Yesterday my team completed an 18 mile training run per the schedule. My team also worked the SAGs for the Saturday teams this week, led by the coaches. You would think that this being my 8th fall marathon training cycle that I would be used to the ramp up in mileage, and that my mind would be at ease with this, but that is decidedly not the case.
The night before this run, the familiar thoughts of anxiety trickled in. Even though I didn’t feel outwardly anxious, my brain felt otherwise. I slept pretty well from the time I went to bed at 9:30 until I woke up at midnight. I began to wonder if I had laid out everything for my run properly. Did I put the chair I had used for our SAG stop on Saturday back in my car? Did I have my hat ready? Ugh. Silly what-ifs. And my dreams weren’t offering much in the way of reassurance, either.
My most significant running-related nightmare had some familiar themes: I had arrived 30 minutes late for our training run, and I was in street clothes, carrying a heavy backpack. All the while, my head coach was so kind, telling me not to worry. But I knew I couldn’t catch up to the team.
Of course, I woke up on time, I wore the right gear, and the run went ok. Even after a terrible night’s sleep. And I was even able to keep my little group of front of the back of the pack runners heading in the right direction, as our course had lots of turns. And I’m so grateful the run is done!
If training for the marathon offers so much in the way of creating anxiety, why do we do this? I ask myself this question every season. Oddly, I think by creating and conquering adversity on our own terms, it provides both distraction from our normal, daily anxiety, and it helps us prove that we can do difficult things. And these we do repeatedly.
Still, the surprise anxiety that arrives with the big runs never ceases to amaze me. When I wake up from these strange dreams and nagging what-ifs, I have to remind myself that I’ve laid out my clothes and gear, I’ve set my alarm, and I have trained for this. I have done everything I can to set myself up for success. It will be the same for race day. I just know it!
Are you or have you ever trained for a big race? Do you have these crazy anxiety induced dreams, too? I’d love to hear about it.
Many thanks to Bill Draper for the lead photo!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.