Tomorrow I will run my 7th marathon, and even though I have done the distance six times before it never stops being scary to me. Despite my best attempts to stay positive after writing last week’s goals post, I have gotten more and more nervous as the big day approaches. My mind is currently filled with fear, worry, and so many what-ifs.
I’m writing this in the car on the way to Dayton. We left this morning at 5 a.m. and will arrive around 1. I keep getting a sick feeling in my stomach that I think is just nerves and anxiety. For some reason I think this is the most scared I have been for a marathon, probably because of how badly the last one went. I worked so hard over the last 16 weeks and I just want to have a good race to show for it.
Here are some of my “what-ifs” that have been running through my mind lately. I just want to empty my mind of them all so that I have room for the POSITIVE thoughts!
- What if I can’t keep pace to meet any of my goals (gold, silver, or bronze)? Can I keep myself from going out too fast like I usually do? What if I can’t get into my “groove”?
- What if I have stomach issues again and have to stop?
- What if I can’t fight the urge to walk? Once I take one walking break it usually leads to many, many more.
- What if I start overheating and having problems controlling my breathing and heart rate like in Nashville? (Not likely, since its going to be 40 degrees at the start!)
- What if Kevin feels better than me and wants to run ahead, or vice versa? What if his knee starts to hurt again? Neither of us wants to hold each other back but we want to stay together too.
- What if the weather doesn’t cooperate? It’s going to be way colder than I’m used to right now (better than too hot, though!)
- What if the elevation chart lied and the course is harder than it seems? (Hello Nashville!)
- What if something goes wrong with my nutrition plan? We picked a safe place for dinner and I know the plan for my energy chew, but I never know what could upset my sensitive stomach.
- What if I just can’t get into it mentally and I give up?
- What if I get injured or my blister comes back?
So many what-ifs in my brain! I’m just trying my best to push them all away and stop worrying about what I can’t control. I know I need to focus on what I CAN control, which is how I react to anything that may happen over the course of 26.2 miles. I keep thinking of this quote: “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just the way we play the hand” (Randy Paush), and my mantra word: CONTROL. And it has been helping to calm me down.
I’ve done the training. I’ve put in the time and the miles. I have prepared as best as I can mentally and physically. Now it’s time to go out there and give it all I have. Kevin reminded me today that marathon day is supposed to be a celebration of all our hard work. That’s actually something I told him before his first marathon. It seems like I have forgotten my own advice. There is no reason why I should be so scared and worrying myself sick- this is something I signed up for because I LOVE running! It’s supposed to be FUN! Marathons are definitely challenging and by far the most difficult thing I have ever done, but that is the beauty of them. I love running, I love training, and I love the difficulty and the feeling of pride I have after finishing a tough race.
So I am going to celebrate my training tomorrow morning! I’m going to run my little heart out and give it all that I have. I’m going to smile and have fun while staying focused at the same time. I am going to choose happiness and joy rather than stress and worry 🙂