Pre-race stress, Mind workouts, and Sweaty Bands

Last night I dreamed it was the end of the day, and somehow I had skipped a workout and there was NO WAY to fit it in.. This was stressing me out BIG TIME, even though it was just a 30 minute easy recovery spin on the bike… I knew it was not a key workout but all the same, panic was coursing through my veins just the same as it would be for a normal person gripped in the nightmare that the car is driving downhill and the brakes no longer function. Truth be told (in real life, not the dream), I have only skipped one workout throughout this whole training cycle. So I should be feeling extra super duper prepared for the marathon, but try telling that to my subconscious mind.

What is new here is that I am actually having an anxiety dream that is appropriate to the situation. When I was in school, during the year I would dream I showed up at camp but none of my bunkmates recognized me and I didn’t have any of my clothes, stationery, toiletries, jacks, cards, or gimp (I think it’s called lanyard if you’re being PC). And during the summer, I would dream I was showing up for some exam but had not taken the course. In my adult life (I am an adult now! I’m not sure yet if I’ve had a chance to sit at the grown-up table, but last year I made the brisket, yes I made a freaking brisket for ten people and it was tender and juicy when I hosted the seder for Passover, so that counts for sure as grown-up), I tend to dream that its 7:55 and I am just getting to the venue of some triathlon that starts at 8:00 and I don’t have my wetsuit, my bike, or anything, when I am stressing about work. So last night’s race anxiety dream matches the situation.

But here is the thing; I am as ready as I am ever going to be. The race is in 2.5 weeks. This is it. I’ve never been one to stay up all night studying (although I have stayed up all night to finish a paper but that’s different)… Because you get to a point and either you know the material or you don’t and the best thing to do is get a good night’s rest and like my dad always said, drink some OJ with your breakfast. And ps my dad is enrolled at Brown University, you might have heard of it, it’s an Ivy League school…and for any Coloradoans who don’t give a flip or even know what the Ivy League is, it is to college what ironman is to triathlon, or what a 5’15 is to climbing. My dad also thinks running a marathon is complete mishegas (and btw, have you any idea how hard it is to find a link to a good definition of the word “mishegas?” I didn’t think the word was that obscure)… I believe my dad’s comment to me as we stood around the finish line of the Cape Cod Marathon was “So now that they have finished running a marathon, when are all these people going to start hitting themselves in the head with a crowbar?”

But anyway… The work is done. I’ve done my long runs, my track workouts, my hill workouts, my strength workouts, my core workouts. I’ve even been doing my mind workouts… I am totally getting into this book called “In Pursuit of Excellence: How to Win in Sport and Life”
by Terry Orlick. It’s got a lot of practical exercises you can do to make sure you are giving yourself positive, productive self-talk during training and racing. It also gives concrete advice on how to set long-term and short-term goals (which really are useful both in sport and in life, as the title so aptly suggests). Also, last night I went to my triathlon club meeting, where our guest speaker was a neurolinguistic practitioner, who taught us a number of other strategies to optimize performance via mental training.

And while I am totally down with mental training and I think it’s really important to believe you can do something before you are physically able to do it, there is also the whole reality thing. Reality = doing the training to get you to your goal. Believe me, I’ve raced both ways; prepared and underprepared. All the happy thoughts in the world cannot substitute for hard, focused work. Period. Confidence doesn’t just come from self-esteem or a positive attitude. It comes from knowing you have put in the miles. Although this will be my sixth marathon, it will only be the second one where I am really trying to qualify for Boston, and only the first where runs at goal marathon pace were a regular part of my training program.

As far as anything I can do now beside get my rest, eat healthy, and prepare myself mentally for the race, I also plan not to wear my Garmin. Every single time I have worn it at a race, it has f*cked with my mind. Maybe I am just being superstitious, but it’s too much constant information. I will be happy to wear my trusty Timex because information about my mile splits and listening to my body should be sufficient. I am also definitely going to wear one of my Sweaty Bands. Because I am obsessed with them. I got my first one as a gift a couple of years ago and I quickly determined it to be the ultimate bangs/wispies tamer. It has a velvet inside and a FUN outside with enough styles to match ANY outfit. You just can’t get a better hair accessory. I tried to pick out another one last month but I ended up ordering six (although two were a gift for someone else). Seriously, go to the website. I dare you to try and pick just one. Bet you can’t. If occupational therapy stops working for me, I want to be a Sweaty Bands sales rep…. Last night, Fleet Feet hosted our tri club meeting, and generously offered all merchandise at a 20% discount. I meant to get some gels and some Nuun but instead I came out with the Nuun and… another Sweaty Band.

The only thing left to do before the race is figure out which Sweaty Band is my lucky band…

Addendum: Dan rocks. He showed me how to add this Sweaty Bands button on the sidebar of my blog, so that if you click there you (or here) you can get 5% of your order!

2 thoughts on “Pre-race stress, Mind workouts, and Sweaty Bands

  1. Becky says:

    cI’m racing that day, too, so I totally understand what you’re going through. It will also be my sixth and the first one I’ve done since having kids. I am totally pressuring myself to be able to do what I used to do…we’ll see how it all comes together. You hit the nail on the head with your comment about knowing you put the time and hardwork in. That’s what I’ve relied on before and what I’ll rely on this time around. Best of luck! I hope we can run together someday…I’m just over here in Louisville…

  2. Yoga Teacher Training says:

    I like this statement, “All the happy thoughts in the world cannot substitute for hard, focused work.” It does take discipline and practice to achieve one’s goals. When one is prepared, anxiety is easy to overcome, and there is less stress. Thank you for this highly motivating article.

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