If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.
-- John Bingham
It's 9:34pm on Saturday August 6, and I'm nervous. No, not nervous. Scared is closer. Scared of what is to come, tomorrow, and the rest of the week. Wondering if I can persevere through it. Not sure I'm strong enough this time around. Sure, it's my third time doing the ENDURrun, but I am the least prepared for it physically.
I had such high hopes for this year. I'd get back into the swing of training for a spring marathon, and maintain through to August and be in decent shape to improve on my first year, 2009. I'd get myself out of the running funk I'd been in. But January came, and my training in the marathon clinic was lacklustre. My heart just wasn't in it. I blame some of it on the increased social activities I was involved in, but really I just wasn't motivated to train as hard as I had in the past. Every excuse was a good one: I'm too tired; it's too late; I have to work early; I'm sick; I just had a beer; I just ate a huge meal, I can't possibly go out NOW.
The times I did manage to get out and run have been mediocre. I shouldn't expect better; what you put in, you get out. And I didn't put much in. I'd look on Facebook and see all my runner friends posting their workouts, and successes, and get some of my motivation back, but then I'd go out, and it would suck. Fifteen minutes into the run I'd be thinking: "What are you doing? Just stop this nonsense; you can't do it anymore. Give up." In the weeks leading up to the ENDURrun, I've seriously thought about bailing out, or only doing the shorter distances. "It's not a failure; you don't have the training and mental fortitude necessary for this event anymore." My wife and kids are worried that I'll hurt or injure myself.
But, here I sit, getting my race stuff all in order for Stage 1 tomorrow: The Half Marathon. I think back to all the Facebook updates and tweets from my fellow ENDURrunners in the last few days. Lots of nervous energy, anticipation, a little fear too, I'd bet. Some are nursing injuries. Some are having the best year of their running careers. Some are just hoping to survive, like me.
Tonight's race kit pick-up and update meeting was great; I'd been looking forward to it all day. It was great seeing all the familiar faces, meeting the new participants, and talking to the volunteers and race director. It makes me incredibly happy to be apart of this world class event, for the 3rd time. I think that's why I'm here. To experience it again, in whatever way I can participate. If it means personal worst times, so be it. I get to be around some of the most incredible athletes and most generous individuals I've ever met, for a whole week! Hopefully they will rub off on me and push me to do better than I think I will do this week.
My plan is to go easy. I'm reluctant to put it in numbers, but tomorrow I'd like to do the half in between 2:00 and 2:15. That's around a 6min/km pace.
Time to finish packing, some relaxation, and sleep. Tomorrow's an early day, and I need all the mental energy I can get.