The night before a race is a fitful one. It begins too early, eight or nine o’clock, and although sleep may come quickly, it doesn’t last for long. There is a tossing and turning stage about two hours into the night. The effort and control it takes to not check the clock is harder than one might think and the attempt to find a zen and hypnotize oneself back to sleep becomes something that actually happens.
Trying to steady the breathing and diaphragm only results in so much focus and quiet breaths that it mirrors the last hider in an intense game of paintball-hide-and-seek; therefore, causing a rapid heart beat and a shot of 3 a.m. adrenaline.
Eventually, sleep takes over once again, only this time it is accompanied by old conversations in odd situations. (Example: That conversation where your mom keeps talking about kids to you and your boyfriend so you are sending her crazy eyes that should translate easily into “SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP!”? Well, in this hour of sleep, all that turns into a conversation with a lady at a bag store as she tries to convince you to buy a new purse. She suddenly pulls out a big purse and turns into Mary Poppins by pulling all the little bags out of it and saying “This one will go to college with you.” or “you’ll have a little trouble with this ones attitude if its anything like you.” So you yell at her to stop being crazy because she’s going to scare the big purse away but shockingly, the purse lady doesn’t stop talking and your eyes are so wide and crazy that they turn into hypnotic circles and all the purses on the wall start moving like the staircases in Harry Potter. Normally, you wake up from something like this cussing and wondering what is wrong your brain.)
At that point you sit up, acknowledge that sleep is no longer an option, and you go do morning yoga stretches only to come out of the cobra and into a comfortable sleeping position on the mat. And that is how you stay for fifteen minutes of true sleep.
Finally, the alarms ring and you robotically put the coffee on and change into your running gear. You properly stretch, maybe meditate a little, and you make oatmeal because you don’t know anything about proper pre-race meals.
The stress and anticipation for this morning have been pent up for all these weeks, and in two hours you will leave it at the start line and run away from it as fast and free as possible.
Breathe. Stretch. Smile. Relax. You know you love to run, and despite the tossing and turning a few hours earlier, today you’re going to run with your heart along one of your favourite routes.
Who run the world? Beyonce says “girls” but today its all the Calgarians and Canadians running the 50th Scotiabank marathon and other races. Run fast, fun free, run because you can, world.
All my love,