My First Trail 1/2 Marathon is Sunday

I haven’t run on trails much, period, and now I’ve decided to hit the woods for the Dry Creek 1/2 Marathon put on by my friends over at Nashville Running Company.  This will be another first.

My “goal” is to use it as a training run, but since it is technically a race, we’ll see how that goes.  I should also probably run in my trail shoes once before I do a half marathon.

The thing is, I’m really thinking about how to run this (and future events/workouts) as pure meditation.  Not that I won’t push myself, but how do you stay in that gliding zone?  How do you move the mental needle and get faster without grunting and killing yourself along the way?

I mean why do we feel trepidation over something we know we can do?  I really think it’s fear.

This how fear could crush me this weekend.

I could be worried about my shoes.  I’ve never run in them and I’ll surely get blisters and new foot pain.  Then, I will be waiting for it the entire run in an effort to justify my thoughts.

I will also worry about getting hurt.  Trails are “dangerous” and it’s not worth the risk to wrench an ankle.  So, I will be running scared.  Thinking about running rather than running.

I’ve never run this trail, so I will imaging rocks and limbs and boulders to be bigger and more imposing than the reality.  I will abuse my comfort zone before I show up.

But this is how I will not let fear crush me this weekend.

I will marvel at how awesome shoes are these days.  It’s not like when I was in high school where you had to break in your ProKeds for two painful weeks before they worked.  I will embrace the comfort of my Pearl Izumis Trail N1’s (which are available at NRC…mention Crushing Iron to get no discount).

Instead of worrying about injury, I will think about how much stronger and well rounded running on uneven ground will make my muscles.  A half marathon on trails will demand more energy, but cross training remains king in my book.

And instead of imagining the worst, why not embrace the beauty of the trails?  The Zen-like nature.  The solitude and peace.  I live in what most would consider a “rough” part of town, but it is really quite serene when the pit bulls aren’t barking all night.  My preconceptions of the neighborhood had me creating false illusions long before I moved in, now you can find me running often at 10pm.

So, I don’t expect any records and I don’t expect it to be easy.  But I will not give myself premature blisters, injuries, or beat downs.   The mind is a powerful place and I will be using a lot of it on Sunday.

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