I'm sitting in the hotel lobby. It's just me, my coffee, and my thoughts on this Friday morning the day before the IAU 24 Hour World Championships. It is normal to go through a variety of emotions the day before a race ... nervousness, excitement, wonder, fear ... yes ... fear.
Running for 24 hours and knowing the absolute pain your body goes through physically and emotionally can't help but create some level of fear. Then combine that with the fear you didn't train enough, or the fear you won't finish, or the fear you're the reason your team didn't medal, or the fear ... the list goes on and on. But, all that fear is washed away when the race begins. The race is my security blanket. It is where I feel most safe and in control. It is where God allows me to do things with my body I don't think are possible.
Jump ahead an hour ... I arrived back from the grocery store and I was greeted by a member of the race delegation. To my surprise, he was there to escort me to the athletes village to give me a drug test.
I was one of the "randomly" selected runners from each country. This was my first drug testing experience of my running career.
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I will spare you the details, but tell you that it is a very thorough process that involves two samples of blood taken. Thirty minutes later I was back at my hotel room. Rest, food, and more therapy were waiting for me.
After a quick Skype chat with my wife as she was getting ready to go to work, the team and I were off to the flag ceremony.
For the first time we could see all our competition. The small town of Steenbergen showed up to support the athletes. The little American flags that coach Howard Nippert and I brought were handed out by all the U.S. team members. They were a hit in the crowd. The whole entire spectacle helped us all get excited about what was to come tomorrow at noon sharp.
Many if us gathered for a quick meal in Bergen Op Zoom, so we could get back to our hotel rooms to finish any last-minute preparations.
Well, it is finally here. All those 4 a.m. wake-up calls and the countless double runs. I will know tomorrow how much they helped. The training never lies:)
Wish me luck and keep the cheers coming all day. The motivation will surely keep me on the course for twenty four hours and hopeful result in some team medals.
Thanks again for all your support and the next time I write, the race will be completed.
Bye for now!