26 May 2010

Psyching myself up and psyching myself out

I went running again today, still not having fully committed to the idea of a full marathon, not out loud anyway. I ran about 3.5 miles, which is not a "long" run for me. It's a good distance, enough to be challenging but not enough to be a long run. But I had a hard time today. It was hot at noon, I hadn't really fueled up very well before I went out and I was a little dehydrated.

All valid reasons why one might struggle a little bit during a run, and all excuses that are covering up the real reasons I'm having a hard time running lately.

I have run half marathons and 10ks before, and I've trained both well and poorly for them. I know how hard it is to keep picking 'em up and putting 'em down after 13 miles. I've finished 13.1 miles feeling great and I've also crawled across the finish line gasping and wheezing, praying for, well, not death, but at least unconsciousness.

But I haven't done it for 26.2 miles. I'm not sure if it's the actual number that is freaking me out, or if it is the knowledge of how tough running half that distance is to start with. But I am a little freaked out, in any case.

There is a race in October in a nearby city, that coincides with a milestone birthday for me (40th!)that I've been contemplating running. I've even said it out loud once or twice in a very tentative hesitant voice, that I might do it, that I'm sitting on the fence about it. How cool would it be to run my first full marathon 4 days before I turn 40? That would totally underscore the fact that I am in much better shape than I was when I was 20, I am way happier than I was when I was 20, I'm wiser, better educated, more comfortable in my own skin, have more money and I look better too. That 40 isn't the beginning of the end, it's just a beginning.

There is a big part of me that knows I can do it. I can train and I can fuel my body properly, I have an iPod with 4 days worth of music and I have a loud cheering section, and I can totally do it.

But I'm scared. I'm scared of 26.2.

So as I was mentally working through some aches and pains today on my measly 3.5 run, I was also thinking in the back of my head, if it's this hard to get through 3.5 today, how in the name of Zeus am I going to be able to talk myself through 26.2? I wasn't sure if I should listen to my body (which was a little achy and stiff today) or power through the pain (a la Jillian Michaels screaming and cursing at myself). Was my achiness and the accompanying desire to stop running an indication of hesitation and lack of commitment (mental psych-out) or was it real physical discomfort that I should back away from before I push myself to a real injury?

This is why I listen to an iPod when I run....it's scary and far too unnecessarily complicated in my head.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I think I would have to have some really good motivation to run 26.2 miles. Like,if I didn't have to do laundry for a year.

Maybe if the prize for finishing the marathon were a cleaning service, then I would maybe do it.

But I think I would have to work up to running even one mile, so there you go.