Running Scared

If the tone of the last few blog posts hasn’t clued you in, my attitude(s) towards running and the NYC marathon currently [rapidly] oscillate between one of anxiety/fear and excitement.

While it may seem from this blog that I think inordinately about running, I don’t particularly spend a lot of my day thinking about it (beyond scheduling when I will run). In fact, I got entirely too jazzed up about mammograms and gluten intolerance today in clinic, but that’s another story. However, at night, when I usually write these blogs, is when I have the spare time and brain space to think a bit too much about running. Thus, this blog bears the brunt of my running neuroses.

Anyways, I’ve been trying to fake it ’til I make it on the confidence front, but it appears faking it can only last so long.

Whenever I think of the NYC marathon, I never think of this year or the runner I am now. I think of last year and the runner I was then.

I can’t shake the thoughts of my IT band blowing up in flames, slowing down throughout the race, and being out of the running game for 3 months. I keep waiting for my body to fail me and keep perseverating on the thought that it will fail me and I’ll spend the winter cross training.

I have 4 weeks to turn my mental game around and make the most out of this marathon.

I think what I have to do is the following:

1. Let go of last year.

2. Determine what my internal sources of confidence are, as Lauren suggested in her blog today (I can’t take credit for coming up with this thought!)

3. Determine what I want out of this marathon

And any plan deserves a plan of action, so here is my rough draft, so to speak:

1. Not sure how to do this [great plan, genius] since I am, unfortunately, running the same marathon, training in the same places, remember how I felt this time last year, so on and so forth

2. In the past (more so in college), my confidence came from outworking people. I can’t really say that with running (this training cycle or anytime really). I don’t run as much as other people and run a majority of my runs much slower than other people (I am the queen of the 10 min mile easy jog). I think I am a faster runner than last year. Am I a stronger runner over long distances? I’m not so sure. I think I have better mental tools than I did before, but can that make up for physical weakness.

[Why must I perseverate on last year?! I need a worse memory!]

[It also appears I’ve dug myself a mental hole in terms of building my running confidence.]

[Why do I keep thinking my body is weak? See, people, so much sports psychology to be learned here. Case study: Me!]

3. For better or worse, I’ve started to care about this marathon AND (again, for better or worse) my time. Time is tricky. It can be the greatest source of confidence and, conversely, the greatest source of despair and disappointment. I think at some point in the not so distant past, I wrote that I wanted my next marathon to be an expression of all that I have put into running over the past few years and that I wanted to enjoy it. I guess, at the end of the day, I want to fill fulfilled and joyful (and, ideally be feeling this in that poncho eating cookie dough).

So, my plan of action is a bit shaky at the moment…a work in progress, it seems.

Suggestions are welcome!

Alright, that’s all for now – back to “Cutting for Stone,” which is engrossing from the beginning! Read it.

TELL ME: ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR THE ABOVE? HOW’D YOU SHAKE OFF A FEAR THAT YOUR BODY WOULD FAIL YOU? HOW DO YOU DECIDE UPON YOUR RACE GOALS?

Until next time…

PS: Shout out to my blogging bestie ( see attached video at 0:50 for “blogging bestie” reference) Jocelyn for pointing out that I may be misdirecting my anxiety over the match process onto this marathon…an highly probable possibility! Give that girl a Ph.D. in psychology already!

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4 thoughts on “Running Scared

  1. I say we don sparkle skirts, ditch our Garmins and run happy … you are right, you are a stronger and faster runner than last year. You have put in a ton of work. In fact, before you decided to run the marathon you were running pretty close to a marathon training plan 🙂 Trust the investment you have made … I keep reminding myself that on Nov 4th there is nothing more I will be able to do to better my running, however there are quite a few ways that I can stand in the way of my goals. More thoughts tomorrow over a sweet 18 miler!

  2. do think, just do. easier said than done, right? you need to get out of your head and put last year’s race in the past. bury it away. this year WILL be different.

    why don’t you list out everything you felt about last year’s race on a piece of paper – put all your thoughts out there – and then burn it? really let go. sounds cheesy but it may help you move on.

  3. Sometimes I think we over think it all and should just let go. Easier said than done. But, the relief of letting go often gives an extra boost of energy and helps to push you to the next level. The brain is a powerful thing!

  4. If I were you, I would try reminding myself that it has been a full year since my last NYCM and I am stronger and know my body better than I did last year. I have done everything I can and there is no use worrying because I can’t control (not much, anyway) how my body feels and responds on race day, so I might as well just try my hardest and enjoy the experience.

    I have a small 5K race in a couple hours and all these “what ifs” keep going through my head, but I’m trying really hard just to think about the positives: I am going to run hard and have fun.

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