The list of things that stress me out on race day is pretty long. Anxiety is my middle name, so even when I’m supposed to be having fun, there are several worries that get right in my head.
If you have ever jumped in my car for a ride to a race, you are aware that I leave EARLY. I leave with a plan to arrive the minute race morning registration opens. This is especially true when I am unfamiliar with a race or I know a race has limited or awkward parking. I have actually arrived at races early enough to take a nap in the car. Ridiculous? Absolutely. But the fear of missing the start because I can’t find decent parking is a real one, and I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Pre-Race Potty Timing
There are few greater terrors than heading into a distance running event with anxiety and a missing gallbladder. I try to time my portapotty visits appropriately, and work hard to ensure that I don’t eat or drink anything that will upset my GI functions before I start running. I have no problems using the portapotties, but sometimes timing with other runners can be tricky. Bathroom is always on the back of my mind on race day.
After the events of the last few years, I still get stressed out in crowds. To be honest, I don’t know that it will ever go away for me. I still try to show up, be present, and not let it get to me, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t edgy until after the race starts and people start spreading out.
Rolling My Ankle
This one is a no-brainer. So many races here don’t have curbs, and it’s easy just to roll an ankle on the easement. Even though said ankle is practically bionic, it hurts like heck when I sidestep, and it definitely messes with my head when it happens. I keep to the side because of the crowds and because I run-walk, so my roll risk is definitely higher.
Not Getting A Medal
Yes, I’m a medal-whore. Sometimes, we have races where only the first 100 people will get a medal, or the race will run out because they didn’t plan appropriately. I don’t know why, but it stresses me out to not make the cut. I was injured and power walked 9.3 miles like a bat out of hell in order to get my hands on this medal before they ran out. At the finish line, I remember being so absurdly relieved, but I couldn’t explain why it should matter so much. That same race gives out hats to the top 10% of runners, and it doesn’t bother me to miss out on that, but I also don’t want to walk away empty handed because I wasn’t fast enough.
These are another favorites. With your feet hip-width apart, balanced on one leg and lift the other leg behind you. Grasp your foot with your hand and gently draw your heel as close to your booty as is comfortable. Relax and repeat, five times on each side, being sure not to strain your knee.
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What stresses you out on race day?