The Detroit Free Press Half Marathon is next Sunday. I've been following a training plan I found for free online. As always, when I get to the point where mileage is being reduced and the race is around the corner I start feeling the doubt. Have I done enough? Will I finish in a faster time than last year? Will I finish?
Runs like this last Thursday evening certainly don't help my neurosis. 12k was on the schedule. I was running with Paul, Sydney, Andy, and another friend Jodi. We set out at 6:30, which is truly kind of late for me for runs, and from the first step I thought, "Uh oh". I was not feeling it. My legs were killing me. Was it the two nights of volleyball I had played that week (fall volleyball has started)? Was my crappy lunch to blame? I didn't know. What I did know was that I was hurting and we were less than 1k into it. I was tempted to hang it up for the night but the overwhelming sense of dread at not being ready for the race won out. I managed to slog through the entire 12k. Our average time was pretty good too (6:24/km?) but I haven't had a run like that in a long time.
Cut to today when the plan calls for 13k. I couldn't run with Sydney and Andy as they ran yesterday and I couldn't swing it. I went with Paul to Malden Park so that we could get a few hills in as the race has a couple of climbs (over the bridge and through the tunnel). I wouldn't be running with Paul as his pace is quite a bit faster and he wasn't planning on dialing it back today. I brought my iPod to help make the time go by and we set off. I finished 10k. I just couldn't do anymore. Physically I felt fine but the monotony of doing circles around that park made me want to blow my brains out. Paul loves it because he loves the challenge of the hills and trying to get up them faster than last time. The loop around the park is about 2k though and I just kept going around, and around, and around. There are trails that go off into the conservation area but I'm not familiar with them and didn't want to venture in alone.
So here I sit worried about whether I'm ready. Worried about whether I won't improve on last year's time. This is exactly why I've decided to hire a coach to get me to my first HIM next year. It's too important of a race to get to the start line with anxiety about whether I've done enough.