Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Workout Wednesday: Questioning Readiness

This past weekend, I was in a bad head space.   It was the first weekend of my taper and I was questioning everything.  Running a half marathon instead of running 22K on my own might not have been my smartest move.  But that's what I did.  I ran a hellish half and let my mind play games with me.

The biggest game it played was the "You're so not ready for a marathon" game.   This one is pretty simple when your mind is addled by heat.  Basically, it means a seed is planted in your brain and it nags at you.  It says things like this"

"If 21.1K feels this hard today, how do you ever think you'll be ready for 42.2 in a month?"

"You missed far too many weekday runs to even THINK you could be trained for this"

"You have only been running a year and a half.  If your friends have been running much longer and THEY aren't ready, why do you think you are?"

"32K is a far ways from 42K...why didn't you allow more time to build mileage?" 

"You could totally scale back to the half.  Sure, you'd have to save face with everyone, but at least you know you're ready for another 21.1"

"There's no way hubby can handle taking the girls on alone for 6 hours while you run those loops...why not just do a half where you go for a big PR and then he won't need to worry about it for long"
(a total neurotic "mom" thing - hubby is totally capable)

"Why do you need to do this before you turn 35?  you could wait until 40.  People understand 40 better because it's like trick or treating when you're 16 - you do things one last time before you're too old to do them anymore!" 

"If you run this marathon, do you think you'll even run ever again?"

"Do you even LIKE running anymore?  Why torture yourself?  Go a shorter distance in Kelowna and try to find some enjoyment again"

"42K will kill you physically AND mentally"

"You can barely run for any distance anymore without taking long walk breaks...that's just going to make the miles stretch out in Kelowna"

"You're so slow now that you'll probably miss the cutoff time for the marathon and then they won't give you your medal"

I could go on, but this gives you more than enough of a glimpse into my head during the race.   I'm being brutally honest here - by the time I finished,  I wasn't sure I was even going to do Kelowna AT ALL anymore.   I was terrified.  Honestly, I still kind of am.

I confided a bit in hubby about this when I got home and he just kind of nodded his head and murmured reassuringly.  I think he's used to my neurosis by now and he just rolls with it (that's why I've been with him almost 9 years - I don't think anyone else could roll with me quite like he does)

Then, I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to put it out of my mind.   I knew this thinking was toxic.   I know I am going into the marathon, perhaps slightly undertrained, but I am also going into it with no goal except to finish.  I did all of my long runs and survived and thrived.   I did as many weekday runs as I could - especially as a mom to toddler twins who also works full time.   I know that I am doing something exceptional.

But by evening the toxicity levels were creeping up again.

So I hit the Google.   "Not ready for a marathon despite training" was my search.   I thought I'd come up against a whole bunch of forum posts of people telling the poster to pull out or scale back.  That it would be stupid to run a marathon you aren't ready for.

Instead, I was greeted by supportive posts, reassuring that this thinking was normal.  That it should even be expected as a part of taper.

The diagnosis...I'm apparently suffering from taper madness.   The reduction in mileage is going to prepare my body by letting it rest and heal so I can go out and run on marathon day and finish strong.   I have put in those long runs and, even if I need to run 5 mins and walk 5 mins throughout - I will finish and I will get my medal AND I will forever be able to say I have run a marathon.  and less than 1% of the population can ever say that so it's a pretty spectacular thing.  

October 9, I will become a marathoner.   Just don't tell my brain...I'm trying to convince it I'm only running the half so it will get off my case.


  1. You're going to rock it! I know it.
    We all have those voices, just tell them to shut up. Or turn up the tunes to block them out.
    I get it.
    You'll be great!

  2. You are going to do amazing on your marathon... I'm sure at one time you thought a half marathon would be impossible - and yet you've finished how many now? It's nerves, you'll do great!


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