Other people suggested that I try to run shorter races, to help me get over my jitters. Of course, signing up for races is one thing, but actually being able to make it to the races is something else entirely, when you have two Things to deal with. Now that we have kids, it's not a matter of just walking out the door to go run a race. We'd have to find someone to babysit (at an ungodly hour in the morning), and get them ready to go, while getting ourselves ready too. Or, there's always taking them with us--assuming it's a stroller-friendly race (and assuming one of us is okay with not running the race for a PR).
Anyway, after last month's fiasco, I was tempted by the idea of doing a 5k, just to get back into the groove of racing, when the perfect opportunity presented itself. Hubby and I ran the Flying Turkey 5k in Evanston two years ago, and had discussed doing it this year. It's close to our house, close to the in-laws (who thankfully agreed to babysit)--it seems like the perfect shake-it-out race for me! At just two days before my half marathon, it can be my last training run, and a confidence boost at the same time. Perfect, right? All done!
But then, Hubby found out we could register for a 5k in Libertyville the Saturday before Thanksgiving for free! Nothing beats a free race, right? So, all of a sudden, we went from running one race (Hubby agreed to run the 5k at the Schaumburg race), to running three races in the span of one week. I mentioned our plan to my dad, and his response was "Do you think you're overcompensating?" Then I told him that one of the races was free and he said "Oh, okay!" See? Among crazy runners, a free race is not optional, regardless of timing.
And now the week of madness is upon us! Yesterday was pretty good! I was fine all day Saturday, not worried or anything, but I was definitely jittery as soon as I woke up. It wasn't nearly as bad as before the half marathon, and I kept telling myself that it's just a 5k, I like running, I will have fun. Oh, and breathing. I kept reminding myself to just breathe.
It turns out this race was the perfect one to start out on. It wasn't chip timed, so there was very little pressure on us in terms of performance. We just went out to run for fun. And, it was fun! I managed to pass a lot of people on the trail, and (drumroll, please) I even took third place in my age group!