Right on schedule the panic started to set in. It was Thursday early afternoon and the taper week crazies had arrived. This usually occurs for me as I’m preparing logistics. I get lost in the details which I surmise must be part of my penchant for overthinking. As I was printing out directions for the Wineglass Marathon weekend my brain started to go into overdrive, planning driving routes, calculating drive times and trying to figure out how to make all the people around me marathon weekend happy.
Luckily, I’ve been here before. I stepped away from the printouts and took a trip to the grocery store where I had a little come-to-Jesus talk with myself: Seriously, Amy. You know this is just anxiety before the race. Put down the box of BooBerry cereal. Don’t talk yourself out of a good race before it even starts. Just calm down. You are ready for this. It’s go time.
Indeed, the real test of my trust comes in these days before the race, when I will want to second guess my clothing choices and nutritional strategy. I will want to doubt my training and question my goal time. I will wonder about that second piece of cake I ate a wedding two weeks ago and the extra glass of wine to wash it down.
Those thoughts still come to me, but I’m learning to replace them with better thoughts. I’m learning to remember all the successes I had, all the goals I have already met. Want a sampling?
- I hit my times on every single track workout. Every. Single. One.
- In recent weeks when I had tempo paces in the middle of my run I didn’t just hit them, I crushed them.
- I repeatedly ran negative splits in my workouts.
- I completed three 20-mile runs.
- I found a nutritional strategy that worked and practiced it over and over.
- Days when the long runs got hard, I found a strategy to survive that actually kept me on pace.
- Techniques to focus myself, like counting and checking in with my five senses, started to come more naturally to me, keeping me calm and centered when I wanted to freak out.
Oh sure, I had my freakouts. On one 15-mile run I stopped at mile 10 to text my friend Hitch because it was getting hard and I was panicking and I needed to tell someone. On another 20-miler I stopped at mile 14 to call Mark and beg him to bring me water because I was starting to overdose on the Gatorade and mentally break down.
My friends tell me that Sunday is all about the execution. I’ve done the work. I’ve actually attained my goals. Now, it’s just time to put it all together. The key for me is not to make any crazy game-time decisions. In my first marathon, I threw away my nutrition plan by Mile 8. Granted, it was a stupid nutrition plan to begin with, but still, it led to me bonking. And if it wasn’t a full-on bonk it was at least a great example of race-day crazy. This time, no matter how boring it seems, I will stick with the nutrition plan I have practiced over and over again. I will work the marathon as an installment plan, working in 5K increments because that’s what I’ve practiced.
I’ll be starting with my good friend Tara and my new friends Tracy and Staci (you may recall them from their roles in my Musselman 70.3 adventure in July and from Dirty Divas last month). I’ll get to share the day with three cool, kick-ass chicks, get support, advice and dead-pan humor from Mark and then visit with my niece for her first birthday. The running 26.2 miles? That’s just the fun stuff, the celebration of achieving my goals. Because afterward there will be chocolate milk and cake.