Race Day is one hell of a roller coaster ride. From the second you wake up to that exhilarating moment when you cross the starting line, you're going to experience a tidal wave of emotions. If there’s one thing you can count on the morning of your race day, it’s that you should expect the unexpected! But fear not because that is what you’ve trained for! Here are the 5 feelings you have at the starting line:
Your eye lids flicker open and you think, “IT’S RACE DAY!" Suddenly a tidal wave of fear and worry wash over you. “Dear God. What have I done?” You silently think to yourself. Look I'm not going to tell you not to worry because you are going to be a hot anxious mess. I STILL GET ANXIOUS! I’m anxious right now just thinking about toeing a starting line! It’s normal to be anxious! It means that you care and that you're invested!
Anxious? Yes! Excited? HELL YEAH YOU ARE! You’re doing it! You’re really doing it! Here’s something I want you to do every time doubt creeps in or those anxieties over run your excitement, remember that time when you thought running was impossible. You’ve done the work now all you have to do is show up. The hard part is over! (That’s a lie...The hard work is MOSTLY over. It sounds good though so let’s go with it.)
Don’t listen to your brain when it whispers those doubts and insecurities into your ear. Your brain is a liar. You’re nervous! Of course you’re nervous! I’ve run over a dozen half marathons and marathons now and I still get nervous before every single one. I actually stayed in bed, paralyzed with fear for 15 minutes the morning of my first marathon. I remember staring at the ceiling thinking, “I can’t do this. I don’t think I can do this.” My Dad had to drag me out of bed because I was going to be late. THAT'S how nervous I was. You’ve done the work! Now you just have to put one foot in front of the other!
Time is not your friend on race morning. You'll walk a fine line between not having enough time and having too much time. Between using the restroom (once, maybe 2-3 times…you can never be too safe right?), taking your pre-race gel with water (OH GOD I FORGOT WATER! WHERE IS WATER!?!?), to warming up (should you warm up? One article said warm up but the other said you don’t need to! WHAT DO YOU DO!!!) and then getting into the perfect placement within your corral (GIVE ME SPACE PEOPLE!); time is not your friend. Repeat after me, “I HAVE TIME!” Every time you start stressing about time repeat it to yourself, "I HAVE TIME." So you're running late, get stuck in traffic, get lost, can't get through security or you miss your corral’s start time...you simply move back. There are some things on race day that are out of your control. The clock doesn’t start until you cross the finish line. Take your time, do what you need to do!
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” – That is your inner monologue as the gun goes off and everyone starts moving towards the start line. No words, just an inaudible scream. Or there may be words - as we made our way to the starting line at the 2014 TCS NYC Marathon I was turning to strangers and screaming, "We're doing it! This is happening! We're running a marathon!" The whirlwind of emotions that you experience in the 30 seconds to 15 minutes you spend inching towards the starting line are unprecedented. You will literally feel all the feels. All of them. And they will all be magnified to the 10th degree. Don’t fight the feels, let them happen because even though it’s scary, it’s 10 times more…
Those butterflies that are clamoring around in your chest? Enjoy them! I know it’s overhwelming but you are in for the time of your life. It’s going to painful, yes, and it's going to be difficult. No one said it was going to be easy! (And if they did they're a f*cking liar.) But it’s time to throw caution to the wind, say yes to you and lean in to the discomfort! It’s time to show the world what you’re made of! Smile! Fist pump! High five and wave to strangers! Hoot and holler at every mile marker because you're making impossible possible. HAVE FUN! Enjoy every step.
There is nothing, NOTHING like race day. Whatever you do, give it your all. Leave nothing in the tank and walk away knowing you did your best. Find those limits and push through them. You're unstoppable. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.