I did my last longer run this past weekend (10 miles) before my ultimate long run of 26.2 miles in 4 days. I read today in my “Running with the Mind of Meditation” book (really good read by the way)that people say they don’t like running because they don’t like pain. Hmmm…guess that makes me a pain lover.
When I tell people I am doing a marathon and they say, “Oh, that’s like 26 miles, right?,” I often yell, “POINT TWO. Twenty six point two miles!” Somehow that point two is very significant, probably because I want credit for every stinking teeny bit of mileage that I run.
I had to laugh when my friend Clair told me that she was at her daughter’s school and her daughter proudly told a friend, “My mom has run 26.2 miles TWICE!” The friend then asked Clair, “Can I have your autograph?” Sure. Here you go little munchkin.
So, my upcoming race feels like a crap shoot. Like I said in the last post, my energy’s been a bit lacking. Training went well up until a few weeks ago when I decided to race someone in boot camp (she didn’t know we were racing, but it was ON) and I pulled something. Serves me right. As time goes on and I get older and older, I am learning I should not do certain things anymore. These include but are not limited to:
- Trying to show Emma how to do a front handspring
- Trying to do a flip off the diving board
- Trying to race someone in boot camp
- Trying to have a shot of any alcohol
- Trying to join in on a wet t-shirt contest (can’t say I’ve ever done this anyway, probably for the best).
Next thing you know I’ll be wearing black socks with sandals, giving money to PBS and debating pension plans.
I looked at my race course yesterday to find that it is fairly hilly. And not down-hilly. It should be illegal for marathon courses to have hills unless they are slanted down and not up. Also, the total distance is 26.35. That’s an ultra marathon if you ask me.
Maybe I’ll drop out and just lay around with Heidi, the smiling dog.
I’m just being a baby and psyching myself out. I need to shut up and taper, then shut up some more and go run 26 POINT THREE FIVE miles on May 19.
As for self doubt? It needs to be banished, burned at the stake. Here’s how:
1. Say it out loud. It’s okay to be a bit vulnerable and to tell people you’re anxious and not overly confident. Chances are your friends and family see you more objectively than you see yourself and will tell you to shut up you will do just fine . Plus, it simply feels good to be honest and let it out. However, be careful to not turn your admission into a bitch and whine fest because no one wants to hear that. Today I told Sam I had to get up at 3:30 a.m. for my race and he said, “Oh, poor thing? But, did anyone force you do this marathon? I don’t think so.”
2. Look for the pattern. If you’re feeling self doubt in a situation,you’ve probably felt it before in this very situation. Every time I think back to tapering for a big race, I have a pattern. I panic, eat a lot, have phantom aches and pains, think I’m getting sick and question my physical ability to complete the race in the way I want to. But, within a couple of days of the race, anticipation and slight excitement starts to creep in and the doubt fades, somewhat. So, I’ve been here before and will probably be here again.
3. Make a plan. In my mind, nothing squashes self doubt more than being proactive. For me, learning about the marathon course, getting my playlist together, knowing where the aid stations will be, driving the course if possible, and signing friends and family up for runner tracking (whether they wanted to be signed up or not – yes I can be bossy), has helped my anxiety a bit. I’ve always felt like my worst enemy is the unknown. The more you can familiarize yourself with a situation that is making you feel doubtful and anxious, the better off you’ll be.
4. Think about (and even embrace?) speed bumps. This kind of goes along with making a plan. If you mentally prepare for challenges that might come your way, you’ll be one step ahead of the game. I do this by checking the weather, bringing toilet paper for those unfortunate moments when bodily fluids make an appearance, testing out fueling/hydration beforehand and running in my race outfit to make sure nothing creeps into crevasses or rubs places raw.
I will not be wearing this (seen at the Boston Marathon 2011)
I haven't mentioned my goals for this race. On purpose. I’m being chicken and fearing I won’t get what I want. Hint: while a PR is always good, this is not my goal for this race.
What can you not (or should not) do anymore since you’re getting older? Oh, here’s another one. I can never trust a fart.
Do you think everyone has self doubt before races? I know I always do. And it usually goes much better than I expect. Usually.
Best running book you’ve read lately? See above.