Racing is the fun part; it’s the reward of all the hard work.

Kara Goucher

As I type this, I have just a fraction over 48 hours until my wave starts in the Spartan Central Coast Trail 10k. The anticipation, and the preparation, is starting.

The 10k distance is definitely not a great deal, in terms of my plans for this season. Indeed, as my last preseason race, this one is deliberately under what my minimum distance is for racing this year (‘B’ races and ‘A’ races being a minimum of half marathon distance). But the anticipation of race day is always the same, regardless of if it’s a long race, short race, ‘A’, ‘B’, or ‘C’ race.

My first race this preseason definitely did not go to plan.

A short, 5k road race on the Stockton peninsula, I went into it thinking I was in far better shape than what I actually was and consequently set out way too fast, paying for it before I’d even reached half way. It was the first time I’ve walked in a race since my last road half marathon, some two years ago, and whilst the time was still decently quick, there was a lot that should have been done better.

But given it was my first race for nearly 12 months, it was still nice to put a bib on again and run in a somewhat competitive fashion.

This time is about getting prepared for the season to come by testing myself over a longer distance, more challenging terrain, and with the opportunity to test some in-race nutrition and hydration. Aid station strategy will get a look in, as well hiking speed and uphill running. All in all, this promises to be a real good test for the body as well as the mind.

The race program has been received and I have to say, I’m pretty underwhelmed by it. The course description is pretty basic to say the least, and the graphics are really low quality in the PDF, so zooming in on the course map is almost pointless. There is also no course GPX file available to be downloaded. So, naturally, the first thing I did was recreate the course in Strava so I can at least look over the course and judge each climb and decent, work out the runnable sections and have a think about goals (Strava predicts my finishing time at 1:24:33).

This morning I got up at 5:30am, in anticipation for how things will be on Saturday morning. Tomorrow I’ll get up a little bit earlier so I can get a good night’s sleep on Friday night. Given the course is nearly two hours drive away, being ready and out the door by 6am is paramount.

Race day itself will look something like this:

  • Wake up at 5:00am
  • Bathroom and a weight check
  • Breakfast of porridge and coffee with the aim to be done by 5:30am
  • Get water bottle out of the freezer from the night before
  • Put on race kit, comfortable shoes for the drive
  • Pack gels into water bottle holder zip pocket – three gels in total: one for before the race, one for during and one spare
  • Pack trail shoes
  • Out the door by 6am
  • At race HQ by 8am, grabbing fuel on the way
  • Grab a coffee after registration is done, make way to starting area around 9:30am
  • Wave departs 10am, have a gel 5 minutes before

Today is about getting everything prepared so that tomorrow I can rest up. I’ll do a small run with my daughter for her training this evening, but nothing too strenuous, just to get the legs moving and a final shake out. Whereas the first preseason race was just about getting a bib on again and running, this is about ironing out those pre-race rituals and preparation so that by the time the first race of the season comes, I’m ready to go.

Race day has almost landed and I can’t wait!

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