"You want to have butterflies in your stomach, because if you don't, if you walk on stage complacent, that's not a good thing." --Joan Jett
One of my friends, who is training for her first half marathon, recently posted on Faceboook about her anxiety. She was heading out for a long run, and was, as she put it, "shaking with nerves, a little teary, highly emotional". She said she didn't understand why.
I understood completely.
The hardest part about racing for me is dealing with my nerves. That pre-race anxiety has almost caused me to DNS more than once. I've worked really hard on my mental toughness and I've chronicled that struggle here on the blog. I've done a great job of reeling in my nerves, and that hard work has paid off for me on the road. I'm happy to say that I've never DNS'd a race because of my nerves.
But I've never shown up to a race without having a little bit of anxiety.
I think that little bit of anxiety is a good thing. Those pre-race jitters show how much you care about what you are doing. Once you become complacent, once you become overconfident, smug, even callous, that is when you fail.
I'd say that as a group, runners aren't complacent. We care about our finish times and we train to improve them. If we sign up to run a race, more likely than not, we're going to train for it.
But being in recovery mode right now, I can see the appeal of a comfort zone. I won't lie. It feels good to go out for a run without a time goal in mind. Right now, I get to run just to run. There's something to be said for that. It's kind of nice.
I'm looking forward to 2016. So far, I've got 2 races on the calendar, the Sarasota half marathon in Florida in March and a marathon in April, the Big Sur International Marathon. Both are destination races. Both are races that are going to challenge me out of my comfort zone.
The half marathon in March is going to challenge me with the heat and humidity. Living in the midwest, training in the middle of winter for a Florida half is tough. I'm going to do heat training again on my treadmill, to attempt to acclimate myself for running in warm conditions.
The full marathon in California is going to challenge me with hills. It's as flat as a pancake where I live. I loathe running hills. I'm going to have to do hill repeats as part of my marathon training. Oh, and in the middle of winter too!
|Look who is at mile marker 24!!!|
Why do I do this to myself? I can list a lot of reasons: personal satisfaction, setting and achieving a goal, physical challenge...they're all good reasons. But there is no better feeling than pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
It's a heck of a lot more fun out there.
How do you feel about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone? Do you get pre-race jitters? Any tips on dealing with pre-race jitters AND traveling to a destination race?
I'm linking this post with DebRuns and her linkup, Wednesday Word. Today's word is complacent. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else says about complacency!