I have been going through some crazy swings in emotions the past few days. Race week is always like this for me. I wouldn't be surprised if this is a common thread among runners and triathletes. One minute I feel confident in my training, I have in mind a goal to just finish the race having done my best and feel content knowing I may not be that fast, but I'm fine with that as long as I can still walk when I'm done. The next minute I find myself with thoughts circulating around ways I can be sure I'll PR - by a lot - why I'm not okay with being slower than all the other women I know who are also running this race and what I could have done differently in my training.
Seriously, I sit and think about what I will do better for the next marathon after this one, before I've even run it! What the heck? Then I get down on myself for getting down on myself. And over and over the cycle repeats. Oh, and throw into the mix all the turmoil I feel regarding what the appropriate training (or lack of) would be for this pre-race week. My husband suggests I do nothing - like, literally no workouts, other than maybe 1 or 2 spin classes and some walking - for the whole week! I honestly don't know if I can do that, but I know that I would probably feel full of energy stores by Saturday morning if I could force myself to follow that advice.
The fact is, and I'm being totally honest here, ever since I lost the majority of my (post-pregnancies weight, 60+ pounds), I've become just a tad obsessive about exercise, in case you haven't picked up on that. ;)
My daily workouts and all of my runs are fueled not only by my love of the sport and how good it makes me feel, but also by my determination to never gain that weight back again. On the outside I am a completely different person than I was 5 years ago, and I am grateful for my progress. But inside there is still a dorky, shy, wall-flower of a girl who just wants to please everyone around her.
When I first started running and training for marathons, I was pleased with any and all progress I made because I was starting from scratch. I was new to running and new to training, at least training like you have to train in order to be successful at the marathon. I was just happy to finish and proud to tell anyone that I had "finished a marathon". The details didn't matter to me so much. My speed didn't matter because I wasn't comparing myself to anyone then - I had only been a runner for a year and a half when I completed my 3rd marathon and that's awesome, right?? Things are different now. As we have been spending a lot of time at the gym with other fitness enthusiasts and hard bodies (there are some, trust me) and as I have become more "social" on the internet through this blog, Facebook, DailyMile.com and other venues, and as I have been more involved in local races, I have met and become friends/acquaintances with so many other runners and athletes. Now I can't escape the talk that inevitably ensues whenever anyone finds out I run marathons. It seems there is an automatic assumption that I must be fast, or else why would I bother "killing" myself with distance running. I frequently come away from these conversations and come home from the gym feeling pretty inadequate. I know it's all in my head, and I am the only one who can change my way of thinking, but it's that little girl rearing her nerdy head! Go away, nerdy girl!
Of course, I really don't know what other people are actually thinking about me and all my endeavors, but I let my insecurities take over more often than not. The other day when I was going through one of these "moods", I was talking to my husband about how I felt, and I made a reference to feeling like Liz Lemon from 30 Rock. I can totally relate to Tina Fey's character on this show:
I guess all I can do for now is try to relax this week and plan to have a great race day, no matter what my time is or who finishes faster (or slower) than me. But just a little warning, you may be getting an ear/eye-ful this week from me on this blog. I was told recently by someone who shall remain nameless, ahem...that my blog would be much more interesting if I wrote more personal stuff and got down to the nitty-gritty of things. Apparently people don't just want to read about other people being totally amazing and tough all of the time, who knew?! ;)
Anyone willing to send me some pre-race tips, I am all ears. It never hurts to hear what works (or doesn't work) for other people gearing up for a race.