Thursday, January 17, 2013

Great Expectations

I've been mentally fixated on this one thing for a couple weeks now, and I think it's time to finally bring it into the light.

I am petrified of my Half on Sunday.

I want to put all this into words so that it will stop clanging around in my head, but there's so much there that it's hard to explain. I guess I'll start with a list to keep myself organized.

1. The NDN in 2011 was my first half marathon. I ran it without preparation. My time was 2:56. I finished with an injury, put my running on hold, and felt completely demoralized.

2. My half on Sunday is the same race, two years later. Since then, I've become a much stronger runner. I ran my November Half exactly as I wanted, loved every moment of it, and thought I'd lifted a weight from my shoulders by conquering it.

Nearing the end of NDN Half 2011
3. I know that in the past two weeks, I've slacked off more than I should have. (Self-defeating attitude, anyone?) I also know that since the November half, I've cut my mileage due to recovery and scheduling conflicts.

So where does this lead me? I guess I'm in that place where it's like, if I don't try, it doesn't say anything about me that I've failed. That's an attitude I sometimes cop when it comes to running, and it's one I try to destroy anytime I see it in others - namely, my students. So how can I say to them that failing shows you tried, and that's what counts, yet when it comes to myself, practice the exact thing I preach against?

I want so badly for this half to go better in 2013 than it did in 2011, and realistically there is NO WAY it could be worse. I also want this half to at least be comparable to the one in November, but that's unlikely. Am I aiming for a new PR? No. But I want to come in under 2:30, I want to run the entire thing, and I want to be uninjured at the finish line.

I was trying to explain all this to M and quickly dissolved into a fit of emotion that he simply couldn't comprehend. How can a single race be so stressful? How can I be looking forward to it while simultaneously trembling at the thought of running it? Why is all this mental baggage so. damn. heavy?

Whoever said running is 90% mental is right. Here I am, apprehensive of what Sunday will bring, yet also feeling strangely confident and excited. I think it's because my brain has become a battle ground. My body is ready for the run. I may not be in the shape I was in in November, but I can definitely run 13.1 miles as long as I set my own pace and have fun. (I've got a new playlist ready to go, put together with the help of, and I'm really itching for a good workout and a lovely, flat, beautiful course.) I've had multiple pain-free runs lately, I've been using my foam roller and flat-band religiously, and I'm doing all my hip stretches and core exercises. I'm also feeling more and more confident in my ability to run a full sometime this year.

So physically, I'm feeling okay. Good, even. But my stupid chatterbox brain won't shut up. Self-doubt is a runner-killer. I need to let my body brainwash my mind. I need to repeat over and over that I am capable, ready, and excited.

This is the first race of 2013, and I haven't run a race since November. Part of my anxiety is stemming from there. If I take this race as what it is - the first of the year - and put aside any expectations, I should be fine.

Now, I just have to convince my brain to play along.



  1. "If I take this race as what it is - the first of the year - and put aside any expectations, I should be fine."

    So true!

    Push yourself but don't hurt yourself, and let how you do then shape your training and plans for the rest of the year. It's still so very early. A January race, if you've taken good recovery time after your fall races, should never be a PR.

    1. It's weird because I don't think I've fully decided that 2012 feels "over", so this race still feels like an extension of it. The sooner I realize this is a new year, the better! Thanks for your support :o)

  2. Remember, you weren't prepared last time. Now you know what to expect and you know how to listen to your body. You can do this. You said it best, It's the FIRST of the year.

    1. Thank you :o) I'm feeling a little better already. Sometimes writing it out is what's needed most!