A week from today is the Boston Marathon and did I tell you I am running? The other day my dental hygienist asked me how far the marathon was. Then she asked me what my goal was – to place in the top ten? To win?
I love non-runners. I love that she thinks I could win.
Boston weather update for race day. I could so deal with this:
Before I get to the subject at hand, I wanted to let you know this morning I ran my fastest mile since being injured. 8:20. I went out for a four miler, and being a shorter run I wanted to see how it felt to run faster again. My legs love to run faster. It felt great. Now back to moderation. For now. But, I will be back.
I read something profound recently. Yes, I do read and not just books with big color pictures or magazines where I am quoted on page 126.
This profound thing I read said, “Worry is not preparation.” Meaning that just because you lay awake all night worry about how hard the wind is blowing does not mean it will stop blowing for your marathon the next morning. It might stop blowing, but it might not, and your worry has absolutely nothing to do with whether the wind stops blowing. So, why worry, right? Wasted energy.
And yet. Worry and obsessing about things at 2 a.m. is what I do. It’s part of my routine. I’ve always been somewhat of a worrier but it got multiplied by a zillion when I had kids.
This is what I look like right before squatting on –>>
the toilet only I usually have my pants down. Bet you didn’t know
my zipper glowed in the dark.
If I have something really big to worry about like a stress fracture or a sick child and then it resolves, I will find something else to worry about like the fact that the gutter might fall off of the house and hit a baby. The other day I wanted to do a long run early in the morning. It would mean leaving Emma, age ten, alone sleeping for about an hour. I told Ken, “This worries me. What if she gets sick?” His response, “What the hell? What if you get bombed by a missile on your run?” (to his credit, the stuff with Libya had just started).
What if. What if.
Then I started worrying about getting bombed by a missile.
The mind is a funny thing. It latches onto your vulnerabilities, and holds on for dear life. Give it an inch and it takes a whole damn marathon. This is why the practice of being aware of your thoughts is so essential.
Here are five things to try to bust the worry out of your mind and life:
1. Have the crazy cat lady conversation in your head or out loud at the grocery store because it freaks out the guy at the deli. The big self (wise, peaceful) tells the small self (negative, judgmental, etc.) to knock it off. Example:
Small: Good luck running that marathon on April 18. You’ll be tired, slow. Your longest run has only been 15 miles. You will crash and burn.
Big: Go pick on someone else. I worked hard to BQ and I’m glad I can go and take it all in. As long as I don’t get swept up at the end and my hip doesn’t fall off on Heartbreak Hill I’m good. Nothing can rain on this SUAR parade. (there is a parade right?). Now, deli guy, can I take a look at your salami? (That’s what she said)
2. Stop the thoughts. Being aware of your thoughts means you can stop them dead in their tracks when they arise. Example:
I don’t feel good. Shit I’m getting sick. This means I can’t run this week. Illness will make me weak. What if I’m sick on marathon day? I’ve gone through all of this just to be sick on race day….STOP. I stop the thoughts and replace them with pleasantries or tell them to f*ck off.
3. Get distracted. If I’m hanging out focusing on a worry, I do something else. Example:
My knee hurts. Crap, I hope I’m not injured. This sucks. What if it hurts at mile two? How will I run 24 more miles? STOP – wow, look at all those piles of dog shit in the backyard. I’m going to go get some fresh air and pick them up.
4. Tell someone. Many times worry swirls around in our heads and becomes very powerful. Sometimes what we’re worrying about is not even true or is very unlikely to happen. I like to take the burden off myself and share the worry. Helps every time to get perspective.
Me: I’m worried I might get hit by a missile.
Friend: Yes, I could see why you’d worry about this. You idiot.
5. Pray or Meditate. I’ve heard it said that prayer is when we talk to God, and meditation is when He talks to us. I’ve not overly religious, but I do believe in God and the power of something larger and greater. A force. And I do believe that if I trust in the bigger picture and stop trying to micromanage every moment, great things can indeed happen. Sometimes we just have to get out of our own way.
How do you keep worry at bay?
Off for a salami sandwich,
PS: Don’t forget my awesome 110% Play Harder calf sleeve giveaway. Ends Wednesday.