I have reached the point in my marathon training cycle where I feel like I have been stuck in a meat grinder for weeks and can’t find the way out. Seems like every morning as I take my first few steps out the door, I groan and creak and generally crawl for the first mile, all the while wondering why do I feel this way?? I usually mutter something in that vein out loud, and my running friend Kathy laughs, says she feels the same, and reminds me of all the work I have done in the past week or two. The reminder helps for approximately one minute, until my old lady hamstrings start screaming at me again, and then I go back to grumbling.
Even knowing the grind that is marathon training, I always reach this point in the cycle and vacillate between utter despair at how I feel and excitement for the race that is coming. The despair is usually related to how little time is left, three and a half weeks in this case, and how much work I feel I still need to do. But the excitement I feel is usually enough to balance it out.
Not always though. Today was one of those days. I sort of had a panic attack as I considered the race looming in front of me. Luckily, Kathy was there yet again, to talk me off the edge. She addressed my feelings of not being ready and reminded me that race day is fun and what I enjoy even more than working out. She wisely pointed out that using up energy this far out worrying about what I can’t control will only wind me up and wear me out.
I want to keep worrying about it. I want to stress over how fit I am and whether or not I look ready to race and if I remember what it feels like to work hard for a whole marathon. But I am going to do my best not to. I will control what I can, do the rest of the work that is left with pride and determination. I will face race day head on and with a heart full of anticipation and gratitude for the opportunity to race.
I wonder if anyone else gets this way as race day approaches. I am sure I am not the only one. If you are worried or stressed about an upcoming race or a big event in your life, I would encourage you to take a deep breath or two, let go of the stress, and continue to do good work as the day approaches. Good race or bad, the sun comes up the next day, your family and friends will still love you, and there is always another opportunity around the corner.