Hard work is all done

The wait is nearly over for me, and nearly 200 other runners as Off The Beaten Track looms large on the horizon this Sunday.

To say that I’m excited is an understatement. Excited does not begin to accurately explain the emotions that I have been feeling, which range from eager to anxious.

I am really looking forward to proving to myself that even though I haven’t been trained by a professional and haven’t ever attempted to run the backwoods and bush in Cayman, I can do it.

The top secret map was released last Sunday and my team-mates The Green Mambas quickly scoured it and picked the legs that each of us would run.

I’m not sure how sharp my navigation skills are going to be and so I study the maps. My preference is leg four. The starting point is near my house and I’m sure that I can find my way there without getting lost, the rest of the team is depending on me after all. .

I also like the fact that as I will be running a middle leg and will be able to pop home for a quick shower before coming to the finish line fresh as a daisy.

I have completed the C25K podcast running programme I used as a guide and have begun running daily, taking maybe two days off throughout the week.

While I run, I concentrate on my technique. I make sure to stand up straight and tall, especially before my first few steps of running and try and tighten my core so that the muscles are fully engaged, offering maximum support to my spine.

I make a mental note to sign up for those Pilates classes I have been wanting to try and curse myself for not doing so two years ago and pay special attention to my stride, making sure that I haven’t picked up any bad habits along the way.

It’s important to run a mental checklist as you run, going over the various body parts.

When I ask seasoned runners how to prepare for the race day, I hear, “Don’t change anything.” This applies to everything from my diet to the shoes that I run in.

Running in new shoes could mean blisters, sore back, or even worse, missing toenails. No thank you – I like my toenails just where they are!

My concerns change from am I capable of running and do I have everything to keeping myself injury free.

I am mindful in my daily life not to hurt myself simply walking around the house. I could easily fall down the stairs or bruise a heel on a stray Lego hiding in the carpet that’s been left by one of my children. I can’t let anything keep me from reaching my goal.

I’m so excited. Sunday will be a great day. The calendar at home, which usually lists all items related to the kids such as hockey games, football and Brownies, is marked with OTBT on the 24 February.

My kids will see that their mom is enjoying her life, setting goals and not quitting because the process was long and difficult at times. I can’t wait to reach the goal. It will be strange not to have a running goal in mind after Sunday.

Maybe I will run the entire course in 2014.

Challenge accepted!

Cherish Duty wrote a weekly column for the Caymanian Compass on her preparations for the Off the Beaten Track run.