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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mental prep

3 days...72 hours...4763 minutes...until Bass Pro...I know, how many times can I write a freak-out countdown blog entry? Well..technically I haven't done the freak out yet..but last night I was reading one of my marathon books and it was talking about letting the runs the week of the marathon be a comfortable effort, so that you don't use up too much of your glycogen stores and I was like..."Oh no!" Try as I have, my runs this week have been faster than usual, although it hasn't felt like it...Even my "crappy run" yesterday was a 9:40 average pace...I say it was a crappy run, for the most part it felt okay, but I was having shoe issues and it was so frustrating! I could feel myself start the "talk" as my panic level rose.."What if this happens race day?" and on and on and on...

And so I had to make myself STOP that...I reminded myself that sometimes I have shoe, hip, back (whatever) issues one day and then can feel totally awesome the next! So that was not going to ultimately doom me to a horrible race day. It's true that I have no control over the weather...but I can do as much as possible to prepare for a good race day...eat well, try to get some rest, dress appropriately, have all my gear, etc..ad infinum.. As I said in my earlier post, most of my preparation this week has been internal..my mindset. I have realized that a lot of times, my mindset is what defeats me, even before I've even tried something! I create these unrealistic expectations or seek to control things that cannot be controlled and set myself up for bitter disappointment. It's true..I do want to beat my previous time..I have worked hard! Those Tuesday night running clinics weren't for nothing! I do want to improve...to push myself....

Obviously, we all don't know what tomorrow will bring. We like to plan and scheme and control, but in the end, we adapt....well or not, cheerfully and thankfully or not...And I haven't been very adaptable, I'll be honest. I HOPE that I have many more years of healthy running ahead of me. Realistically, I probably do have plenty of time to keep working toward becoming a better, faster runner...but I wondered to myself yesterday...what's the rush? Is there some invisible timetable out there that I have to complete? Maybe I'm just giving myself an "out", an excuse to fail... A lot of the time, I push and push, but all the while in my head I'm thinking.."When will I be good enough?"..."am I good enough now?"I have berated myself and my accomplishments with the misguided belief that it will encourage me to reach a higher standard. Instead of celebrating my successes with a positive voice, I constantly undermine my progress by reminding myself how far I have to go. In the end, the constant criticism works to defeat me. Sad, but true. This week I have had to look long and hard at this in my life..Whose voice is that? Is it external? Sometimes...But mostly..it's me...

As I think back to some of my experiences, not necessarily running related, the times that I have thrived have been the times when I just let myself relax and enjoy the process. I'm not talking about being lazy, but giving myself permission to take everything in...to not be so focused on some narrow goal that I miss out on the journey. When I celebrate little steps and successes, I usually perform better as a byproduct of enjoying something with childlike delight! The other day I heard a quote that said something like..."The marathon is just the victory lap at the end of all the training"...Now that's one SERIOUSLY LONG victory lap, but the day in and day out training and work are just as gratifying. I am enjoying the fact that it takes risk for me to put myself out there...to try..and to hope...I'm sure that, being a person with perfectionist tendencies, this will be a process that extends much farther than a race... but God has really used running in my life to show me spiritual parallels and I'm ready to start listening...

1 comment:

Morgan said...

"Negative Nancy" can be one tough cookie to get rid of but once you do you will be better for it. I can't tell you how many runs got the FAIL stamp or how many times I've chanted "you suck, you suck" throughout an entire run... We all go thru this but you have to believe in yourself and your training. Race Day will be a magical day and the excitment, anticipation, adrenaline, etc... will all take over. My #1 greatest advice to you is to go into race day with a positive attitude. Once you cross that start line just keep focused on "I WILL cross that Finish Line" Good Luck girl!!!