The realization of what I have done has come crashing down on me, which is strange. On the advice of a very dear friend, I am writing as a way to deal with things (things like, let's say, emotions, and stuff). And as an act of bravery (or stupidity, you decide), I have chosen to put this writing out into the aether.
Why should I be so terrified of this year's race schedule? My training has been going amazingly well. Last Saturday, I ran 33.26 miles in seven hours (about 7:20 if we count the time spent changing shoes, shirt, bathroom breaks, etc). Even counting that time spent doing things that would keep me comfortable, that is still 1 hour and 49 minutes faster than my first official attempt at that distance back in June at the Trail Rail Run. And then I ran another 5 miles on Sunday. Because it seemed like the thing to do. It wasn't easy, but I didn't have to stop and walk so I must have been feeling well enough.
So why, now, today, am I scared? I've been obsessively number crunching since Sunday night. I desperately want to get 50 miles in during my 12 hour event next month. And all of the sudden, I'm overcome with doubt that I'll be able to achieve that.Not just a little doubt, but oppressive, consuming self doubt. The thoughts that are filling my head now are all about how I shouldn't linger at the aid stations. I should perfect every little move I make. I know that I'll need to change out of my wet clothes once the sun starts going down or I'll freeze to death. And now I'm overly concerned with how long that is going to take. I know I can't skip that, or I'll be miserable, and possibly hypothermic if I don't change.
Why is it all of the sudden so important to get 50 miles in 12 hours? That works out to an average of 14:40 minute/mile pace. When I see those numbers, I KNOW I should be able to do that. But then I realize that I will have to stop. Eat. Change. Cry. Have a massive breakdown. Rebound. Eat some more. Those things take time. Time that cuts into that minute/mile equation.
I've been able to run a consistent sub 6 hour marathon this past little while. So I should be fine, right? Probably not, since I have to run two sub sixes to make 50 in 12. And as you keep going, you get tired. You slow down. Okay, well maybe YOU don't. But I sure as hell do.
And that leads me to the fear of my first official 50 mile event. There's a 14 hour time limit, so I shouldn't be having panic attacks, right? Right?! Well guess what. I'm panicking. Big time panicking. I know a lot of it has to do with the fact that I don't want to be last. Again. Second to last is perfectly acceptable. Why is second to last so perfectly fine? I don't know. I just don't want to be last. I've been the last person to finish a race multiple times. As in more than once. As in, it happens more frequently than I am happy admitting. But for some reason, I love the last person. I love to stay and watch them come in, if I've somehow managed to not be in their place. I am always so proud of them. It seems like they worked harder than anyone to get to that finish line and they didn't give up. I often cry at finish lines, watching that last person come through. So why can't I love being last?
Scared, That's what I am. Scared to be last. Scared of how much it will hurt. Scared to fail. Scared that people will make fun of me because my very best effort is something that would shame them into never participating in another event. Does this happen to other people? Am I just losing my mind? It's just running, what's the big deal?
I've made huge strides in my progress as a runner. I need to focus on that. Perhaps all that's happening here is the fear of the unknown. I don't know how much pain is waiting for me during these events I've put on my plate. My longest run to date was last Saturday's run. A couple of years ago, I never would have dreamed I could do anything over a marathon distance. And I have 4 times now, and I haven't felt all that terrible afterwards. But when I try to fathom doubling that distance, which is scheduled to happen this October, I get sick to my stomach. I shouldn't mention the fact that I've also committed to my first 100 miler, one year from now... Eep. Who does that?! Who commits to run 100 miles when she hasn't even completed a 50 miler without dying?!
That sick feeling, it's the same way I felt at the starting line of my first marathon,even my first half marathon. Oh, who am I kidding, my first 5K scared me. I guess that means I should keep that in mind. Once it's conquered, it's not going to have the same effect as it once did. I just have to do my best to show up prepared, in body and mind. Give it all I've got. And If I happen to be last (again), I should make it look good.
Huh, I do feel a little better now that I've got that out.
Until my next race report (or cathartic writing sesh), happy running :)