Sunday, May 20, 2012

Focusing My Energy

"I will give less energy to dread.  I will trust my training.  I will do my best not to be afraid."
- Kristin Armstrong, Mile Markers
My second half marathon is in less than a week.  At this point in my training for my last half marathon, I had run 18k, was well into tapering, and had run a 5k race that morning.  Although I felt scared, I also felt ready.

This time around, I don't feel scared in the same way because I have done it before and I know my body is capable of finishing the race.  But I don't feel ready, not even a little.  And so I feel scared - scared because the unknown is known, and I know all the ways I can fall apart out there during 13.1 miles.

My last long run was over a month ago- thinking about it in that context makes me feel even less ready.  I remember it was an amazing run, 15k that clicked by faster than I thought it would and I felt amazing afterwards.  But since then I have travelled, run a 10k race instead of a long run, been sick and today the weather got in the way in a new way - it was just too hot to be out there pounding out at a long run.

And so here I am - with all the best intentions going into this training cycle, I have let it fall by the wayside and fall apart.  I think in part it was my own cockiness, knowing that I have done it once and it must be easy to do it again.  Somewhere along the line I lost respect for the distance, a respect that is so very important.

Tomorrow morning I am getting up early to put in one more long run.  I have mapped out 17k.  I know that ideally this week is for tapering - even last week should have been tapering - but this half will be far from my ideal race.  I'm not doing it for time, I'm doing it for the experience and to get through it.  So having fresh legs is less on my mind than having legs that are confident and remember they can do this.

I was reading Mile Markers tonight, thinking about tomorrow's run and wishing I was the runner that Kristin Armstrong is.  In the chapter Hills, she talked about a half marathon she was scared of because of the hills, and the fear that she would be left behind or not finish.  She said she could feel the fear and dread of the other runners around her as they approached difficult points in the course.  There was a gruelling hill and she choose to focus on keeping on, on putting one foot in front of the other, and she got through it.  She was capable of it.

She ended that story with the quote above, which really spoke to me.  I'm going to do my best to keep it in mind tomorrow, and throughout the next week and throughout the race next week.  I am capable.  I have trained, maybe not to my highest potential but I have trained.  I will not waste time on dread and fear that I can spend in more productive ways.  I will get out there, I will put my feet to the pavement again, and I will finish my last long run and the race too.

I was going to add "somehow" to the end of that sentence but that's just falling back into fear and dread, so I won't.  I will finish.  Period.

"I will give less energy to dread.  I will trust my training.  I will do my best not to be afraid."
- Kristin Armstrong, Mile Markers


  1. I believe (in) you!

  2. I wonder if the half marathon will ever not be scary? Maybe after running a few full marathons?

    I have full confidence that you'll be fine next week. There will be tough points (steep incline around 11K, that stupid parking lot at the end, narrow paths) but you'll finish strong and so will I.

    1. I really really hate that parking lot. Ugh.

  3. I am just dropping in to give you some moral support today! I am sure your legs will remember how to run 13.1 - how could they forget? And that you will do well.

    Keep focussed and let the miles roll by.

    Cheering you on from the Left Coast.... and looking forward to reading your recap too.