On Saturday, we had our last training run before the BIG RACE - it was only 6 miles, so it should have been a piece of cake, right? I regularly run 2 miles with my friend Erica on Thursday, so I should be able to run the first 2 miles with no problems, right? I've been running all year, building up my distance, so Saturday's run should be just another thing to check off my schedule, right?
Well, no. Once again I started getting that feeling of dread - that I can't do this. When did that feeling start? Less than 2 miles in. Hello, I KNOW I can run 2 miles. I know I can run 6 miles. So why does my heart start to pound and my chest tighten up? Why does this keep happening?
I don't hate running, but I do hate how I feel when this happens. Along with the physical symptoms, my brain goes into overdrive, and I keep thinking that not only is there no way I can finish this particular run, but also that there's no possible way that I'll make it through the half marathon. On Saturday, I started walking and talked my way through the feelings (ugh, I hate dealing with my FEELINGS), and soon I felt better and was able to finish the run by actually running.
Obviously I have some issues. I'm not sure what they are, but boy are they good at coming out at inopportune times. I spoke with my best friend who gently asked why I was being so hard on myself. I don't know. Maybe because I've done this before, I feel like there shouldn't be any question as to whether or not I can complete a long run. Maybe because despite having many successful 4 and 5 mile runs in the spring and summer, every long run since then has been difficult. We haven't scaled back at all; the distances kept increasing, and I think that's messed with my head, because if running 8 miles was a struggle, then of course 9 will be, too...and then we ran 10, and 11, and 12 - I think I needed the reward of a shorter run once in a while to build up my confidence.
I want to get back to enjoying my longer runs. Short of popping a Xanax beforehand, I'm not exactly sure how to go about accomplishing that (and I'm joking about the Xanax, in case you were wondering). The current plan for Sunday is to take it easy and run the first 5 miles (because I know I can do that, seriously), and then see how the rest of the race goes...if we walk some, that's OK. If we walk a lot, that's OK, too. At any rate, I'd just like to enjoy the experience at this point, whether it's running or walking. And I'm going to take to heart the fortune that I've been carrying around for nearly a year: