Well, it’s finally here. Am I nervous? Erm… Just a tad.
Back in September when I signed up for the Pumpkin Run it was definitely weeks and weeks away. Well someone needs to report these charlatans to Trading Standards, because I’ve just checked the small print and it turns out it’s NOT weeks away after all, it’s actually this Sunday.
Yep, in just two sleeps time I’ll be lining up (near the back) and preparing to throw myself around a beautiful 13.1 mile course. Please note that the beautifulness of the route in no way minimises the 13.1 mileness of it.
So, how am I feeling about my first Half Marathon? Well, it keeps changing. I’m mostly full of nervous excitement and really looking forward to it, but there’s a part of me that is filled with dread whenever I think of all the things that could go wrong. The speed’s not really an issue as I’ll be happy to just get through the entire distance, and I purposefully haven’t set myself any time goals. Having said that, I’ve set myself a time goal, and while 2:15 would be fantastic I’m aiming for a more realistic 2:30.
Based on my training runs, 2:30 is achievable. That is, providing none of the following happens…
1. I oversleep and miss the entire race
2. I forget a vital piece of kit (by which I mean not-really-vital-but-will-play-on-my-mind-for-the-whole-race, such as my favourite running socks or lucky womble)
3. Nerves and/or a miscalculation of my fibre intake result in me spending the race doubled over and looking for a bush
4. Injury (i.e. an inability to finish the race due to hamstring, knees, calves etc.)
5. Ninjury (i.e. an inability to finish the race due to ninjas)
6. Starting off too fast and then struggling for the rest of the race
7. Starting off too slowly and then spending the rest of the race punishing myself to make up the time (of which I haven’t set a goal, other than the one that I have)
9. Realising that I’m the only one dressed as a pirate
10. Escaped lion
To be honest, I’m fairly happy that I can manage the distance. My training runs have seen me doing a few distances of 9-12 miles in varying degrees of comfort and at an average pace that’d see me staggering over the finish line at around 2:25. My main concern isn’t whether or not I’ll finish, or (honestly) how long it takes me. No, my concern is that I’ll do it but not enjoy it. I’ve been looking forward to this race for weeks now, and the thought of not loving every damn second of it is what’s playing on my mind.
My other concern is the psychological aspect of it. Every race has a percentage of “proper” runners who wear vests and run like their bottoms are on fire*, but the Pumpkin has three races running simultaneously: 5k, 10k and Half Marathon. My worry is that anyone who’s (A) a bit of a plodder, and (B) got a bit of common sense will have signed up to one of the shorter races. I firmly tick (A) but I’m generally not at home to (B), which is why I picture myself getting very very lonely very very quickly as soon as the starting pistol is fired.
Of course, I’m over-thinking things as usual, and I’m sure that once I get started it’ll feel just like any other training run. Except with free water and significantly more people dressed as giraffes in Barnados T-shirts.
So now all that remains is to relax, carb-load and obsessively make checklists. Safety pins? Check. Gels? Check. Shoes? Check. Too much time on my hands? Check.
Wish me luck folks!
*by which I mean quickly, in case any of you were picturing lean athletes in little vests rolling around on the floor before throwing themselves in the lake.