Monday, October 1, 2012

to remain selfless, cold and composed

Anxiety: A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease.

Visually, every time I think about anxiety and being anxious I think of the Alvin and The Chipmunks episode 30b Court Action. See, Alvin's plagiarized his paper and he's got a big basketball game coming up. Theodore is the judge in the student court trial of Alvin. Simon, keeps telling him to do what is right. Theodore has a crazy dream performance of Pat Benatar's song Anxiety. In my mind, I'm running down a floating keyboard and my head is indeed a basketball. 

Why am I anxious? The Hudson Mohawk Half Marathon is this coming Sunday. I've got three small training runs left on my schedule. Now, I'm playing a purely mental game. I went out for my long run on Saturday, tackling 5 miles. The first 3.1 of that run felt like crap. My shin was tight, my legs were heavy, my desire to run was not particularly strong but the last few miles of my run felt good. Every time I run in the Saratoga Spa State Park, I think about where I was last year. How I was fearful and avoided the hills on East West road and the Picnic Loop. Now, I go up them slowly but I run up. It's the small things that have me feeling accomplished.

I am no stranger to this feeling, it's similar to stage fright. I am hardly ever vocal about performance anxiety. You can't "see" that I am scared, I just get quiet. Though I've put in the time, I'm always fearful of forgetting a line of a song, or a cue line. It's happened before and I'm pretty decent in figuring out how to get out of a jam. Still, that feeling of worry because you don't know what will happen is one of the worst feelings alive.

I've tried visualization about the race. Imagining the route, watching the video, I've even driven the rate route (well the main roads of it) I've got my hydration plan down, I'll need to fill my pack possibly two times, and I'll have three gels in my bag. Take in a gel every 4 - 4.5 miles (which is about an 1:15 for me) Get cups of water at mile 4, fill pack at mile 6.5, cups of water at mile 13. Plus extra hydration may come from friends along the road, but that's my basic plan. I'm breaking the race down in 4 mile increments. First 4 are on the bike path, next 4 are through the city, last 4 on the bike path. Last 1.1 miles, just take it all in.  I have no doubt that my body will handle the distance. Still, inside there is doubt. It's part of who I am struggling with, part of the "changing the foundation, changes the house".  It feels unnatural to be confident and sure of yourself. So, I'm at odds with it. People can be all sorts of confident for me, but I'm the one who is running.

It's funny because in theater, the week before the performance you ramp up, you have just gone through tech week. You might have gotten a dark day of rest but it's unlikely. Running, you taper, you perform less, you save yourself for race day. My heart feels like every day this week will be full of stage fright. I'm staying occupied with cooking something new tonight and maybe squeezing a run in today if I get dinner prepared quickly (then I'll eat it later). I'm trying to watch movies that are comforting, or listen to techno house music. (the beat goes as fast as my thought process does)

It's just six days. Six days til race, seven days until the next adventure sets sail.


  1. I'm super proud of you and how far you've come. you know what to do. Don't forget to enjoy it.