I always get nervous during race week. Come to think of it, I start getting nervous a few weeks before a race. It doesn’t matter how big of a race, how long of an event, or how competitive it is, I always get nervous. To some extent, I think this is completely normal. I race in order to get the most out of myself, in order to push myself to my physical and mental limits and to see what I am capable of. I am always striving to improve with each race that I do. The prospect of not living up to my expectations that I have for myself scares me, and this is why I get so nervous.
With the Phoenix-Mesa 10K less than a day away, much of my worrying and anxiety has passed. It always gets a little better the day before a race as I have pushed past much of the bullshit that I try to convince myself of, all of the “I’m not good enoughs” and “I’m not cabable ofs.” It’s all a mental game from here. I am confident that I have put in the necessary training to reach my goal for this race, which is to finally break the 40:00 min 10K mark. I know I am physically capable of doing it, but my mind still wants to play tricks on me, convincing me that I will fail or that I will falter somehow.
When my mind tries taking over my emotions like this, I like to think of the quote that I came up with my freshman year of college, a quote that I have tattooed down the left side of my rib cage:
“Each morning I wake up with a dream, each day I paint my dream into reality, and each night before I fall asleep I hope I painted one amazing picture.”
This quote is always a reminder that I wake up each day with dreams in my head. I have the opportunity to actively pursue those dreams every single day. How incredible is that? I have the freedom to pursue the things I am passionate about! I have so many dreams to realize in both triathlon and road running, and I get to chase those dreams each day that I am alive in the hopes of being just one small step closer to realizing those dreams when my head hits the pillow at night.
When I put all of this into context, it helps me see that this race is simply one piece of a much larger puzzle, a piece of the puzzle that is a learning experience and a stepping stone just as much as any other race or training session is. So no matter the outcome, succeed or fail, I will learn something from this experience and be one step closer to my long-term goals. Whether I cross the finish line in 39:59 or 40:01, I will be one step closer towards those big dreams that get me out of bed every morning, and that in and of itself is always a success.