I’m always a bit uneasy and fidgety in the week leading up to a race.
Finding the right balance between freshness and fitness may be a science, but if it is I haven’t landed on the right formula yet. In the week before a race I try to gauge where I’m at physically and mentally, what the race is going to demand of me, and then make a judgement call as to what sort of training I want to engage in.
At 6 AM on Saturday morning I’ll toe the line at the Sky to Summit race in Sky Valley, GA. It’s roughly 31 miles (about 50 kilometers) of single-track trails, forest service roads, and just a little asphalt that meanders up, down, and around Rabun Bald, the second highest peak in Georgia.
Over the course of those 31 miles I’ll climb about 7,000 feet (about 2000 meters) and descend the same distance, all while traveling through fall colors in the northeast Georgia mountains. By reputation, it’s one of the most beautiful races on the east coast.
For now I wait. This is a tough race and I injured my knee just 7 weeks ago. As a result, my training plan for this week includes zero miles of running. I also plan to skip my usual bodyweight workouts on both Thursday and Friday in favor of getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep.
It’s funny. I already know that by about 9 AM on Saturday, when I’m halfway into the race, cold and tired, with achy feet and burning lungs, I’ll wonder why I’m even out there. But right now, Saturday can’t get here soon enough.