Friday, September 05, 2008

Getting that monkey off my back...

With 5 (5! 5?) weeks to go before Chicago I'm beginning to experience all the normal fears, worries and superstitions that I always feel before a race. So these are the normal, standard things I worry about:
- I can't do this. It's all been a fluke so far but actually this race I'll get found out to be the faker I am;
- I will miss the race. Miss the plane, lose my shoes etc. These are the themes of my dreams. I haven't yet had a running the marathon naked dream but I do have 5 weeks to go.
- I can't do this.

So new features on the "freakin' out of Petra show" are:
- I've focused less on my training than in previous years. Therefore as above, I can't do this.
- I will somehow not manage to hook up with my running buddies.

That's it. Enough to keep me going, believe me. The monkey has really been sitting on my back this past week as I pulled out of my 18 miler on Sunday after 9 miles. I was so exhausted (first day after my holidays, clearly really relaxed) I just couldn't get my head round it. But you know how you feel when things don't go your way. Added to that I had decided to not get so stressed out about work anymore (so easy when sitting on a Tuscan terrace with a glass of wine in your hand) and the first day back at work I experienced what I think was a mild panic attack at the wheel of my car on the way home, just going over my workload. So the no-stress thing was clearly not working well...

Anyway I did manage to pull myself together this week. I am putting together some plans at work to help me cope with my workload and to get some help with it. In the meantime I am ruthlessly prioritising and ensuring that my home life and running life does not suffer unduly. No more working in the evenings / weekends for a while. And I'm actively investigating various stress-reducing solutions like meditation etc. I've always been a worrier but I'm getting a bit tired of that, and would like to work at changing this.

So this week I had 20 on the calendar. I decided to put my failed 18 miler behind me and focus on the future, and run my 20 miler today as I have a wedding to go to tomorrow and guests coming on the weekend. So I waved my kids off to school and drove to a little country lane, about 2 miles from my house, to run the 20 miler on roads (it's been raining here, for weeks, for years, forever, and my track around the farm is pretty soggy by now).



Oh - and have I mentioned my 20 mile superstition? Bearing in mind that this is the 3rd time I've trained with the Hal Higdon Intermediate I program I have this thing that I have to run at least one of my 20 milers at race pace. I hasten to say this is not what Uncle Hal wants you to do. But I always feel that if I can do one of my 20 milers at race pace it gives me confidence that I can do the full race... We shall see.

5 weeks to go!

16 comments:

ShirleyPerly said...

WAY TO GO, Petra!!!

I don't know what I can say to alleviate your fears but I would say that you nailed that 20-miler and that, to me, is a very positive sign that you've come back well from your injury and on your way to another successful marathon. I have a marathon checklist that I use for every marathon I go to to make sure I don't forget important things. And I'm sure everyone will be going out of their way to make sure to meet up with you at the race. I know I would if I were running it. You are a rock star!!

Tom@RunnersLounge said...

Hi Petra. We all let our worst fears get the worst of us as marathon day approaches.

My experience has been it's a mistake to try to do a 20 miler at race pace. If anything, try a progressive run that has you run the last 4 - 5 miles at marathon pace.

I'm getting pumped about Chicago. it will be here soon.

Good luck!

MarathonChris said...

Great job on getting that 20 miler DONE!!!! You are going to do great in Chicago. Sounds like you are doing all the right things to address the stress. Deep breath...relax :-)

Road Warrior said...

You've done the training you need to do to make this happen, Petra. You've done these before--Chicago even, I believe, so you know that you can do this.

Congratulations on the great time for the 20-miler. I'm w/ you on race pace. Chicago won't know what hit it.

PLANET3RRY said...

Good job on getting the big 2-0 out of the way.

It's a little strange to want to do a 20 miler at race pace, seeing that according to Hal and his colleagues, that you'd need 20 days of recovery before trying to race (at that distance again), but what do they know.

For What It's Worth: The guy that I talk with about my training has a mantra:It's better to arrive at the starting line a little under trained then over trained.

Susan said...

You did it! Way to go! You're going to ROCK Chicago. I am just sorry that I won't be there to see it.

CewTwo said...

As a first timer, I have been actively trying to avoid any nay-saying on my part. It would be way too easy to do.

I am a grand master, Clydesdale runner. My goal for the marathon is to finish. I don't want to win it, I just want to finish it. I feel that if I can do that then the only way is up.

I do not have the speed of 20 miles in a little over 3 hours! That is phenomenal! I really cannot see you not succeeding at Chicago.

You are such an inspiration to me. I cannot tell you how much!

PS - As far as hooking up in Chicago, I will be sending you my cell phone number, then my hotel and hotel room as soon as I have them. I am so looking forward to this!

Thanks for sharing! Great Training! Woot! Woot!

akshaye said...

Way to go with that 20 miler! Sure is a big shot of confidence under your belt! 5 weeks.. you'll do great!

Maddy said...

Of course you know that there will be no problems meeting up in Chicago. Like Charlie, I will also be sending you Cell Phone and hotel info.

And you're ready! It's going to be a fantastic weekend!

lizzie lee said...

Petra... excellent... I am so happy that some of my friends are getting ready for Chicago. I hope next week I can join you guys for one of the major races.

You look awesome, and I like the idea of taking some pix during such a long run... I'll copycat....

Forget your bad dreams. You will do awesome

keep running

lizzie

jen said...

I think your stress is totally normal but you are going to be fine. You did great on the 20 miler and that says a lot. Stay positive Petra!!

IrishBlue said...

You will not leave Chicago without seeing your blog buddies if it kills us all girl. I have no intention of running this thing on my own without a support system and neither should you. We'll be there for each other.

I too have that fear of failure hanging overhead. Yet, I felt it before my first half and that went great and is actually my PR! So, I'm blocking it out of my mind.

Good luck with your stress reduction plan!

Hugs,
Irish Blue

Drusy said...

20 miles down - You're well trained and ready for Chicago. Have a great race and make sure you save enough time for shopping with that strong pound!

Tammy said...

Way to go on the 20 miler, good luck on the upcoming marathon.

Jade Lady said...

I know that before a big race, I do get all the same fears, but I think it's a way for my mind to release these thoughts, as I count down to the start line. Sounds like all normal stuff...the fretting...you'll find yourself getting stronger as each day passes.

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