It's the fun time--and also the anxious time--when all the weeks of training and hard work are put to the test. It's a day when the clock and the measuring wheel rule, and the truth will out. You're either adequately prepared, or you will struggle...or worse.
Entering a race has an added benefit, one that I certainly need right now: motivation. The day you send in that application,, you've officially pulled the trigger. A threshold has been crossed that has an element of chance, of commitment, of magic. A date has appeared on your calendar, a hard calendar entity, that now exists in the real world.
You must prepare, for in a sense you've burned a bridge--that of commitment--and there's no going back (of course you can bail, and I have, but by and large you are committed). Which reminds me of some inspirational words I kept in mind from 2010, and posted about, when I was preparing for the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.