I always overthink things. It’s not a “tendency” to overthink things. It’s truly an always. It’s a paralyzing character flaw. There are a lot of times when the smallest decision stymies me, causing the sort of unnecessary stress that comes with procrastination. I wasn’t always an overthinker or a worrier, it seems to have crept up with me along with my number of birthday cake candles. I’d like to think it’s because I’m so intelligent that I weigh every possibility, but I am horrible at strategy games like Stratego, so I’m guessing that’s not it. I’m blaming hormones, because they are my scapegoat whenever I have lapses in energy, bad moods or unwarranted anxiety.
Tomorrow is the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon I’ve been training for since January. I am ready. I’ve put in the miles. I’ve fueled my body with healthy foods and I’m well-rested. I’ve read and re-read all about the course. My gear is packed and I’m ready for any kind of weather. I’ve set up to have my friends and family texted with where I am on the course. Yet I am more nervous than I’ve been about any race before, including my first half marathon last fall. All because I’ve overthought everything about each of the 13.1 miles.
At last fall’s half marathon, I started out so well that I scared myself. I felt so good and excited to finally be achieving what I’d trained so hard for that I was waiting for something to happen that would zap me so that I couldn’t finish the race. It never happened, and although around mile 8 I dragged a little, I found my second wind. Two weeks ago we ran 13 miles in our training run, and I hit the wall around 11, but I made it and it felt fantastic after it was done. In short, I’ve finished whatever distance I’ve been assigned and lived to tell the tale.
So I’m not sure why when it comes to this race I am focusing on the times when I’ve had a tough run instead of the times when I’ve made it through the miles easily. Normally I’m an optimist.
I will point out that preparation for this race has come with some hiccups. First, there was the weather—that endless, snow and ice-filled winter that didn’t seem like it would ever end did affect meeting up with the training team. (But, we ran on our own elsewhere and got the long run miles in, finding some great running trails nearby in the process.) My training team shirt got lost at the running store. (It was found and I picked it up Thursday, all ready to go for Sunday). And yesterday at race packet pick up I hit a pole in the parking garage and mangled my front bumper (I really shouldn’t drive my huge SUV in tiny parking garages—luckily I’m RUNNING the course, not driving it)!
I’m reading a lot more into these events than I should, I know. Just saying aloud these worries forces me to see how silly and overthought they really are. And the optimist in me thinks that I should consider all these goofy little mishaps as “the worst part” and that part’s over and done with.
Trust your training, says my training team coach.
Use that nervous adrenaline to your advantage, says my head.
Just shut up and run, says my heart.
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