Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rock and Roll Denver tomorrow!

Tomorrow I run the Rock and Roll Denver half-marathon. I haven't written about it much, mostly because it interferes with my infamous denial tactic (see my Lazy Person's Guide to Starting and Maintaining an Exercise Program post). Going to the race expo yesterday to pick up my packet actually got me really excited for the run! Booths for all the races in the Rock and Roll marathon series lined the walls, and it took some serious willpower not to sign up for a few right then and there. Aaron and I found some sweet minimalist shoes; Vibram 5 Fingers for him and a pair for me that I'm sure I'll rave about later. The expo almost felt like a party; the music was pumping, everyone was laughing and having a great time, and I wasn't nervous at all. Or rather, I didn't REALIZE I was nervous until last night.

All night I was haunted by nightmares illuminating my imminent failure; visions of collapsing at the 2 mile mark, dreams of accidentally lining up with those running the Rock and Roll 100 miler (note: this race doesn't actually exist, it's just a figment of my wildly paranoid imagination.) I envisioned myself getting horrifically lost on the course, while "helpful" people along the sidelines offered instructions in foreign languages that ultimately led to me running in circles. This morning I woke up gasping for air, my heart pounding like a jackhammer. "What if I can't do it?" I whispered into the darkness. That's when I started to get mad at myself.

CAN'T is the most frustrating word in the English language. It's such a defeating statement. I hate when people tell me they CAN'T do something; they CAN'T seem to get into shape, they CAN'T relax, they CAN'T quit drinking. CAN'T is just a fancy way of saying, "I don't want to put in the time and effort to do (whatever it is they want to do)." CAN'T also sneakily hides it's meaning in phrases (I call them excuses) that don't actually use the word, but the meaning remains the same. How many times have we heard (or said, or thought), "I want to work out, but I just don't have the time." Or, "I want to stop doing (whatever addictive behavior) but (insert phrase blaming something or someone aside from ourselves here.)" When we use those expressions, we ultimately say, "I don't want to get out of my comfort zone and push myself to a higher level because it's scary; I'd rather stay in my secure/miserable box rather than make the move towards change and improvement."

Goals can be tough to reach. But we absolutely CAN do it. And if we think we CAN'T do something, maybe we don't WANT it enough yet. I once read that people put off making positive changes in their lives until the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain and discomfort of allowing ourselves to grow. So this morning, when I asked myself, "What if I can't do it?" I was really wondering, "What if I don't want to experience the discomfort and nervousness that comes along with race day?"

Admittedly, there are challenges that come along with a big event like a Rock and Roll Marathon. Runners have to be at the starting line at 6:55, which means I have to leave my house around 6, which means I want to wake up around 4:30 to make sure I get in a good breakfast, drink lots of water, employ bodily functions to make sure I'm rid of any excess food and water that may decide to make an appearance mid-race. Also, it's supposed to be cold on Sunday (48F) so that's a major discomfort for someone like me who freezes until it's 80F and sunny. There's the stress of finding a parking space, figuring out where to line up, and making one last trip to the port-a-potty for last minute emergencies (this seems to be a key issue with long distance races. Makes me want to start running 5ks instead..) And all this comes BEFORE the gun goes off.

After that, I have to somehow figure out how to get through the race relatively intact. My main goals tomorrow are to a) not puke on the course b) not die c) not get injured d) not curse in front of little children who might be in the vicinity.

Why would anyone ever want to compete, right? Why don't I just scrap the race, put in a movie, baby myself with junk food, and call it a day?

Because in my heart I know tomorrow is going to be AWESOME! It'll be my third half-marathon, and no matter how nervous I felt before my first two, I was so grateful and proud when I made it to the finish line. I don't train with competition in mind, but I'm always amazed at what I learn and feel during a race. When I attempt to describe why I keep training for events even though it scares the bajeezus out of me, I can't find the words. I know I love it. I know it makes me happy. Until I figure out a better way to express those feelings, I'll have to postpone a definitive explanation.

At the very least, I know I'll have something interesting to write about after tomorrow :)

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