - it's a nifty trick). Don't cry at the 18 kilometre mark when the pain really sets in - once you've passed the 19 kilometre mark you know you only have ten minutes left and it's all over. I normally cry around the 18 kilometre mark. Sprint the last hundred metres, as per the other races - because I can - because there is just enough in the tank to do that. Don't get dragged back by somebody else's too slow pace (this might hinder Anna if she runs with me - then again, might not) Drink at every water station. See what you can clock the 10 km at - if I'm there before 65 minutes - I'm cruising.
I don't want to put the pressure of a two hour fifteen half marathon on myself. I want to see what the day brings. All I know is that I'm running well at the moment. I went to spin class yesterday. First in over a year (that I've completed - I went in March, but my knee gave me jip so I left after the warm up). Finding that I could complete the class with ease felt good - going to try going a few times a week from now on to get the intervals at a better place. It will also mean ramping up the tension on th bike a bit. I forgot how much I love spin class, even if it breaks my bum for a day or so after - will just have to toughen up.
For all of the hype around running this half marathon, for the first time ever, I feel prepared. Mentally, I'm well set. Physically, I'm in great nick - slightly broken bum excepted and that will be right in a day or two. Emotionally, I'm not doing to badly either. I feel strong on the inside and out.
It's never been like this before.
So, bring it on.
I just wish I could sometimes tackle life with the grace of a long race.