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|
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 jog.fm, 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.