Inside My Head On Race Day

Alarm clock. Time to get up. Fuzzy brain but body’s gotta move. Going through the motions until I flick on the light switch. Awake. Drink, eat, shower, dress. (Don’t forget to tweet.)

Drive to venue. Butterflies in my tummy. Every race is special. What’s gonna happen? Who’s gonna be there? If it’s a new distance for me — am I gonna finish?

Say hello. Smile. Happy to be here, feeding off energy of others around. Chit-chat, laughing, talking. Excuse me, bathroom break!

Warming up. This is “me time”. Everything else around me seems muted. Focusing. Calming. Preparing. Waiting for gunstart. Looking around at fellow competitors. Ah, a Kenyan. Ah, an elite runner. Ah, a friend beside me! This will be fun.

Start! Hit watch timer. Pace self, no need to go too fast. Breathe, get warmer first. Bye, rabbits, I’ll see you in a few minutes. Relax, relax, find the rhythm. Sweating. I’m ready to push. Here we go.

Overtake. Overtake. Can I overtake this guy? Steady pace, it will happen. Overtake. Form check — am I overstriding? OK, good. Overtake.

How are you, Noelle? How do you feel? Thirsty? Drink. Hot? Pour water. Muscles are okay; effort is in all the right places. Trust the training.

Stronger runners now. Can I keep up? Fall into their rhythm. Breathing is calm, emotions are calm. Satisfaction. Competition. Can I surge ahead? Yes, I can. I am overtaken. This one looks strong. Stay focused and run my own race. Pick up the pace. I’m flying!

Hello! Hello! Friends in other race distances are on their way back. Every smile, every wave, every call from them lifts my spirits. Refreshed. Ready to finish this.

Sun is up. Finish line in sight. Should I sprint, or should I stay pretty for the cameras? Footsteps behind. Finish fast!

Good race. Every run is a good run. And I can’t wait to do it all over again.

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