The starting line of the Geneva Marathon is in sight and despite my best efforts, the pre-race anxiety has set in. It is sometimes called maranoia, that is, the fear of something going wrong before the marathon. And, it is in full force.
Today, I was at an event and a man started violently coughing and all I could think about was how angry I would be if I got sick as a result of his irresponsible germ-spreading. I carefully watched the door he touched as he left in a coughing fit and avoided it. No sympathy for this guy at all. I washed my hands thoroughly at the first opportunity.
I’m sure that every tiny muscle niggle is some sort of late onset running injury.
I lay awake at night wondering if I’m ready. Did I train enough? Should I have done one more 20 miler? What if that blister comes back?
I have done this before. I know this anxiety is totally normal. It’s part of tapering. I have read countless articles about it and I totally get why it happens. But I’m still anxious. Tapering is like feeding a kid candy and then telling him to sit still. It is not easy.
At first, the tapering part of training is a huge relief. I remember thinking thank f*$% I can finally take a bit of a break. But as soon as I lay off the long runs, I worry that all the fitness I have amassed over the last 16 weeks is melting away and I’m turning into a weak ball of mush.
Speaking of mush, you know what doesn’t make your muscles strong? RUNNING. After four months of intense training, I was really up-in-my-own head about how strong I was. I decided I would go back to Grid, a tough HIIT class at my gym. I powered through the exercises, crushing rounds of weighted squats, lunges and box jumps. I smiled smugly as people around me took breaks and my super stamina kept me going. I am so f*cking good at this now, I thought to myself! But guess what? I was sore FOR DAYS after. It was as if I had never lifted a weight in my life. It was a humbling experience.
I wish I could have called this blog post How to Avoid Maranoia, but the fact of the matter is, I clearly have no idea. This isn’t my first rodeo. I know how to do this, and still, I am acting erratic, irrational and paranoid. Small things seem like BIG problems. God help me if something bad actually happens.
But here’s a comforting thought. When I look back at my training plan, I have absolutely nailed it. I have literally missed two workouts since January 9. I have diligently done my exercises prescribed by my physiotherapist, and I’ve even cut back on my wine drinking… somewhat willingly! I literally couldn’t have done anything else. I can’t not be ready for this race.
So, Geneva Marathon, I’m coming for you. See you in 11 days.