I wasn’t planning on posting anything until after Sunday’s marathon, but I’m dealing with some serious nerves and I’m hoping that writing them down will help to ease my mind. Yesterday, Lina and I did a slow 4 mile run. Although I didn’t feel bad, I didn’t feel great either and I noticed the pain in my right leg whenever I tried to lift my right knee above a certain height. I could feel myself bringing my knee up less than I normally do, and it just didn’t feel right. Also, it felt like keeping a slow pace was using more energy than it should have. I’m going to write down my laundry list of worries, because again, my hope is that writing them down will somehow make them go away:
I’m worried that I am going to really injure myself by being stubborn and running through a bad kind of pain.
I’m worried that I’m going to hold Lina back.
I’m worried about not finishing.
I’m worried about missing the mark on pacing, going out too fast for the first few miles, and then bonking horribly later on.
I’m worried about eating something bad the day before that will give me digestion problems.
But I’m mostly worried about injury.
I’ve been reading every article I can find about marathon pacing. I’ve been stretching, foam rolling and icing a few times a day. In general, I’ve been starting to obsess over this race in a way that I haven’t up until this point. I don’t know what I want to wear. I’m not sure how I’m going to bring my pre-race breakfast along without it going bad (I plan to eat avocado toast, but I’m pretty harsh on over-ripe or bruised avocados, i.e. I won’t eat them, so they can’t get mangled). I’m hoping that going to the expo on Saturday will revive my excitement and calm my bad nerves. Nerves aren’t necessarily bad, but there is a good kind of nervousness and a bad kind, and I just don’t think I’m experiencing the good kind at the moment.
Many people that know me are not aware that I am a spiritual person. I almost never talk about religion. Religion is a part of my life, though, and I find prayer extraordinarily comforting. Today is a day where I need to do more praying than usual, and a great Bible verse to keep in mind is the following:
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
One of the things to notice about this verse is that it does not guarantee that bad things won’t happen. I can’t read this verse and think, “Ah, yes, God won’t let anything go wrong on Sunday if I pray about it.” I read it and must understand that two things could happen: I could run and everything could go perfectly, or I could run and fail, for any number of reasons. The comforting thing about the above verse for me is that even if I fail, I am promised strength to help me cope.
I have to remember that I have trained hard and come up short before, but every time this has happened, I’ve learned something valuable. I have learned not to run 7 days a week when my coach tells me to run 6; I’ve learned that building up mileage too quickly will lead to shin splints; I’ve learned not to run someone else’s race (that is, to stick to MY race plan and not worry about my competitors); and most importantly, I’ve learned to be patient with my body and not beat myself up for failing to be perfect. These are lessons that I’m happy to have struggled to learn, because they’ve made me a better runner and person in the long run.
Nothing now can take away the experience of training for my first marathon. Lina and I have put in the time, the miles, and the energy to be successful, so I need to focus on this for the remaining days. I am going to give the marathon on Sunday everything I have, and I need to be okay with whatever that ends up being. I have done my best with everything that I can control. Upon writing that, I realize that, as hoped, putting all these thoughts down has put my mind at ease. So with that, I’m off :).