Let It Happen

One of the subtleties I noticed in both tennis and running (and, I guess, everything) is the difference in forcing something to happen and letting it happen. Trying to force a winner or force a certain pace ends up in a stressful mess of, well, stress and often frustration.

From all of your comments on my last post (seriously, thank you!), I realized that I’m approaching the residency application and match in much the same way. I’m trying to force myself into a certain program rather than letting taking what interviews I get and seeing where is the best fit for me amongst those choices. Like tapering for a marathon, the hay for my residency application is in the barn (and that hay took 3 years and a lot of studying to put into said barn). All I can do now is let the correct ship come to me, rather than half doggy-paddle/drown my way to a ship that may not want me even if I think on paper it is the best fit for me.

I’m sort of trying to approach the NYC marathon with that same mentality – just “let it happen.”

My handwriting – up close and personal

In marathons past (ok, fine, all 2 of them in which I’ve had a time goal), I’ve really tried to force a pace or certain marathon goal time to happen. The race is stressful. I’m sure my cortisol levels are skyrocketing around mile 8.

I’ve decided that this year will be different. It’s just another race. I’m just going to let whatever time I’m destined to run that day happen. I’m going to run with Gia and we’re going to have a great, stress-free, and Garmin-less race (or at least I’m running sans-Garmin). I want to understand the magic of the marathon that everyone else gets captivated by.

Now, to be honest, I do have a lofty little time goal that is in the back of my head. But, I’m not getting my heart set on it nor going into the race with numbers clouding all of my thoughts. This race is more about feeling than numbers. [Or, maybe, this is just a cop out so I’m not disappointed.]

There is one predicament with this approach and “goal” (if one can even call it that) — how do you visualize your success?

I believe in science and I’d like to aid my performance….legally. No EPO for me, thanks.

Usually, when I visualize a race, I see numbers associated with me running. 7:xx or 8:xx pace on the watch. 3:3x:xx at the end of a marathon.

Now, when I think about the NYC marathon, I just see a happy runner trying her best. I think there is also some pixie dust in that vision and I’m basically sparkling, but I think that’s my magical thinking, Harry-Potter-should-be real side of the brain coming into play.

Ads up in CT? I guess this shindig is actually happening.

I’m hoping that’s sufficient for said neuroscience to work in reprogramming my brain.

To end, I’ll show you some pics from how I conquered my NYC marathon 20 mile training run PTSD this weekend (I got injured last year on a 20 miler two weeks before the marathon). I was abnormally nervous before this run (ask Jocelyn – the redesign of this blog is the fruition of my procrastination). Flashbacks. The works. I broke it into three 7 mile loops and kept the pace easy.

Is that a face of sheer terror?

All’s well that ends well.

Life is really about balancing…the froyo on the cone, that is.

Remember, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you! You can thank Gia for that one.

[This also applies to eating fro-yo cones as big as your head.]


Until next time…






14 thoughts on “Let It Happen

  1. I love the idea of just letting it happen. I think if you keep that attitude you will do amazing at the marathon.

    I’ve never tried visualization when it comes to running, but I think I might give it a try. I used to use it in figure skating a lot.

    Nice froyo!! I had something similar after my for-some-reason-super-hard 5K yesterday–a chocolate delight ice cream from Cold Stone in a huuuge chocolate-dipped waffle bowl. Heaven!!

  2. I’m so happy about this mental game-plan going into the race! I think you’ll have soooo much fun running it this way, won’t fear disappointment while running, and…chances are you’ll surprise yourself once you cross the finish line and go find your time πŸ™‚

  3. I’m sure you weren’t writing this hoping to help someone, but you did! I am in a strange spot this week where I need to remember to stop trying to force things and just let them happen (in multiple areas of my life, but particularly running this week!). I needed to hear someone else say it to have it really click in my mind. So thank you!

  4. I am in a place, where I have a 10 mile race coming up this Sunday. I have not trained hard. Matter of fact, I didn’t start speed work until August. Even then, it wasn’t that great. I am slow. I don’t have any expectations, so no disappointment, right? Whatever happens, happens.

  5. i love the blog redesign!

    since the marathon can be such a fickle bitch – there are numerous factors that are out of your control that can affect your performance – i recently started telling myself to do the best i can on THAT day. that’s all we can really ask for, right?

  6. This is very similar to a post that I’ve had written since Saturday but am waiting till tomorrow to post it (you’ll see why)…how funny! My goal for my next race is very similar to yours: I’m running to honor everyone with epilepsy that can’t run…and it’s my second race where I didn’t have a time goal. The first race I didn’t have a time goal was my most awesome race ever. I say all that to say : I think you are going to do AWESOME! I think we all get so wrapped up with numbers that those numbers end up hurting us in the long run (pun intended?) I’m obviously not good at all this sports psych stuff so I’ll stop babbling now…

  7. I love this post, Meggie! Once you really let go and let it happen, it’s such a relief! and good things happen when the pressure is off πŸ™‚ I’m trying to visualize the race too, and I just think of how good I’ve felt during workouts and how exciting NYCM is to run. Focusing on the positive all the way and shutting anything negative out as much as I can!

  8. Love the blog redesign! I also love pixie dust and sparkles. Let’s make that a part of our marathon. But seriously I’m really excited for this race, I know it will be an amazing day πŸ™‚

  9. I have been going back and forth with the same feelings. I was hurt so after healing, I wanted to run the race and just enjoy the atmosphere. Now I have been running better than I have in a long time and I want to try and race it. I have not yet decided what I am going to do. Its pretty stressful! I’m hoping both will happen, I will let go, forget about the clock, enjoy the race and end up running awesome (sounds probable, righttt).

    Running without expectations usually ends (much) better than expected so I can’t wait to see how well you do!

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