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!