Marathon Fears and Goals: #5

I got my bib confirmation for San Francisco this weekend and it really hit home that the marathon is in less than a month. This week is my highest mileage week and I have a weird twinge on the back of my left leg I’m hoping will sort itself out with some stretching and ice.

But I thought this would be a good time to introduce a new little segment (series?)

I want to talk about my fears going into the marathon, starting with the fear I’m least worried about and working to the one I’m most worried about. I firmly believe that fear derives some of its power from our unwillingness to acknowledge it. So, I’m going to share in the hopes that my fears are somewhat lessened. Then I’ll talk about a goal for the marathon. Balance, people. It’s important.

Okay, so here we go. Marathon Fear #5 is….

Mentally struggling through the entire race.

Everyone has those runs you spend talking yourself out of quitting. It doesn’t matter if it’s three miles or thirteen, some runs you complete through sheer force of will.

That’s one of the lessons running teaches us: keep going when it would be so much easier to quit. And I love this lesson.

But I don’t want to learn it during the marathon. I accept, and expect, that I will spend a solid amount of time struggling through this race. That’s fine. But I do not want to spend all 26.2 miles absolutely miserable because my mind refuses to cooperate.

I realize that this is the worst case scenario and there are a lot of factors on the day that will distract me, like the new city, the adrenaline of actually finally running a marathon and being at a race.

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about it.

Okay, so that’s the fear. Here’s Marathon Goal #5….

Smile!

I think I look like I’m being tortured when I run and smile at the same time but I am going to make a huge effort to smile. Partly because that increases the chances I’ll have at least one decent race photo but also because smiling can make you feel better. Hormones and science-y stuff like that. I really should probably remember that because it has to do with psychology but my memory for all things psychology is pretty sporadic.

Yes, I’m going to try to smile. I think I’ll probably cry at the finish line but they’ll be happy tears. But until then, I’m going to try to smile.

My cute new coworker agrees:

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