Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dealing with self-doubt

Me: It's 5 days until my very first marathon! I can't wait until I can call myself a marathoner!!!
Self-doubt: ROTFL...marathon? You? The fat kid who ate candy and chips all the time? If you ran 2 steps, you would probably cause an earthquake!
Me: Yeah, yeah, I was a fat kid. But I'm not a kid anymore. I've learned to take care of myself. I have trained for this for 2 years, especially in the past 4 months. I can do it.
Self-doubt: Maybe you managed to run 10k, and even a half marathon. But a full marathon...only athletes do that. You don't look like a marathoner. And hey, isn't that a chocolate bar in your hand??
Me: Nope. I've been watching my diet too. I'm the lightest I've been in 6 years.
Self-doubt: Sure. Whatever. You'll probably find some other way to screw up. Not enough water. Too much water and you'll have to make multiple stops at the porta-potties. Not enough calorie intake. You'll hit the wall. After all, you've only run 32k...what makes you think you can run the extra 10k??
Me: Hmmmmm...I don't know...

The biggest hurdle for me from now until I cross the finish line on Sunday will be dealing with self-doubt. No amount of running now is going to help me finish...in fact, less running is better. I need to rest up my legs and body. I did 10k last Sunday and 5k today. Nice and easy. I am still unsure of how I am going to pull this off. I am having trouble having faith in myself, despite the fact that I completed all of the LSD's in Hal's program. I know that I will have to be mentally and physically tough.

This morning, I thought back to the time that I climbed Mt. Fuji. It was my 21st birthday (almost 7 years ago). A group of us decided to climb overnight, watch the sunrise from the top, then hike back down. No sleeping. The hike was supposed to take about 5 hours. However, it was so crowded with climbers on summer vacation that it was impossible to climb at a normal speed. In addition, my friend Rodney and I decided to stick with two other friends who were struggling with the hike. They eventually stopped at the mountainside shelters to rest and planned to turn back. Rodney and I carried on, but by the time we got to the top, we had been on our feet for 10 hours. After watching the sunrise and getting some spectacular pictures, we had something to eat and starting walking down. We had been awake for 24 hours already, and walking down the mountain was more difficult that walking up. My knees and ankles ached, my quads burned. A couple of times, I stumbled and fell out of pure exhaustion. Rodney would quickly come to my side and ask if I was okay. I would grunt, get to my feet, and stubbornly continue on. He kept quiet. Later, he told me, "you should be very proud of yourself...you are a very tough girl." Yes, that's right. I AM a very tough girl!

And this Sunday, I will become a marathoner.


Randall said...

When you finish the first half, you will realize how much stronger you are than when you were "just" running half's. Any doubts you have left will recede.

After 32K, there is no "try", only "do" (to borrow a phrase from Yoda).

Don't go out too fast. It won't get you a better time if you do, because it makes the last 10 K so much harder and slower.

Even it is cloudy, put sunscreen on for face and back of the neck.

If you are going to trim the edges off toe nails, do it TONIGHT so your toes have a chance to toughen up a bit.

At the finish line of my first marathon, I burst into tears and just could not stop sobbing. Not little ones either, but big, loud uncontrollable howling. I had stretched myself way beyond what I thought were my limits, just to get to the finish under my goal time. (9 seconds under) That was probably a mistake, but it was educational. I hope you don't have to reach that deep, but if you do, you will find that there is far more to you than you imagine.

Have a great run!

anners said...

Thank you for sharing your advice and experience with me, Randall! Yes, I will definitely start out slowly. Even though I do have a vague time goal in mind, I have to remind myself that it will be a major accomplishment to just cross the finish line. I am getting excited about the race now!