Musings and Mind Games: A Runner’s Race Day Countdown

skullTomorrow is the Race to Robie Creek, the self-proclaimed toughest race in the northwest.

It’s not so bad. We’ve done it. It’s actually quite a pleasant ascent through a rocky canyon, up a dirt road and over a mountain and back down to a little valley where nudists and tree-huggers and hillbillies live in harmony.

True, the rocks of that little canyon direct heat like a suntan reflector cone right down on that dusty road and the hoards of people ascending more than two thousand feet over 8 miles to the summit. That’s not so pleasant.

Then there’s wildlife. Not the gentle, hoofed kind, either. The kind that coil behind a rock or stalk you from a cliff face. My strategy for avoiding wildlife is that slow thing I do. Think about it. One of little known dangers of being a faster runner is the higher likelihood of getting picked off by carnivores. Because, you know, you’re first.

It does too make sense.

not funAnyway, the first few to make it to the top will hit it sprinting like gazelles, the next couple hundred will still be at a good clip. The ones after that will have resorted to walking the last half-mile before the top, but still have enough kick to pick up the pace when they see the race camera.

I’m in the group that reaches the summit looking like I need a paramedic. I’m pawing at my throat, bug eyed and gasping like I’ve just been shot out of an airlock into deep space without my helmet.

The last miles are downhill, usually treacherously slippery. Because of the altitude the snow will have only just melted.

If you’re still able to stand, there’s beer at the finish.

In any case, that dumb race has me preoccupied today. This little blog being the therapeutic vehicle it is, I’m just going to share with you the …

Top 45 things going through my head, pre-race

I hope it’s not too hot tomorrow.

Better not rain either.

Cloudy. 50 degrees. That would be perfect.

Until I’m done, then 70 is good. Full sun. No wind.

Paper says 75 and sunny, though. During the race. I’ll probably get heatstroke and die.

What’s for dinner? … hum … needs to be the perfect combination of carbs, protein and fat. I swear to God and all things holy if someone suggests Chinese I’m going to punch him right in the face.

Have I had enough water today? Am I too hydrated? Can you be too hydrated?

Medieval musicians on a hill. Or else a mirage brought on by heat stroke.

How much is too much water if I don’t want to pee a million times tonight?

What’s that song again, the one we had on in the car? Do we have it? Can someone put it on my playlist?

Where’s my Garmin charger? Wait, where’s my Garmin?

Is Italian too heavy for dinner? Is a salad enough?

Have I had enough water to mitigate this beer?

And this one?

Where are my favorite socks? Where are the damn socks?

Seriously, do I have to do laundry at 10 pm just to have the right pair of socks?

Tights or shorts? Oh, right. 75 and sunny. Definitely shorts. I’ll still probably die.

Where are my shorts? Not those, my good ones? These ones chafe.

Where’s my tank top? My lucky one. For good luck.

Sunscreen? Body glide? Lip balm? Sunglasses? Hat?

Are you taking a bag? Can I put my stuff in there?

When are we leaving? Where are we parking?

What if I haven’t pooped enough? No way I’m stopping for THAT on the run. Can I take something for that?

If we leave now, can I get in two pee breaks before the start?

Do we have those things? Whatchamacallits, those enzyme pills?

No, that’s right, electrolyte pills. Shut up. You know what I mean.

I’m not either snappy. Why are you so sensitive?

What about Advil? Band Aids? Did you bring the Band Aids?

Can I put my flip flops in that bag?

Think I’ll lose a toenail again? Do they make fake toenails? Why wouldn’t they make fake toenails? Someone would absolutely clean up on that. I want to wear sandals this summer.

Never enough bathrooms
Never enough bathrooms

Oh my God the bathroom line goes all the way around the block. Is that woman in line or just talking to her friend? Street clothes, lady? Seriously, if you’re not in the event, can’t you hold it until after the starting gun?

Did I wear enough Body Glide?

My bib is crinkling. Is that going to bug me?

Is my Garmin charged?

Will they have sports drinks at the water stops, or just water?

Holy God why is the bathroom line so slow? I only have five minutes. Five minutes! Shit!

Oh, I see you sidling up to your friend like you’re just talking mister. We all see you. If you think you’re getting to that bathroom before me, this could get ugly.

Okay, done. No time to stand in line for the bathroom again. I’ll just stop on the way. It won’t cost me much. Need to stay hydrated. It’s going to be 75 and sunny.

– Checks phone –

Make that 78 and sunny. Awesome. Heatstroke, here I come. This is the year they carry me off that mountain on an ATV.

They still give you the shirt if you come across the finish line with the medics?

Probably don’t get any beer if you come across the finish line with the medics.

That beer last night was a mistake.

Is that a crink in my ankle? Is this the year my knee gives out? What about my hip?

dummiesDear God, if I get through this run without killing myself, I will be eternally grateful and never complain about another thing ever again. Amen.

And if you could make sure the kids are safe and don’t set the house on fire while we’re doing this crazy shit, that would be awesome too. Amen.

… while we’re at it, a little cloud cover would be awesome.



What are your pre-race voices saying to you?


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  1. #22. Good one, Beth.
    However, it will be interesting to hear how some of the others
    work out . Oh, and forget the kids and matches – I can handle that one.