I can’t believe it is marathon week: I take off from the start line of my first marathon at 7 a.m. Sunday. While I do have my game face on, I am full of jitters and anxiety.
The good news is the foot is much better, still a little sore from time to time but I’m confident I can run on it. I have started experiencing minor aches and pains all over, which I was told by my coach is very common; they are most likely just nerves setting in. Anxiety and nervousness is a positive sign that I am preparing mentally and physically for the race. They are a sign of focus and I should embrace, rather than fearing these signs.
Some of it is just me overreacting, wishing I could put myself in a plastic bubble for the remainder of the week to ensure no further injury. I am guilty of googling any symptom I feel. Yes, I am completely aware of how ridiculous my way of thinking is and that I am overreacting. So, I am trying to spend more time focusing on all that I’ve done to prepare for the event, rather than focusing on unknowns or things that could go wrong.
This final week, we have been instructed to focus on obvious things like nutrition, extra sleep, etc. as well as visualization. Visualization is a technique used by athletes to improve their focus and reduce performance anxiety. At this point I have been training intensely for about five months and have done all I physically could to be ready for Sunday, but it is equally important as an endurance athlete to be mentally prepared.
By visualizing myself starting the race, running it, and crossing the finish line, even picturing what I'll be wearing, who will be watching and how I’ll feel at the end, I hope to eliminate -- or at least minimize -- the fear of the unknown, which is a huge cause of stress. By imagining myself running the race, I’m familiarizing myself with what might happen, as well as how I may react.
I’ve done all I can. Participated and put my all into every long training run. Experienced a multitude of cross training techniques, ran in rain, snow, ice and wind, educated myself in proper nutrition and hydration and conquered a variety of running injuries and set backs while staying positive and motivated.
Through it all I have had the worlds greatest support system backing me up, been lucky enough to meet a fantastic group of people through the DC Chapter of Team in Training and personally raised just about $2,000 to benfit the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. It’s now time to relax, get prepared and feel proud and excited about what I have accomplished already.
I have a strong feeling this is not going to be my last race, in fact the first of many. I’m in for an equally exciting and nerve-wracking weekend but come this Sunday I can officially call myself an experienced marathon runner.