Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pre-race stuff. Already?

It's official. I'm nervous!

Actually, I think its more of an excited anticipation, nervous energy - what have you.

Whatever it is, this week already looks to be L-O-N-G, training wise. And not because I've got a lot on my plate. Nope - actually, I'm in recovery mode. So all the hard work I've done gets to be absorbed, processed, and then BAM! Comes out Sunday morning at the Carlsbad Half Marathon.

My training hours have been cut in half, and its all I can do to prevent myself from adding a short run here, or a ride up and down the coast. The weather has been beautiful, the surf high, and winds (mostly) calm.

I've been given permission to add a session of Hot Yoga. But that's about it.

And really, that's all I would ask for.

Because I know that what I do now, the little things like following my schedule, eating good foods at the right times, getting enough sleep, stretching, and listening to my body will pay dividends in the end.

So why is it so difficult?

Rationally, I KNOW that in order to succeed, I should do my darnedest to stick to my plan. But the irrational part of me - the part that whispers doubts in my ears and focuses on the negatives rather than what really IS - will do what she can to wreck havoc with my psyche.

Am I really fast enough to run my goal pace?

Have I done enough tempo work??

I'm X pounds heavier than my goal race weight...there's no way I can run that fast!

Its these thoughts, these ideas that have no rational argument to them, that cause the most disruption. Why? Because instead of disproving them by hitting a target pace or heart rate (through the physical exertion of working out), instead I have to fight them from their source itself. The mind. And that takes constant work.

Whenever a negative thought enters, I fight it back.

Cue funky music.

Okay, enough of that.

It has nothing to do with the physical. And everything to do with the mental. If it were physical - it would be easy. If it was a matter of hitting a certain pace or specific heart rate, then I could put my demons to rest.

Hell - I could run circles around the block at max pace and be satisfied with what I could do. But in the end that effort would hurt me for The Bigger Picture this weekend.

As I've said before: the physical part is easy. It's the mental battles that we really have to push through.

To combat one's thoughts - that's a completely different mindset. Ahem. Because its all in the mind. So I continue to use the power of positive mental thinking.

With every negative thought, idea, bit of self-doubt, I try to think of three positives.

I've hit my goal pace and target heart rate for nearly every run. And for the most part, I've felt really great about how it went. There is no reason I can't do in a race what I've done in practice!

Every week, Jen has given me some sort of tempo or speed work. Additionally, I've completed two races! I have not missed a run since...since... I don't remember the last time I missed a run. Ergo, I HAVE done enough tempo per coach's orders.

A few pounds isn't the end of the world. I'm eating healthier than I have in a long time, and enjoying life. The number on the scale does not represent who I am or what I can do.

And so on and so forth...

As I get closer to my race, I'm sure the nerves will increase as well. But there's also a lot of excitement mixed in as well. I'm looking forward to the challenge, relishing the fact that I GET to run a half marathon. And I'm excited to see what I can do. Yes I'm a different athlete with a much more varied outlook on life/sports/fill-in-the-blank-with-your-choice-of-word.

But when push comes to shove, a race is a race. And the competitor in me hasn't changed. The instinct to push, to hurt, to go beyond what's possible and into that next dimension - that's all still there.

I'm just waiting to unleash that side of me. And Sunday can't come soon enough!


ADC said...

You are completely right, it is the mental battle that is hard. I wish I can somehow record everything that is going on in my head during a race. It would be interesting to hear it. Good luck on Sunday, you will be just fine.

Ordinarylife said...

I agree, the head is the hardest part.

Good Luck! I am sure you will conquer.

Missy said...

Can't wait for the race report. The 'restraint' will pay off this week for sure. The mental can take you down, don't go there:)

Beth said...

Good luck Marit!! And have fun!! And remember that amazingly, on race day, your body knows what to do. It may be hard to imagine keeping a certain pace for a certain distance but you've put in the work to do it and your body will respond!! Now in the mean time...think happy thoughts and no going out for extra runs... ;)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Marit, the mental part is the hardest. It creeps into our daily living in a scary and persistent way. When this happens to me, I try to do the rational thing - I tell myself that the blueprint my mind follows is the self doubt one; so, of course, my mind is only doing what is has been set up to do. There is no truth to it and, so, it becomes easier to dismiss the doubts. Good Luck!
Take care
Love, Mom

Jen said...

Go Marit Go...We will be cheering for you!

Shan said...

Oh how I wish we had a little switch to turn off the madness in our heads! The season is still young yet, so get out there and have some FUN. The legs will do their thing, don't you worry :).

Jennifer Harrison said...

GLAD you are being a good girl, Marit....you are not a robot and your body AND mind will thank you come Sunday!! And, you will feel super! Now, trust your training and bad a$$ self & have a great 1/2 Marathon. I know you will! go go!

Charisa said...

Sunday will be great. Because you CAN and you're going to have fun :)

Maijaleena said...

Good luck on Sunday! You're ready to rock it!

Bob Mitera said...

Listen to Jenny, you'll kick butt if you do.

57 days to San Diego...
57 days to revive my swimming so I can hang with Marit in the pool

Eileen Swanson said...

You are going to have so much fun and do well in the process! I know, I ran with you and you are a powerhouse ;-)