As race day nears…oh wait, its today…my anxiety has been increasing. I've never gotten this worked up about a race before, and I've done this one 6- 7 times before. I have always enjoyed running. Partly because it has always been an outlet for me when I'm anxious or angry, when life doesn't go the way I plan, and mostly because its fun. This year, however, I have really struggled to make myself run.
Most runners will tell you that it's not only your knees, hips, ankles, and occasional heart attacks that can bring you down, but that your own brain can try to work its magic to take you down as well. Self talk is key in running, and it happens from the beginning of the race to the end. Whether youre talking to your self by calculating how many miles are left, how many minutes, what portion of the race is left, wondering if you just speed up a little, could you beat your best time, or maybe you just tell yourself you're going to only walk one minute instead of two, you are talking to yourself the entire way through. This year, my mind is trying to defeat me. I am a very determined person, usually able to reach my goals, and I can also be very hard on myself if I don't. So the fact that I want to run, but my brain does not, is very frustrating to me.
To explain this better, I'm going to name the two sides of my brain. Since I am right handed, I'm going to assume the left side of my brain is stronger and bossier, so it's the bossy side. The right side is the weaker side then, which is the side I seem to be in control of, so ill call it the weak side. It started many months ago when the bossy side told the weak side that we can't run that far nor that fast. The weak side knows this isn't true, and pushes harder, trying to ignore Mr. Bossy! Over time, the bossy side starts wearing the weak side down, and I start to believe that maybe I can't do it, or maybe I CAN do it, but just not as well as I thought I could. I do fight through it and find myself constantly saying “this is ridiculous, and I'm fine”. I even tried listening to my bossy brain a little, because there must be some reason I'm feeling this way, so I've slowed my pace way down. But I am able to do other activities without fatigue such as spin classes and cardio videos, so I feel that it has to be the running thats causing the issue. The most frustrating part is when my bossy brain loads me up with ailments as I run. My breathing has became so loud, that I have had to turn the volume way up on the iPod, so I can't hear myself in misery. Bossy also starts to tell me that my muscles are fatigued and my bones are fractured, around 2-3 miles in, so that I will walk, or just quit! I still cant figure out how the bossy brain can tell the weak brain that your throat is closing off, and that you cant breathe, making me make this annoying wheezing sound, while the weak side and I are rolling our eyes, and thinking that this may be a bit dramatic. Seriously, the thoughts are coming from the same place!!! Regardless, in the last few weeks my weak brain has given in to this nonsense, and it makes me UPSET!
I usually don't have a huge problem overcoming challenges, and this ones got me stuck. Recently I have really been able to relate to all the people out there who have set fitness goals, diet goals, goals to stop drinking, smoking, or doing drugs, and seem to hit speed bumps along the way. All of these things require a lot of self talk, and sometimes it's hard to beat down our bossy sides. So we give in, quit, say we can't, or I'll try again later. But I don't want to give into it, I know I'm stronger than that. I'm capable of doing more and it IS possible for the weak side of the brain(me), to beat the bossy side. So, I just decided this minute, I'm going to stop crying about it, stop drowning in my own sorrows, and just do it, because I have the luxury of being able to do it. To all the people in Boston who may not walk or run again, and to those who MAY walk or run again, but will have an uphill battle to get there……. THIS ONES FOR YOU!