I posted this email earlier today to the Long Island TNT Run team yahoo group as there was an email thread on pace bracelets for the Long Island Half Marathon. For those who are not familiar with pace bracelets, they are basically a cheat sheet that lists the splits necessary to finish a race within a given time. I've decided for a variation on that type of device to organize my thoughts for the half on Sunday.
At the Start: Keep remembering you get to do this, you don't have to this. Nerves are expected as is success. Something will go wrong but more will go right.
Mile 1: Don't get caught up in the excitement and be a rabbit. Focus on going easy as there is a lot of road ahead today.
Mile 2: Thank a volunteer while remembering to drink. Be careful at the water stops as the ground can be slippery.
Mile 3: While it would be easier to turn into the park (and towards the finish line) here, there is more pavement to be pounded. See all the TNT people around and feel the energy. Put some of this energy in your pocket in case you need it later.
Mile 4: This one only applies to morons like me: Realize you probably should have shown up for more of the group runs but it is too late for that now. (In my case, one would have been nice). Remember Teddy Roosevelt's quote "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." This was in a earlier blog post.
Mile 5: Don't think of what you did wrong, think of what you are doing right. Be as tall and as loose as you can be.
Mile 6: Just about a 10k. Keep turning the feet over along Jericho Turnpike.
Mile 7: The dog days of the half, just past halfway. Luckily, there will be people cheering near Home Depot/McDonalds. Remember at least one stupid thing and one unexpected impressive thing about today. This is what you'll remember forever about this day.
Mile 8: It is all downhill from here (the highest elevation on the course is around here). The scenery changes as you run along the parkway. Enjoy the quiet and hope an annoying song doesn't get stuck in your head. "I Want to be a Rock Star" is much better than "Funkytown."
Mile 9: Don't follow the full marathoners as they prepare break off. That would make for a really long day but maybe someday...Oops that day will be November 1 in NYC for me.
Mile 10: Warmup over - time to race a 5k. The cheering crowds return.
Mile 11: Expect a coach to be around here but you won't know exactly where so look strong so they realize the hard work you did paid off. Be proud.
Mile 12: Remember why you are doing this whatever your reasons are. Listen for the race announcers near the finish line. That means you are getting close.
Mile 13: Start thinking how the finish line pictures will look.
At the finish: Cheer in a teammate and cheer in a complete stranger.
Post-finish: Celebrate. This is a big deal.
Post-Post finish: When's the next one?