So today marked my official last training run – a “very easy” three miles, the length of the actual Snug run course. I can’t remember the last time I only ran the regular route and no extra laps. Think it was during my visit home over the holidays. Or maybe last year for my final training run. Huh.
Monday and Tuesday, I felt quite highly strung – a big bundle of nerves, lines around my eyes like a cartoon character expression, agitated, and about to tear my hair out:
Wednesday, I felt a lot better, even from just waking. Maybe it was my constant self-soothing attempts – Calm down. Just breathe – occasionally paired with an actual deep breath. Maybe it was the good decision I made to reset my alarm to 8:00 a.m. after hitting the snooze button twice, allowing me a full eight hours of sleep. Maybe it was Lauren Fleshman‘s encouraging Tweet in response to my own:
Whatever it was, I’m so happy it happened.
Work kept me busy and my thoughts occupied today; but on the way to the Snug, I felt the beginnings of a good pang of “Ouch!” in my left rib cage, much like the one I felt for more than three of the five miles I ran last night. It made me a bit nervous. Luckily, I was able to fight the good fight and maintain a very sloooooow and steady pace for the Snug run and even found myself in a near meditative state of relaxation for part of it.
I’ve wanted just one beer all week but was able to continue my alcoholic abstinence and instead sipped on a tall, tasty glass of the ol’ H2O. In the end, all was just about as right with the world as it could possibly be. The best of friends plus one of my absolute favorite things in the world – the Irish Snug Running Club – equals a few laughs and clear head when I needed it most.
My guess on the rest of the nerve forecast leading up to the race? Tomorrow will include mostly sunny skies with a few dark clouds rolling in and out about mid day, a.k.a. feeling relaxed but fighting anxious butterflies in my stomach most of the morning. The late afternoon will bring beautiful temperatures in the form of excited energy upon reaching the race expo to pick up our bibs and bracelets.
Saturday’s forecast calls for cloudy skies and cooler temps as I focus on supporting the guys and do my best to fill their consciences with positive vibes for the Ascent, then run through my game plan for my own race while I wait for them to cross the finish line at the summit.
Whereas most meteorologists on news stations in Colorado are generally wrong, I have been pretty accurate. We’ll see if that holds true for this weekend’s forecast.
Today marked my official last training run. Tomorrow, Dakin, JD, and I head south for beautiful Manitou Springs - home to the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon - to see what our very measurable training plus our immeasurable grit and ‘go’ will amount to on the mountain. The next time you hear from me, I will have run my first Pikes Peak Marathon and my first marathon ever.
It’s been a great past four months of training and six months full of ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ - and I’m not just talking about the trails – since you all first met me. Thank you for ‘running’ alongside me for it. Here goes nuthin’!
“You’ve got this. . .Lead with the heart.” I’ll see you kids on the flip side. . .
Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., a long-time road and trail runner, conducts applied child development research and works to influence child development policy at the University of Denver. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.