Saturday, October 10, 2015

Rivalries and Nerves (Marathon Training, Week 18)

Six days before my first marathon in the quest, and nervous wreck.  Why?  A rivalry.
Now, I love friendly rivalries, the ones that push both of us to do our best and come from a place of friendship and caring.  It encourages me to be a better runner and person.  But there are also times where my Type A competitive nature gets the best of me. 

There’s a girl in the area who when I switched back to running, tried to take me “under her wing.”  While I appreciated her insight, she didn’t seem to understand that my goals and attitudes about running were very different.  I’ve been doing this competitive athlete thing a very long time.  I’ve been the kid too slow to make the varsity team when the team qualified for the state finals, and I’ve been the adult skater who was in first place at Adult Nationals.  I’ve weathered through illness and injury, but I’ve also struggled with motivation and confidence.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that your passion has to be in the process of training.

When we first met, I assumed, based on her constant signing up for races, that she was just as passionate about going out and running.  Nope.  She really didn’t do a lot of training runs, spent quite a bit of time nursing various aches and pains, and was tied to her walk/run intervals.  Plus, her attitudes and advice were definitely shaped by having the financial means to purchase gear and sign up for races.  Not only am I on a tight budget, but much of it didn’t exist when I started running. 

I really don’t care about other people’s running journey, since karma dictates that you will get out of the sport what you put into it.  But I’m not perfect, and her attitude just pushed my buttons.  Perhaps it was that she didn’t have the work ethic.  Perhaps I was jealous that I couldn’t afford some of the stuff she did.  When I saw her, I would work harder, run further, go faster, and for most of the summer, I was ahead of her. 

Well, in the past few weeks, she’s started to push herself, closing in on me.  On Sunday, she broke 5 hours in the marathon, a goal that I’ve been working so hard to do.  My heart just sank, and it triggered my past mental demons, from both skating and running.  I was nervous, thinking, “What if I’m not faster than her on Sunday?  If I’m not as fast as I want to be, can I redo?”  A long deep chat with the boyfriend eased the jittery feelings, but not the nerves. 

On Monday, one of my skating friends, trying to practice her Silver Moves test, posted the following advice to herself:  Do your best, and do it with joy.  It was the message I needed to hear.  I need to focus on my own race and not worry about what everyone else is doing.  Especially someone who is on a very different journey.

In less than 24 hours, Marathon #1.  A little excited, a little nervous, ready to do my best, and ready to do it with joy.