Finding my Mojo

I’m trying really hard to get excited about the Space Coast Marathon this weekend, but it’s not quite taking. I feel like my training is a total fail, and therefore actually crossing the finish line is in question for me.

I mean, my longest run was 15 miles. I should be proud of that number, because it’s the farthest I’ve ever run, but… That’s terrifyingly short of anyone’s training recommendation that I can find on the old internet. I normally would be watching Spirit of the Marathon for inspiration right about now, but I feel more like Run Fatboy Run.

No, I'm not saying I left a pregnant woman at the altar.
No, I’m not saying I left a pregnant woman at the altar.

Normally right now, I’d be in full-blown blogging mode; laying out what I am going to wear, posting course information, travel plans and tips, but I haven’t had it in me. I’m too worn down with apprehension, self-doubt and a touch of self-flagellation. I want to finish, but the thought of potentially failing is daunting.

I know this is a totally toxic headspace for my race. I know it’s not inspirational or funny. But it’s honest.

They say you have to face your fears to defeat them, right? So what am I afraid of?

Breaking, Bad.

Not in the series I’ve never seen, sense, but rather I’m afraid of my body not getting me through. I’m afraid of the heat. I’m afraid of dehydration. I’m afraid of my calves cramping up.

Why. Why is the temperature increasing?
Why. Why is the temperature increasing?

I’mma Let You Finish

Wouldn’t that be great legs? If you let me finish? If you carried me all the way to the end of those 26.2 miles? I’m afraid you’re not strong enough and that my lack of training is what will let us both down. That’s on me, and I hate it. I feel like I’ve been trying to hide from myself these last 2 weeks (apparently at the bottom of a bag of Poutine Flavoured Chips), but everywhere I go, there I am.

My alternative plan to get to the Finish Line. Instead of BEING an ostrich, I will soar like an ostrich. photo credit: kennymatic via photopin cc
My alternative plan to get to the Finish Line. Instead of BEING an ostrich, I will soar like an credit:
kennymatic via photopin cc

The Unknown

I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what to expect. Seriously, I research and read a lot of stuff, but I think there are things that can go wrong that I don’t even know about and that freaks me the flip out.

One thing I won't need to worry about - speed traps. photo credit: - POD - via photopin cc
One thing I won’t need to worry about – speed traps.
photo credit: – POD – via photopin cc

My Shoes

I want to wear my Newton Lady Isaacs. I like them a lot. I feel faster in them. My toes don’t hurt in them. I’ve never run this far in them. My Nike Structure Triax I’ve worn a lot. Toe, and heel problems, but they’re familiar. What if I choose the wrong shoooooooes?

Letting People Down

I’m running this race with Greg and Rachael. My Dad and Step-mom are coming up from Palm Beach to see us run. What if I can’t keep going? I’ll be mad if the others stop too and I won’t be very fun company for anyone either way. I’m not running so that people will be proud of me, though. I’m running so that I’ll be proud of myself. And I’ll be really, REALLY disappointed in myself if I fail.

And that’s the real brunt of it.

All the rest of it aside, I don’t want to fail.

So how do I turn this around? How do I take those negative brain-worms and spin them into something resembling inspiration?

I Have A Cunning Plan

  1. Control what I Can: Hydrate. Wear cool clothing. Carry a cloth to soak at the water stations. Have family meet us with ice. Make easy to open packets of ENERGYbits doses.
  2. Set Micro-goals: I did 15 miles. Everything after 15 is a victory. My Goofy Training has me set to run 23 miles this Sunday. So, let’s just get that in, shall we? We’ll figure out the last 5K when the time comes. Or, barring that, I’ll be aiming for the next driveway, the next mail box, the next pebble.
  3. The Unknown: Relax. Why get so existential? It’s supposed to be fun.
  4. Wear the Newtons: Have family meet me at the halfway point with fresh socks and the Nikes. If I need them, they’re there.
  5. Letting People Down: Everyone’s got their own race to run. I should stop being such a narcissist. I’m not doing this for anyone but myself. Wait – that seems narcissistic. Should I be MORE of a narcissist? In this case, yes.

Whew. Thanks, Simon Pegg! That really slapped some sense into me.

From: Run Fatboy Run photo credit: Phim Ảnh via photopin cc
From: Run Fatboy Run
photo credit: Phim Ảnh via photopin cc

How do you turn around negative thought, self doubt or fear?

Humour Running

tabethawells View All →

I am an actor/writer/director based in Chicago, IL.

15 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Focusing on the positive is the best approach, and it looks like you are doing just that! Keep your head held high, and let the course be with you ❤

  2. You can do this! Since we are being honest, I won’t sugar coat this….it will be the most difficult, yet probably the most fulfilling thing you have done in a long time. You are in a similar position I was in back in 2010. I had broken my ankle I hadn’t started training til Sept that year. It was slow, and up until October, I walked a lot. I had one 18 mile at the end of November and then a house emergency struck in December, which put my training on the back burner for most of that month. I was doing Goofy+5k. My running times were similar to yours at that time, and I didn’t have enough experience. Like you, I doubted my ability to finish due to being under trained. But here’s the thing….I BELIEVED I could finish. Optimism and the ability to cross the finish line can go take you to the end. Will it hurt? Yes, it will. When you enter into unchartered miles(miles your body has not trained for), your body will react. You will slow down. You will walk more than you will have liked, but you will keep going. Stop and take a quick stretch if you have to, but don’t take too long. Tell yourself, to get to that next mile mark or next drink stop, but keep going. I remember once I passed the 30k mark, my body started to shut down. Each mile felt like an eternity, but throughout the pain and the cement like feeling my legs felt, when I got to the last few miles, the stubbornness and will to finish pulled me through. I envisioned the crowd, the placement of the medal around my neck and the ultimate goal of fulfilling my task. Replay it over and over again in your head until you own it. It will be yours!

    Couple of tips-run the first half like you would a half marathon. Pace yourself. Once you get through that, take it 5K at a time. If you can continue your same pace, continue as is. If you feel you are getting slower, push on just a bit more. This is critical. You need to push through it until it really gets uncomfortable. A doctor asks you, “on a scale of 1-10, how bad does it hurt?” If it’s not a 10, keep running. I think you do intervals, so if you need an extra minute to walk, do so. When it becomes really tough, you will walk. Do it! I think you have 7 hours to finish, so if you combine your half time-about 2:50, then your next 10k at about 1:30. That leaves you more than enough time to finish. I finished my marathon around 6hrs. It wasn’t pretty but the moment I crossed the finish line, all that pain seemed to go away. It does….really it does!

    Good luck Tabetha. Have faith. You can do this!

  3. If you can’t run… walk, if you can’t walk… crawl, but whatever you do… Keep moving!

    Positive thinking and reinforcement get me thru some of the rough moments…

    That and math… Oddly I can get a mental boost when I realize I’m 20% thru. Or 40 or whatever. Just whatever you find that works for you… Stick to it. And now I want to watch a mini Simon Pegg Movie marathon!

    • If you ever told 10th grade me that I would be looking to math for comfort, I would have laughed and laughed… (not my forte, but you’re so right).

      Thanks for the thumbs up, and you can never go wrong with a Simon Pegg movie marathon. I’ve watched Shaun of the Dead twice in the last month.

  4. First – I know how you feel. I was super nervous about my first marathon (I mean HELLO it’s 26.2 miles!!), but those nerves are what will push you through, and as you complete mile after mile, the adrenaline will kick in and you’ll be on cloud 9 – or actually cloud 99999999999999999 because it’s the BEST feeling in the world!! EEK!!!
    Second – DO NOT worry about letting other people down. I PROMISE you those folks who are traveling to support you, are insanely proud of you just for attempting to conquer this huge task. A marathon is no easy feat, and the fact that you even signed up and put yourself through this much training shows a lot of dedication, strength and courage. You’ll do your very best out there, and your supporters will be proud of you for that 🙂
    Third – just focus on tiny little tidbits at a time and keep putting one foot in front of the other. You have plenty of time to finish. Focusing on small chunks rather than big ones absolutely makes it more manageable
    Forth – YOU GOT THIS!! You’ll have lots of runDisney friends out there to chEAR you on

  5. You will make it. (1), You’re stronger than you think. Remember, you said at the end of that 15 you still had gas in the tank. (2) Relax. Breathe in, breathe out. You will do much better if you’re not stressing. (3) You will not be letting anyone down, no matter what happens. (4) You will cross the finish line. You will. And then, there will be pancakes.

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