So after a couple of months hiatus after Thunder Road, tomorrow sees the return of the road racing scene in Charlotte with the Cupids Cup 5k race. From now right through until December you can pretty much guarantee being able to find at least one race per weekend in the immediate vicinity.
Coincidentally tomorrow's race will be the first time I have pulled on the singlet and racing flats since December. As usual when I haven't raced for a while there's a mixture of feelings going into the race.
Excitement, about getting out there again and laying it on the line- this is what we train for, right? This is why we drag our butts out of bed every morning at 5am while most of the (saner) population snooze on.
Mystery, about how I am going to perform. Having not raced for a couple of months it is difficult to know what to expect tomorrow. Once you're into racing season and have run a few races on back to back weekends you can obviously get a feel for what sort of race shape you are in and pretty much predict within 10 seconds the time you should be able to run at a particular race. Tomorrow I have no idea. I've not been training for a 5k so other than at Tuesday's workout (see r2w link on right) none of my work has been at anywhere near 5k pace and also I'm 'training through' this week, with another hard workout in the bag yesterday and 80 miles since last Saturday.
Usually when I return to 5k racing after a break I tend to hit around the mid to high 16s as an opener. This time round my expectations are higher. I have been able to build nicely on top of the decent couple of months training i put in before Thunder Road and my training in 2010 so far has gone to plan. I'm hoping that that consistency of work will at least show some sort of fruition tomorrow, I will be disappointed if I can't get close to the low 16s.
Finally there's that feeling of 'dread'. The race is going to hurt, no doubt about that, lungs,legs, everything burning.
At the end of the day though, it's just a race. Running is a pretty simple sport. When it comes down to it, tomorrow's race will just boil down to running as fast as you possibly can for 3.1 miles. Log back in to see how I do after the race....