Hey, you've got a race coming up!  This statement should not have just sent you into nervous stomach distress.  Chill.  A race is a fancy name for a run.  That's it.  It's an exciting, joyful, new experience, empowering run.  Can you be a runner without running any races?  Well sure.  But you'd be missing out, in my opinion.

Racing is a really really exciting part of running and I can attest to the fact that you are never the same after your first race.  And you don't have to be a seasoned and super experienced runner to run a race.  You will not be the only person racing for the first time at any given race.  There will also be a pile of folks who are less trained and experienced than you for any particular race.  You will be okay. :)  Pick a race - 5K, 5 mile, 10K - mark it on your calendar and adjust your calendar and training schedule accordingly.  This race will be a great goal to look forward to as you keep your training accountable and focused.

So our upcoming 5K race requires just a little bit of prep work, but nothing major.  It's basically just checking things off a list like you would for any run.  For our Luke's Locker 5K, we don't worry about timing chips (more on those in 4 weeks), parking, or carbo loading the night before.  (Please don't eat 2 plates of spaghetti the night before - you will throw up during or after your race.  I'm positive. :) 

Here's your "pre racing week" in a nutshell . . . .

Thursday (after your run and maybe after laundry)

Put together what you are going to wear on Saturday morning.  None of these items and clothes should be new.  No no.  Not a good time to try anything new in a race atmosphere.  Chances are it will drive you crazy.  Here's your list.
    Running Bra.
    Body Glide.
    Ponytail Holder.

Try for a good night's sleep on Thursday night.  Friday night may be filled with that weekend glass of wine and/or an anxious night of sleep thinking that you are going to sleep through the alarm.  (And you won't.  But if you do, the world will keep turning.)


Take it easy today.  No running.  Your legs will not forget how to put themselves in front of one another since your run on Thursday. 

If you are out and about in The Woodlands, maybe take 15 minutes to find Barbara Bush Elementary and the parking lot.  Eliminating any "fear of the unknown" will make for a better and less anxious night's sleep tonight and easier morning tomorrow.  Both the Elementary School map and the trail map are at the end of this summary.

Double check your clothes (because you know you've got something in the washer or dryer, right :)

Charge your watch and iPod.

Set your alarm.  Don't fiddle with it 100 times.  You know how to set an alarm and you've set it correctly. 


Race STARTS at 8:00 sharp.  Plan on being there no later than 7:40 to park, find the group, sign a liability waiver and walk to the starting line.  The later you try to time this, the more stressed you are going to be on Saturday morning and that is going to bum you out.  Don't cut time estimates too short.  I'll be there by at least 7:30, so you'll have a buddy to talk to if you are "early". 

Eat breakfast and use the potty before you leave home.  They do have bathrooms, but the school is closed and the bathrooms are at a park which is about a 5+ minute walk from the school.  If you've gotta go, you've gotta go, so you can just count that quick walk as a warm up :)

We'll all walk to the starting line together (like maybe 25 yards away) and wait for the signal.

BANG!  or in our case, it will be an air horn so "WHAAAAA!"

The energy and loud noise will just naturally cause your heart to beat faster.  It's not because it is your first race.  My adrenalin will be up too.  Here's what you do.  You take a deep calming breath and run.  You've been able to run since you've been about 2 years old, so just run.  Stay relaxed.  Enjoy yourself.  Talk to your pals that are running your speed.  Put in your headphones and run to the music.  Think about how bad ass you are that you are running 3.1 miles.  It'll be over before you know it, so take it all in.  And whether it's you or I that gets there first, we'll see each other at the finish line.

You are allowed to give it a little "oomph" near the finish without being ridiculous.  A managed, "huffing and puffing" sprint when you reach the parking lot for the last lap is totally good.  Passing people at the end is fun.  (And I've been the passer and the "passee" at all of my races.)  A crazy, all out, "I'm probably going to throw up at the end" sprint is silly.  This is not going to be the last time that you run or race.

Cool down at the finish.  Find the gal that has the popsicle sticks and get your stick and tell her your name.  (This is for the quick raffle at the end.)  Keep walking and grab some water or Gatorade that Luke's will provide in coolers.  We'll see if any of us win any loot and then you'll head home (or out to breakfast). 

Final thoughts - The key is to have fun.  Your family is going to love you regardless.  Your super and exceptional running coach :) is going to totally respect you and love you for your effort.  Your Saturday and weekend will go on as scheduled except when someone asks how your day or weekend was you'll be able to say (totally nonchalantly as to appear cool) "It's been great.  I ran in a little 5K this morning."   

Congrats on making it to race week!  See you Saturday!

Barbara Bush Elementary
7420 Crownridge Drive
The Woodlands, TX  77382

Luke's Locker 5K Route