The race week freak out

Confession time: I woke up this morning scared to death. The idea of throwing up sounded like a viable option. My entire body clenched and tears welled in my eyes. Fear and doubt were taking my entire being for a joy ride. Yes indeed, the panic attack came hard and fast. And pretty much right on schedule.

What the hell are you doing? I’ve come to realize this is a habitual thought for me. It often comes to me when I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. When I’m embarking on something challenging. When I’m approaching a new project with a different perspective than the rest of the world seems to hold. I’ve had this habitual thought before everything from a long training run to a 5K to an open water swim. The more I try not to panic, the more fear and doubt take over the controls.

I wasn’t surprised when I woke up with panic feelings this morning. I am only a few days away from the Sehgahunda Trail Marathon at Letchworth State Park. The 26.2 miles on the trails involves lots of climbing. It’s going to be hilly, hard and hot. Fear and doubt start playing in my mind, leaving me wondering if I’m prepared, if I did enough, if I set my goals appropriately. Reading the accounts of other participants in theory would give me valuable information. Instead, it just freaks me out.

I don’t judge my freak outs. I let them pass over me like waves. And then I turn my attention elsewhere. The Louise Hay desk calendar offered me this mantra today: For every problem that I may create, there is a solution. So the problem of the freak outs? No need to freak out over the freak out. There is a solution I can create. I let the freak out pass over me and turn my attention toward what I love and care about. What is my goal for this trail marathon? To do it. It’s really that simple. When I sit quietly and think about what really matters, I remember that I’m in this for the experience. And whatever comes my way is all part of that experience. There is “good” or “bad.” I’m leaving all judgement at home for the weekend.

From time to time, I go through old magazines and clip pictures, words and phrases and create a collage for my office wall. (Consider it a non-digital form of Pinterest.) The words and phrases currently awaiting my creativity and glue stick include:

live the life you love
Surprises are Blooming
live, love, local
radiant with possibility

Talk about divine intervention. When the panic attack starts to brew and I need to turn my attention elsewhere, this is a perfect place to start. These are my connections to what this trail marathon is all about for me. It’s about play and possibility. It’s about creating. It’s about living and loving. It’s about surprising myself and growing. When I frame Saturday’s adventure that way, fear and doubt leave, replaced by curiosity and joy.


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