Wednesday, May 10, 2017

WWU - Race Anxiety

 
very cool image from here

There's a difference between being a little nervous before a race, and having heart-pounding palpitations, dry heaves, and a massive feeling of dread.  Nerves, I can take and work through, especially with the distractions of race-day excitement.  Anxiety, however, was horrible, and it stayed with me throughout most of my races, which made the experience not fun at all.  It's something that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

I was going to link to some of the race reports where I've written about getting race anxiety, but as I went back through them, there were too many to list, which is saying a lot.  If you want to hear more, just click my running tab above and read through any of the race recaps from previous years.  No matter how much I tried to calm myself down before the race, or convince myself that there was nothing to get so worked up about, more often than not I'd end up feeling horribly anxious.

Because I didn't have anxiety in other areas of my life, I didn't seek out professional help; I mean, why do that when I could just suffer for years every time I raced?  I know, not the smartest way to go, probably, but I just didn't want to give the race anxiety any more time than it already was getting, if that makes sense.  Plus I only had so much extra money, and I wanted to spend it on race entry fees rather than doctor copays.  Of course, those race entries usually meant race anxiety, but I never said I was the sharpest crayon in the box.

So here's the thing:  I'm not going to say it's gone, but I've run four races this year and the only race anxiety I experienced was the morning of the race I wasn't running - go figure.  I never had a good reason as to why the race anxiety appeared, and I don't have a good one for why it seems to have disappeared, but I'm incredibly relieved to not have had to deal with it lately...and by lately, I mean since 2012.  Yeah, that's a long time to randomly get race anxiety; maybe it has finally expired, much like that unopened box of crackers stuffed in the back of my pantry. 

All I can tell you is that life sure is a lot easier when the hardest thing about running a race is actually running the race.

13 comments:

  1. Hopefully this gets easier for you. I think the only race I didn't have a bit of race anxiety for was my second marathon. I knew I was SO prepared and was just excited to get the show on the road so to speak!

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    1. Fingers crossed this continues - I'm a much happier runner without the crippling anxiety.

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  2. I read once somewhere that having anxiety before a race (or any big event) shows how much you care about the event and the outcome.

    But I feel you. I used to get really bad pre-race anxiety, but over the years it has really lessened. I had horrible race anxiety for my first full marathon and it showed--I crashed and burned. I worked on that and really redeemed myself with the next one. But before Big Sur, I woke up in the middle of the night in a huge sweat. I'm glad I had a friend to run it with. That helped a lot.

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    1. And that's the thing - I never think that I'm going to place in my age group, so I really don't care about the outcome...but that dang anxiety sure was present, regardless.

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  3. I did notice that --the lack of anxiety--but you know, you're afraid to say something, in case you jinx it. I'm just glad its gone (crossing fingers :) )

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    1. Haha, you notice I didn't say anything until I was finished with all of my races this season!

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  4. I'm thankful to hear that it's been gone for a while!!!!! Makes everything more enjoyable I'm sure!!!!

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    1. Not dealing with the anxiety certainly has made race day much more fun, that's for sure!

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  5. I'm so glad this has ceased for you, especially as you are a runner who loves to race. I honestly admired you for sticking through that because I'm sure I would have just quit racing. Oh wait a minute - I have quit racing lol!

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    1. I like to race - it's a fun thing to do with my friends - but hooboy, I did NOT enjoy the anxiety that crept in. So happy I had a good season this year!

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  6. Our brains are the strangest things, aren't they? I'm happy for you that this issue seems to have resolved itself. Now you can focus that extra anxiety-fighting energy on hills!

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    1. Bite your tongue on those hills! ;)

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    2. HaHa - I knew that'd get a rise out of ya!

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