Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Living with Pre-marathon Brain Dysfunction

So it’s lunchtime, half of the workday behind me. It is a looonnnngggg day today. I am starting to get impatient to get this marathon behind me. I think this is a first-time emotion for a race. It’s kind of like I’m tired of going up and down the emotional roller coaster I just want to run the ‘M’ and get it over with. Then I can get psyched for my swimming lessons, catch up on other things in life that I have been missing this year, and get back to training for whatever race is next.

Other times, when my perfectionist side kicks in, I feel like I have a final exam on Sunday and I need a perfect score to pass. Then I have to remind myself why I run: for fitness, for fun, for me – I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Sure I would like to finish under 4 hours, but do I REALLY want to finish in under 4 hours?

I find myself pondering what Blondie wrote this morning:

“So much of running is what goes on between the ears. I remember my high school coach telling us that racing was 90 percent mental, only ten percent of it was physical. At the time I really didn't want to believe her, but I also didn't want to do anything that hurt. Until my senior year, I didn't care if I was any good or not. To be honest, that was even questionable my senior year. I was perfectly content just as long as I was on varsity, I didn't really want any pressure from other people to do well. Back then, I would rather give up than be leading a race. I was so freaked out to be in front, so scared that someone would catch me and pass me, that I would actually stop and walk. Things have definitely changed since then, but the mental toughness is something that can still be a struggle when things aren't going so great.”

Now I never have even come close to leading a race and have never even felt lousy when (not if) someone past me. But I wonder if I’m mentally tough enough? Mentally tough enough to finish a marathon – yes! Mentally tough enough to start out at a knowingly fast pace and try to hang tough at this pace till the bitter end – I don’t know?? But I’m learning there is a difference. My running is slowly evolving, I am no longer satisfied with just finishing – I want to finish as fast as I can!

Does this mean I am going to stretch the limit on Sunday? I don’t know that either. I am trapped between “I need to be safe and finish strong” and “I need to go for it and risk everything, even not finishing!” Like, can’t we meet in the middle somewhere guys?

I think I can almost understand why some dudes lose their breakfast right before a race starts.

Does all this gabber make any sense or am I just losing it?

It makes sense to anyone who has ever "lost it" before a big race. :-)
I've almost "lost it" at the finish line, but luckily not before or during.

The first time I ran a half I was obsessive by some standards and perhaps I still am. I analyze things to bits. Anyways I plotted on a small piece of paper where I should be at each point to make my goals. Using that I set my pace accordingly. If I was ahead, I played it safe and if I was behind (didn't happen) I would have pushed it. Amazingly I finished 15 minutes ahead of my goal doing that.

No matter how you go about it, I suspect you will do amazing.
OK, I was JUST talking about this with some other people. I wish I didn't care how fast I ran in races! I remember back to when I just started running and it was all about finishing and that was so so nice. But I don't know how to make myself not care anymore!! Egad! Anyway, I completely understand what you are saying.

Good luck on Sunday! And I would consider finishing your first marathon a success no matter what :) Seriously :)
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?