Yesterday, I did my last training run for the Sarasota Half Marathon, which happens on Sunday. As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m very happy with how this training program has gone. I’ve been consistent and persistent, and the effort has had a good outcome. I feel ready to race.
However, as every runner knows, the best preparation in the world doesn’t guarantee the desired result. That’s because there are always “wild cards,” unforeseen events or conditions that can make the whole thing go sideways.
Here are some of the wild cards I’m looking at:
1/Transitioning from doing the whole training program barefoot on the treadmill to racing barefoot on pavement. (That’ll be an sudden transition, by the way. Given weather conditions here and the short time I’ll have in Sarasota before the race, I won’t have time to do it gradually.) I should be OK, because I’ve been supplementing my training runs with gravel bucket sessions, but I really won’t know if it’s been enough until I race.
2/ Travelling to the race. This will be the first time I’ve travelled any distance to race, never mind that I’ll have a three-hour flight to get there. (No changes in time zones, thank goodness). I’ll have two days after the flight and before the race to adjust, though, so I think that’ll be OK too.
3/ Heat and humidity. At the very end of my training program, I did five consecutive runs (three of them at race pace) as heat acclimatization runs. I wore a base layer, full-length tights, a heavy-weight long-sleeved top, and a winter running beanie, with the intent of producing a high level of heat and humidity right next to my skin. I hope it’ll work, as it’s based on solid exercise science. But I’ve never done this before, so, once again, there are no guarantees.
4/ Mile markers. I’ve been thinking in kilometers for decades, but markers on the Sarasota Half will be in miles, with no kilometer markers at all. I do quite a bit of visualization on my training runs, so have included “mile thinking” on the last couple of weeks’ runs. I hope that having done that, and seeing those markers in miles, will keep me from getting confused.
5/ Pace band. I’ll wear a paceband for Sarasota (marked in miles, of course), so that I keep to the pace that will (hopefully) get me to my goal finishing time. I’ve never done that before. I’ll also wear a watch, which I don’t usually do for races, because I’ll need it to make use of the paceband. I’d much prefer to follow a pacer for my goal time of 1:50, but Sarasota won’t have one for that specific finishing time. I usually go by body feel for my pace, so this will be quite a departure for me.
On the plus side, I’m well trained, I’ll have time to rest before the race, and I’m in a good head space for this one. Sure, there are wild cards. There always are. That’s part of the fun.