A race for me is synonymous of pleasure, excitement, accomplishment (yes, I do visualize crossing the finish line before having even done it), but sometimes also (ok frequently) with doubts, fears, anxiety… As Pandora 24 (my first 24 hour race) approaches (18 days), i’m getting more and more « symptoms » of this double emotional play within me. I emailed my coach and tried to address this feeling of « oly crap i’m starting to get freakin’ scared here » yesterday and within his response of wisdom as a fabulous coach (because I am truly lucky to have him as a coach) 🙂 he said : « it’s normal to be scared, but try to stay focused and confident ».
So the day went by…. I surprised myself asking a lot of information, to too many people I think, about the race: course, the terrain, the environment, the people, the food that is going to be served at check points, suggestions of what to do or not to do, etc. I thought about the race as I was doing my training run imagining every possible scenario, also as I was celebrating the birth anniversary of a friend and even when I went to bed a little bit too late thinking that this 5-6 hours of sleep only (because i’m a firm/happy 8 hour/night sleeper) would be a killer for my hill session the next day and the race! I could almost say that this was a very productive day spent « focusing » on the objective, right? Yep, listened to coach’s advice… it seems. I even woke up this morning thinking of tonight’s run and planning my big weekend of training (trail routes, food, pack, etc.) COMPLETELY FOCUSED… and getting COMPLETELY ANXIOUS! haha! Ok, it’s not that funny… 😉 Haha! Ok, i’m laughing again here because i’m almost sure that my coach Ray would tell me, after reading this, that while it’s important to do all those things, pushing the « focus » button too far just might not do it. 😉
So another day (well half day) went by today and I suddenly stumbled upon this very interesting video about meditation on my lunch time. Simple, yet very powerful for me today. Everything became so clear in my mind of what I was doing wrong, that it almost seemed like an a-ha moment. I just had a revelation… Carole you have to stop « focusing » to focus better! What???
Listening to Charlie Knoles talk about meditation made me remember why I loved India so much, being completely emerged in a world where you can « travel » inwards without anybody thinking that you’re a spiritual guru wanna be. It made me remember my favorite part of teaching in my yoga classes; you know that 10 to 15 minutes of quiet sitting in the beginning of a class where you do exactly the contrary of yoga poses and just stay still? It made me remember how even 1 minute of closed eyes and deep breathing at the office on a really busy and stressful day can change your world right back around. But it made me mostly remember how this tool for introspection, visualization, thoughts reprogramming, etc. is so powerful and just what I might need to be really focused for this race.
So as of tonight, i’m trying a new race prep strategy. 😉 Instead of finishing this article I want to share with you so badly about my fantastic mountain marathon experience in Mont Albert (ultra-trail du Mont Albert) a week ago, doing all the chores I need to do being back from vacation and running like crazy trying to kill my legs running uphill…. i’ll still run like crazy haha! (you know meditation can help, but these legs still need a little bit of « aouch » moments before I attempt the im-possible at Pandora 24) and will give myself the permission and time to sit quietly with myself. They say that one of your greatest asset to being able to run an ultramarathon is controlling what goes on in that 5 inch space between your ears!!! So might as well try to do something about it, right? Now, why haven’t I thought of all of this earlier?????
18 days to go, to stop focusing on anxiety and to start focusing on the real race… inwards (with a little bit of leg help), because I think that this race as already began in my head without me even realizing it ;)!!!!!