Yesterday, while perusing my Facebook newsfeed, I was taken aback when I scrolled past a post from the Honolulu Marathon advertising that there were only 50 days left until the race. FIFTY days! And that was yesterday, so now there are only 49 days until the marathon. Woe is me.*
I’m not gonna lie, the fact that the marathon is quickly approaching and becoming a more tangible obstacle to surmount is kind of scaring the sh!t out of me. When I signed up to start training with this running group, the marathon seemed so distant that I didn’t really have to think about actually running it. Sure, I was training for a marathon, but I didn’t have time to consider the enormity of that goal when I was so busy worrying about being able to run 8, 10, 12 and then 14 miles. Let me focus on the task at hand and worry about the big one when I get there!
Well, now I’m there. Or at least close enough to there to start worrying about it in earnest. I don’t think it is coincidental that every time I start thinking about actually running in the marathon I feel a bubbly burning in my lower intestine and my shoulders involuntarily get rigid. I’m not doubting my training; I think Mike has designed a good program for us and in past years everyone who has done their training, in his group, has finished in a timely manner. I’m just doing what comes naturally to me whenever I’m faced with a big challenge: I’m doubting the extent of my grit and questioning my talent.
I think what is most terrifying about the marathon is that it feels like my one chance. I’ve never done anything like this before, and, while, sure there will be other marathons I can enter in the future should I want to, the groundwork it takes to get to the starting line is so extensive and requires so much dedication that to have a really bad experience in this first one would risk knocking the wind out of my sails to attempt another one. I’ve gotta get to that finish line.
I’ve been seeing this (appropriately timed) Nike commercial all over social media and the blogosphere, and it is quite inspirational. I’m hoping it will prep me for the view I will see during the marathon- everyone else’s backs disappearing over the horizon!
Something else that I’m using to help inspire me when the going gets tough (and it will get TOUGH) is something that I encountered a couple of weeks ago on another running blog written by the Unsporty Woman (check her out, I think you’ll like her!). She finished a marathon last weekend and on the way used this positive visualization video to help strengthen her mind so that she wouldn’t get caught up in negative feelings during her race.
I’ve heard from many sources that the last 10k of the marathon can be the most difficult. I keep hearing stories about runners hitting the wall around mile 20 and going from being on their way to finishing in under 4:30 to taking another hour to run the final 6 miles. I think (I hope!) mental preparation will help me when I encounter my wall. I’m well on my way to being ready physically; I’m feeling stronger and faster in my running than I’ve ever felt before, but I need to strengthen my mind so that it can deflect those Debbie Downer thoughts when they try to dissuade me from finishing the race. When I’m hot, tired, and sore, it will really be a case of mind over matter.
*And woe is you, too; if there are only 49 days until the marathon, then there are only 61 days until Christmas. Better get shopping!