I created a modified run schedule based on several full marathon training plans, and succeeded in covering distance and number of runs on my schedule each week. But ask me about quality vs quantity and my tune changes a bit. Winter happened, often slowing my pace significantly. The steep hill I used for repeats became a sheet of ice. Many runs in February went down in my running log as 'easy' rather than tempo, interval, fartlek or hills--despite the fact that they definitely didn't feel easy!
I vividly recall struggling through a very difficult long run in January when it seemed like I was walking far more than running. The only thing that kept me going was deciding that when I got home, I would find out how I could pull out of the race. And I did look. And I can honestly say if it weren't for the no refund policy of most races, I am sure more people would cancel!
I didn't give my bib away after that awful run in January, or an equally awful long run in February. I continued my training as the race date approached.
It is now less than a week before the race. And suddenly today I find myself second guessing everything. I look at my running log from the past couple months and compare my pace to last winter's and cringe. I should have added much more speed-work and variety. Despite all the fuel testing I did on my runs, wonder how much I should bring. I see an article on dehydration and think maybe I should consider drinking more water during the race. I can usually get through three hours without needing a bathroom break ... maybe that means I should have more water. But what if I do need to stop during the race? I've never had to line up at a porta-potty and lose time before. I trained with my hydration pack on over the entire winter but wonder if I will look like an obvious newbie with the extra gear. If I don't wear it, where will I put my fuel? Looking at the forecast, I fear becoming too cold if I don't wear enough layers, yet I know being too hot will probably be worse and I don't want to deal with trying to remove layers. Knowing the hills of the race come in the last third of the race, I wonder if I should go try to conserve my energy with a slower pace for the first 20K ... or make up a bit of time while I can and deal with the hills when I get to them knowing I will struggle anyway. And on, and on, and on.
I have never second guessed myself so much before a race.
I spend one minute excited about meeting up with my running friends before the race, envision myself crossing the finish and getting my medal. The next minute I'm nervously fretting about some little detail.
After that awful run in January when I wanted to back out of the race, I decided that my race goal was to finish the 30K distance and to have fun. Do I feel like this goal is obtainable? Yes. So, why is it so hard to keep these goals in mind and not get caught up in every nitty-gritty detail? Why am I second guess everything?!
I have 6 days to remind myself that I can do this. And to remember my goals. Finish, and have fun.