I can’t believe its been nearly 2 years since I raced a 5k.  23 Months to be exact.  And while I did two road races and an 800 last summer/fall, they didn’t exactly prepare me for the emotions I would feel today, the day before my official return to the track.

Wow, that sentence sure sounded dramatic when I read it back.  My “official return to the track” is not that big of a deal.  There won’t be a band or anything.  And there will be many more races this season to redeem whatever I could possibly screw up tomorrow.

But no matter how much I lower the expectations and take the pressure off, a wildfire burns inside me to excel.  Wildfires are unpredictable and dangerous, so I’ve basically had to spend the week calling in the fire brigade to seal off and control the flames.  I suppose this is a good problem to have since a year ago I was like a caveman trying to construct a fire with a spark bow and a few pieces of moss in the middle of a rain storm.

So today, pre-race day, eh?  What does that even mean anymore?  I’m way out of the habit.

I used to race so much at a high level that it was as if I would hit a button on my forehead called “pre-race” and it would set off a particular “behavior protocol.”  No matter what I was doing the week prior, as soon as I hit the button, I slipped directly into a mode of actions and thoughts that had preceded countless successful races.  Now I hit the button and its like the hard drive crashed and I have to get a professional to manually search for my potentially lost data.

That’s what I felt like this morning…like I was searching for what I used to do.  But as soon as I showed up to the track at 10:30am, I was put at ease.  With a new coach comes a new pre-race routine.  I had a little bit of old, a little bit of new, and even a little of the unexpected.  And as soon as I finished my 400 and 200 at race pace, I was relaxed.  I stopped worrying about what I should be doing, and I just chilled out.

Over the past week, there were so many moments of anxiety and excitement, fear and confidence…now I finally get to put on spikes and run hard.

And that is all I really care about.