This weekend (weather permitting), I am venturing down to West Virginia for a half marathon. The half marathon is my favorite distance, enough to get into a groove but not enough to sideline training for a month.
I ran this race last year and discovered the true pleasures of a rural race. I am not one for crowds and loathe the stampede at the beginning of a well attended urban event. I prefer to run where I can keep a few people in my sights for an encouraging smile or nod but can easily set and settle into my own pace.
I remember feeling not quite prepared last year and I feel similarly this year. I think this happens as a result of not focusing on a particular race, not feeling mentally prepared. Physically I am not concerned about completing the distance though race anxiety always seeps into the mix. I will go and do my best, enjoy the long run and the time inside my head. Approach it in the spirit of preparation and cultivation, a soft jump into the full swing of marathon training.