When it rains on race day

So, the forecast is not looking good for race day.  I know.  This time next week I won’t be blogging about the marathon so we’ll find lots of other fun things to talk about, promise.  But for this week, you get all the random and irrational thoughts rolling around in my head that come from tapering.  It really does introduce a whole bunch of crazy.

Notice, Sunday is sandwiched between a 70 degree December day and a 58 degree day filled with endless amounts of sunshine.  Seriously?!  5 months of training and all the Dallas sunshine you could ask for, and the one day with a 90% chance of not just rain, but thunderstorms and 20mph winds is race day.  So, what do you do when all these negative panicky thoughts start rolling through your head the week of your race?  You replace them with positive thoughts.  Here are a few I’m working on this week:
1.  Run for those who can’t
 This one is important to me.  It’s been one of those weeks with a lot of life and a lot of reality.  So, I’ve been thinking a lot about dedicating this race to those who can’t run.  I won’t go into detail but just know that if you are able to get up today and move around with a healthy body, you are blessed.  So am I.  So, Sunday I’ll run rain or shine because I can.  It’s a gift.  
2.  Run with gratitude  
It’s easy to start complaining.  I could complain about the weather, about the nagging pain I’ve been having in my left glute all the way down to my achilles and around my ankle, I could complain about the volume of training and how I could at least have a good race so it’ll all feel worth it.  I could complain about my pace not being what I want or the hills I may encounter.  Or, I could dedicate each mile to choosing something I’m thankful for instead.  Not to get too deep or mushy.  I know it’s just a marathon.  But it’s kinda not JUST a marathon.  It’s a big deal.  I don’t want to let it pass by without it having some lasting significance in my life beyond just the athletic or physical improvements it’s allowed me to make over the last 5 months.  I want to be replace my nerves or anxiousness or complaints with gratitude.  So, each mile I will call something by name that I’m thankful for and allow that to consume my mind.
3.  Be in the moment 
I get really nervous for races.  Like, really nervous.  I tend to be one of those people who crumbles under pressure.  My nerves make it hard to breath and I get weak feeling all over.  I don’t feel a surge of adrenaline necessarily I feel a surge of panic.  For my last marathon I was a wreck.  The whole week leading up to the race I was scared out of my mind.  Partly because I hadn’t run in 3 weeks and had a significant injury going in.  I also had no idea if I could do it.  Could I run that far?  I did.  I was scared and nervous but I did it.  But, I was scared and nervous.  I decided this week I’d have to make a choice.  I could spend my whole week in the bathroom(sorry but nerves do that ok) or I could enjoy what’s going on around me this week.  It’s Christmas time and there is so much going on.  I want to enjoy it.  I don’t want to waist my week with worry.  I also don’t want to waist the race.  Ya’ll, 5 months of training that I never thought my body would survive.  It did.  IT. DID.  So, not enjoying the experience of the race would seem like such a waist wouldn’t it?  So, I’ll be in the moment.  I’ll look up and around me and enjoy the sights and sounds and feelings of the race.  If I can see through the pouring rain that is.  
4.  Take the time goal pressure off

This whole training program has been designed around my goal finishing time.  Each workout and each pace that I ran was based on what I want my finishing time to be.  Since I did my first marathon with an injury I really had no idea how to gauge how fast I could really run a marathon.  I have the ability to run fast(ish) when I really try but mostly with a 10k or half marathon.  Those are my sweet spots.  The full marathon is an entirely different monster for me and my body.  My biggest concern was not being able to cover the distance, but how well my body would hold up.  I’m not sure I’m built for marathon speed.  I’m not doubting my ability I’m just calling it like it is.  I have terrible hips, achey knees and the weakest ankles on the planet.  I also have a severely deviated septum which makes breathing when I run seem impossible at times.  I’ve learned how to make it work but it’s not the most efficient thing in the world(I need surgery I’ve been told, but who has time for that?).  Throw in some humidity and I’m doomed.  So, do I push and go for a time goal, or do I just enjoy the race and let me body do what it’s gonna do?  Yes and Yes.  I’m going into it with a goal but I’m totally ok with that goal not panning out for whatever reason.  If I finish healthy and strong(ish) then I will celebrate.  I refuse to be defeated by not completing it in a certain amount of time(although I would be a little disapointed, not gonna lie).  It’s a marathon for crying out loud.  Celebrate it no matter what.   
5.  Trust the training

This is probably the hardest thing for runner’s to do the week of the big race.  Trust your training.  Everyone always says it.  Somehow that’s not what floods your mind.  You think about the fact that you felt like poop on a measly 4 miles a few days ago.  How on earth will you run 26.2.  You think about the aches and pains you have from all these months of running and will they go away by Sunday.  You think about your nutrition and hydration and if you’ve done enough to prepare.  Have I done enough?  The answer is yes.  I know I have.  I know I’ve followed my training and completed the work.  I saw a quote floating around somewhere that said “You’ve already run the race, today is just the victory lap.”  That’s how I feel.  Not to drive ya’ll nuts with talking about the Hanson’s Method but can I just tell you, it’s hard.  I had no idea going into it how it would change me.  So, a huge part of me feels like surviving those 5 months was the challenge and the race is the icing on the cake.  It’s the few hours I get to reap the rewards of all that work.  So, trust it.  I’m not going to start doubting it now and you shouldn’t either.  If you’ve put in the work then go do your thing.  
6.  Everything is NOT out to get me this week

I’m pretty sure every day I’ve had a different issue that is bound to derail my race.  A tickle in my throat, an ache in my foot, a kid with a cold who is bound to end up with the flu and give it to me, the stomach flu going around, stepping off a curb the wrong way and breaking my ankle.  You name it, it’s out to get me.  Or so that’s how my mind is going.  The week of your race you can’t help but be ultra paranoid about something going down that will ultimately affect your performance or worse, keep you out of the race altogether.  All that training and all those months just to get to ONE SINGLE DAY unscathed.  It’s a lot to ask for isn’t it?  You are banking on everything going right on one day.  I’m already losing the weather battle so I’m praying my body and health hold up.  I’m drinking like a mad woman(not like that) and doing my best to rest.  
couldn’t hurt right?  Can you overdose on Vitamin C???
But, at the end of the day it’s not up to me.  I can’t live in a bubble this week and I can’t spend my week afraid of something happening.  As important as this race is to me, it’s not the most important thing to me.  If I wake up Sunday at 1am puking, then so be it.  God’s in control of this thing and not me.  So, what will be will be.  I refuse to take that pressure and stress and worry.  Letting it go.  
So there you have it.  What I’m fighting this week.  I feel surprisingly calm and relaxed which can only be God’s intervention because I am the most nervous racer ever.  I’m making a choice.  I’m going to choose to just enjoy this thing and all the amazing food and rest I get to have afterwards!!  You with me?
Do you get nervous before big races?  
What are some things you do to fight against the worry and pressure?  Any scriptures or quotes or inspiring things you say in your mind to fight against the nerves?  Do share.  

11 comments on “When it rains on race day

  1. Sabrina, my thoughts exactly. That’s the fear, not being able to do the thing I’ve trained to do. What if I have an off day on race day? That’s what I’m trying not to think about haha. Anyway thanks for the encouragement and for following along on this journey with me!

  2. Karen thanks!!!! Yes, I think rain and cool is better than the humidity that comes before the storm so that’s kinda what I’m hoping for! An 80 degree marathon sounds like my version of you know where lol. As far as my stomach goes I use GENUCAN. I love this stuff. It settles my stomach before,during and after the race. My recovery is so much better since I started using it. It’s awesome and I swear by it. Wish you all the best!!

  3. One of the things I do to combat race week nerves is to make a “mantra bracelet.” Just a series of go-to thoughts that I hope will keep my head in the game while running. I have one manta per mile, which I rip off and send flying into the crowd. It gives me something to look forward to and to think about for the next mile! The mantas are simple, from names of my kids, to things like “You can do hard things!” Just the ritual of making the bracelet in the days leading up to the race calms me and reminds me why I do this!

    At my last marathon 2 weeks ago, I was holding my little rolled up bracelet in my hand, ready to rip off the next one when I had a snafu–instead of tearing and throwing just ONE little slip of paper, the entire bracelet went flying onto the side of the road. I made a snap decision NOT to retrieve it and guess what? Those mantas were so solid in my head that I didn’t need the bracelet at all. It gave me confidence in my own ability that I was able to do without my little crutch. It was my best marathon of three this year. My own head and my own body was enough!!!

    Hope the rain in the forecast goes away, or at least is just a sprinkle! Much luck to you!!!

  4. You will do great!!!! I agree with trusting the training. I’ve never ran a marathon, but I always panic that I won’t be able to do what I’ve trained to do. Whether it’s a half or a full, trust your training and let your body do what it’s been trained to do!! Can’t wait to read your recap 🙂 you have worked hard and I think you’ll be shocked at how well you do!! Cheers to a fun race and great memories!!

  5. As a runner, your blog had inspired me!! I feel bad reading about the aches and pains your body has gone through but it makes me feel good that all runners encounter them, not just me:)
    I wish you all the best on your run this weekend! You’ve trained hard for this marathon…you can do it!!!

  6. I have followed your training and being a mom of 3 myself, I will say that completing the Hanson method seems to be a huge accomplishment in and of itself- that plan is intense!!
    I have had my best runs in rain and ran a marathon when it was 80 degrees (horrible) so maybe you should pray for rain 🙂
    How do you keep your stomach in check on runs and races? I get a nervous stomach too!

  7. Loved reading this! I have heard of people choosing a person to pray for each mile and I have been contemplating that option. I love your idea of thinking about the things we are thankful for. It is true…being able to run at all is such a blessing. Weather here in CS is looking humid but possibly no rain at race time. I will say a little prayer the rain holds off for you too! But glad you have such a great perspective this week. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. I do get nervous before big races. I try to keep myself occupied the week leading up to race day, so I won’t over-think it.
    It sounds like you have the right idea! Even if it rains, just make the most of the day you’re given. You’ve done the work and you’ll have a great race!!!

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