Breathe in. Breathe out.
Easy, right? Not this week.
Breathe. It's what My Musician says.
Breathe. It's what Coach Silver Fox says.
Breathe. It's what my Princess Unicorn says.
It's just a race, is what my Tinkerbell says. Thanks kid.
I haven't talked much about how I'm feeling with anyone except My Musician. I've chatted a bit with my coach and with my Unicorn but not to the extent that I'm struggling.
Why? I hate feeling weak.
I mean I can be vulnerable and share dumb things from my life, share moments of struggle but at times like this, IN the moment, I don't know how to reach out and share the depth of what I'm feeling. To share it IN the moment is admitting I'm feeling weak, afraid, uncertain (stupid, I know.)
That's what I'll try to do. I'm not looking for anyone to help me feel better. I know this is a battle with my mind and that the battle is effecting my body.
I also believe that sharing it, in written word or verbally, has power. Takes the bite out the battle in my mind.
I am not someone who suffers from anxiety but this week, I've almost went to the walk-in a couple times because the depth of pain in my chest. I have had one other moment that I've had deep anxiety. That was when Little P was taken from us (you can read that here). That was the deepest hole I've had to fight out of (even digging out that post has me a bit rattled).
I seriously have no idea exactly what is weighting down on me but I have a lot going on. I feel so stupid for how out of control I feel right now.
In nine days we head out on a long road trip to see our son graduate from Basic training. The night he reports back, to travel to his schooling, we turn around and head back towards Philly for my marathon, then home to get ready for my big annual Thanksgiving dinner. Individually, they are all exciting but feels too much right now.
I haven't been thinking about all that November has going on until last Sunday. I'm really, really good at compartmentalizing my life. But last Sunday, someone kicked over that pile of neat boxes. I had my last long run, 21 miles. I was stoked when it was over. I felt great, I ran great. Then I couldn't sleep. I was awake for 3 hours that night. By morning, I could barely breathe, my chest hurt and I was shaky. I was sure it was lack of sleep but it's been Every.Day.This.Week!
WTF? I've never felt like this because of a race.
Clearly, there's so much more going on. The two biggest events of the fall are happening in the same week. Two events that have driven me to my knees in prayer many times in the last 6 months. Two events that mean so much to me.
For our trip to Missouri, I'm working on lists to help me control what I can. I worry about the car breaking down and us not getting there. I've sort of solutioned that by getting us there a day early. I worked out how to get his girlfriend home in time for a college test and get us to Philly by noonish for the hotel check in.
So why am I still being tormented with anxiety? I think it because this race matters to me in a way I've never had with any race. Not that money, fame or PR's are on the line. Just because the marathon is a fickle bitch that I've spent six months getting ready for. I'm ready, I'm excited but I also know it can crush me. I'm choosing to try and keep my thoughts on "I'm ready." "I'm excited."
I have had a great cycle. I've enjoyed it. I have had fun running challenging workouts, long runs that have shown me I'm stronger than I realized, and many easy runs with My Musician. I have had mild tweaks in muscles, my back, my feet but nothing that is an injury.
I have had a great cycle. However, I was shocked at the sadness I felt that it was over. But then I turned my attention to the taper. My taper isn't like what I've seen for some and for that I'm so grateful for. It's not a whole lot less miles. Easier workouts sure but the weekly miles are still a good balance.
I have had a great cycle. I truly believe that's the crux of the matter. A good cycle means I'm expecting certain things from myself. Doesn't matter what My Musician says about just enjoy the race as much as I have enjoyed the journey. Doesn't matter that Coach doesn't care what I do this time as long as I enjoy this one. Doesn't matter that my A goal is to just complete a marathon and not hate every step (like my last two).
I have had a great cycle so I'm excepting certain things from myself. I can feel my breathe struggling and my heart pounding just at that thought. My stomach is doing that slow roll thing and pulse is racing.
My Musician asked me this: "Are you afraid of a successful marathon." Maybe I am a little. I was injured for my last two. I didn't have be successful. I just had to hold on and finish. This time I WANT to enjoy it (as much as you can enjoy a marathon!!!) I fell in love with the miles and training this cycle. I want to look forward to the next one with the same excitement.
I'm pouring out every stupid thought here so that I can look it over and then kick that shit to the curb. I need to rest the next two weeks. I need to recover. I need the anxiety to dissipate. I feel so foolish struggling this way because it's not normally me. Mind you, when someone else feels this way, I think they are brave for sharing and I'm happy to come along side and help and support through the situation. So here I am, laying it out. I'm not asking for help, I know it's a battle in MY head. I'm just asking for patience if I'm not me, if I'm quick to snap or sob! Patience to understand that even though running isn't all there is to life, after 6 months of dedication, sacrifice and hard work, this one day is really, really important to ME and the worry of getting to that start line in one healthy piece is a real concern of mine.
I always get a little nervous before a race. I'm just going to trust that this will dissipate to normal nerves over the next week before we head out on our adventures.
I have had unbelievable support from my amazing Musician, Tinkerbell, the friends I've made in our Teams page "The Den", and my wonderful coach. I am really looking forward to the challenges of the next year but first, during the next two weeks, I just need to be able to BREATHE.