Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - Anxiety

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:

24 comments:

  1. Sweety I have no tips or advice for you because everything you wrote screams me. I recognize everything and at this point I'm even scared to enter a race because of the thoughts of failure.

    You will finish though, the advantage you have compared to me is that you have a lot of running peeps (and Jeff) with you to help you through it. I hope you will enjoy the race and that the axiety isn't that bad.

    I will be thinking of you Sunday and send positive thoughts your way. Keep us posted on FB okay?

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    1. Thanks, Fran - and I've thought about you and your race issues when I've been going through this. Not fun, is it? I'll be sure to put something on FB after the race.

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  2. I had great luck with a round of hypnosis where the person interviewed me and then made a tape for me to listen to anytime ( while at home). It helped me with the anxious thoughts and, bonus , I slept like a baby.

    I know a sports psychologist who told us " stuff "may come out while walking the half marathon. That it happens and it's normal. Good luck and just know you are not alone.

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    1. I've heard that "stuff" can surface during yoga, or even a massage, so it makes sense that it could happen during a long run. Bah. I hate "stuff"! ;)

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    2. I think that's why I have a hard time running without music unless I have someone to chat with - "Stuff". You hear people say it all the time, oh running is great because I can get out of my head. Ha! I stay in my head and think all the wrong things.

      Shelley, you will do awesome Sunday because the weather will be great, the race excitement will sweep you up and frankly, you've done it before so you know you can do it again.

      Virtual cheers coming from H-town to you! Go, Shelley, Go!

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  3. So sorry this continues to plague you. My guess is that there's some sort of deep buried fear/anxiety that you haven't really addressed. Once again, isn't it amazing just how much running is mental? I like that you've given yourself permission to walk as much as you need. Now find a positive mantra and use it to get through the race!

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    1. So you mean my current mantra of "holy crap, I can't do this" isn't positive? ;)

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    2. Change it to "Holy crap, I'm ACTUALLY doing this!" I think the holy crap part is really effective :D

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  4. I'm so sorry you're going through this. It's amazing how our brains can play with us! I have every confidence that you will rock that race, no matter how you do it. I'm pulling for you!

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  5. Our minds really get into the way of things that you *know* you can accomplish. Sometimes I think it is when the body goes on autopilot for endurance sports and the mind is then just free to roam to wherever and goes into those corners and overthinks stuff. Maybe you should just talk out loud when running to get rid of that stuff.

    I always do the bargaining tactic, too. "Just get past X" and you can rest, take a drink, stop, eat, ect. Then do it again.

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  6. Okay, sorry for how that comment totally made no sense.

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    1. Actually, it made perfect sense to me! :)

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  7. Wasn't it you or Helen who had a saying about 'just run the next mile?' Maybe that will help for Sunday. Don't think about the whole race. Just know that you can run the next one mile.

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    1. That is a good reminder. Run just one mile. Lather, rinse, repeat x 13.

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  8. Not sure I'm qualified to give you advice since you've been running longer than me. Last Saturday I ran my longest run ever, which was 9 miles and was hard. I'm training for my first half marathon in the Spring. I try to remember what you posted long ago, "run the mile you're in". That helps. I even had my husband put it on my Road ID. Also, I read somewhere about a blogger who prays every mile for a different person. So I always pray for my two teenagers, my husband and mother and then random people who pop into my head. If the run is really hard or once an out-of-town route had me running under a scary bridge I use one mile to pray for myself! You'll be on my list this weekend.

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    1. Thank you for the reminder - I'd forgotten that mantra, but that is IT for Sunday - "run the mile you're in" - shoot, I may just write it on my forearm!

      And you absolutely qualify to give advice. :)

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  9. Shelley - Isn't it funny when the people around you have more faith and confidence in you than you have in yourself? I know you can do this - and so does everyone who runs with you. You've overcome much greater obstacles than a silly little half-marathon. Please, girl.

    Just stop thinking and run, baby!

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  10. Really love "run the mile you're in." Now go get it...I have faith in you :-)

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  11. Hang in there and keep running, Shelley. I know your head will get where your feet want to go eventually. :)

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  12. Youre feet will get you there!! Now we need to get your 'head in the game'. Every race I wear a bracelet from my girlfriend who has/had leukemia. When my head starts playing games, I look at it and start listing positive things she would say to me. I also so a lot of praying for others. When Im not focused on me me me, it seems to make the miles go faster! Cant wait for your recap!!!

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  13. You can do it!! I have to remember that it takes me a good 20 minutes into a run to just settle down and not let my mind take over. You've got this!!

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  14. I don't have any running advice, but I'd like to send a good luck hug your way Shelley.

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