Its all about the mind. Mental preperation. The night before a big race I am a mess. I can’t sleep. I am scared. Am I going to fail? Am I going to throw away all this work? Am I a fraud? A fake? Do I even belong on the pro start line? I should leave. I should fake being sick or hurt. How do I get out of this??? Then their is the other truth: this is going to hurt. I have done too many of these to be in denial of the sheer brutal pain I will have to endure to get through this race. But the mind games all starts before that. 12 months out it’s all hope and lightness. I am looking at the race and dreaming of break throughs, working out the math of improvements and visualizing the best possible outcome. 6 months out it’s all work and hope. 3 months out the first doubts creep in. With every bad workout, every bad low priority training race or part of a race. Why x,y,z off? Will I ever get that freaking spear? I am failing. I am going to fail. I am going to be a failure.
A week out, it’s more doubt. Do I feel right? It use to be “Am I too young and inexperienced? ” now it’s “am I too old?” Or maybe it’s “Did I get enough rest?” “Did I train enough? Is so-and-so showing up?”
But the morning of the race I wake up and I look in the mirror. I can see I am fit. I head down to the venue and feel my confidence rise up, like out of a hole in my soul where its been laying-in-wait. I see the other athletes and know I will beat the vast majority of them. I see all the things that are familiar: start lines, bag checks, gloves, arm sleeves, and I hear a song in my head that tells me I am a bad man and I have come here with malice and ill intent.
As I walk to the start I am still scared, but now I am supremely confident. I am not human anymore. I know this, I am sure of this. I am about to do what few humans can do. I can feel it, like a werewolf transforming under a full moon. I am scared / I am supremely confident. I am not human, I am meta human. I am beyond human. Humans can’t do what I am about to do. I am not scared. I am not anything. I am ready