Upcoming events –

Napa-Sonoma Half Marathon, July 20, 2014
Noble Canyon 50km Trail, September 20, 2014

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Night before the race

August 26--Night before the race

It's 9pm and I'm just back from my 'last supper' at the dining hall before the race. It's kind of funny how similar this pre-race time feels to an execution or a funeral or some similarly solemn event. Friends and family are nervous but not sure what to say, tentative, walking on egg-shells. They offer support and compassion and positive pep talks, but they feel a bit helpless. I am fairly sedate as I await the inevitable. I know that they won't physically go through the same torment that my body will experience, though emotionally, I suppose, it can be just as draining and exhausting for them as for me. Sometimes before a major race, I think I am more relaxed and calm than my wife.

Liz told me the funniest thing recently. She has seen me race 50km a few times, but usually it is under decent conditions. She said she has never really seen me in a super hard 50km when I needed to be hospitalized or put on IVs. The worst that she has seen may have been in Italy two years ago at the World Cup. I had a great race. I was very well prepared and finished in a personal best time, 13th overall. But afterward I was a wreck. I needed her help just to make it back to the hotel and I was useless for a couple days as we toured the sights in Northern Italy. The worst post-race experience I had was in 1998 after a 50km in Miami on a 1km loop course in blazing hot conditions. I puked during the race, again afterward, and was going in to some kind of dehydration shock when they decided to load me in the ambulance and rush me off to the local hospital for three IV bags of saline fluid. I nearly missed the awards ceremony. I've had a couple other hot weather races where I needed post-race IVs to rehydrate quickly. Not fun.

With that in mind, I am prepared for tomorrow's race. :) I know it will be hot; there's nothing I can do about that. I am as well prepared for the heat as I can be having trained in Crete for three weeks and practiced drinking the extra fluids I will need. I am a bit nervous about the race, of course, but I am also confident that I am as well prepared as I can be for this moment. Sure, I would love to have been healthy the past four months but I can't control that now. I can control my attitude, though. So, I enter this race with a positive attitude, a lot of heart, faith in myself and the knowledge that once I'm done, it won't hurt so much. That last part is a bit of a joke because once I cross the finish line, my legs will still ache, my feet will still be ready to explode, and I will be too tired to make it back to the Village without some help. But that's okay, I signed up for the 50km, not the 100 meter dash. I get to spend more time racing as an Olympian than any other track and field athlete. Not even the marathoners go as far for as long as we do in the 50km. How cool is that?

Off to bed soon. Cheer loudly, yell at the TV because it will make me go faster, and enjoy the Games!

No comments: