When my sons tell me they’re nervous before a swim meet, I always tell them that nerves are a good thing; they’re the energy creating the adrenaline rush that gives you that crazy burst of speed you can rarely find outside of racing.
On the eve of my last race of 2011, a year that has been pretty darn good in terms of PRs and new adventures, I find that I’m having to tell myself the same thing. I am unusually nervous about tomorrow’s race. It’s a 10K, which I’ve run probably more than any other distance, yet I’m more nervous about it than I was before my 50K, which I ran for the first time in May, or the Half Ironman that I completed in October.
I find that I put unnecessary pressure on myself to do well. At the start of a race I have to tell myself that, in the general scheme of things, a new PR or winning my age group, while a nice reward, is pretty low on the totem pole of what’s meaningful and important. It’s not that I don’t treasure these achievements – heck, I sometimes define myself by them, and this year my triathlon club did the same when it named me “triathlete of the year” – but sometimes I need to put them in perspective.
At the end of the day, I have a great husband (who doesn’t get mentioned very often!), two wonderful, healthy kids, a fabulous home, the luxury of only having to work part-time so I can train when I want, and many other freedoms that I take for granted because I live in a free country that I’ve been proud to call my home for 17 of my 39 years.
So tomorrow I will race my last race of 2011. The outcome hardly matters, since I already have all that’s important.
Happy (almost) 2012!