Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

Marathon Zen

By early indications, I’ve made it back from Vegas without contracting the swine flu (knock on wood). So now, with less than four days until go-time, I’m doing my best to stay healthy, hydrated, and (w)hole. I’m diligently filling my nalgene with water and filling my body with whatever homeopathic remedy said to cure the phantom illness or injury of the hour.

All that and so far, it’s been a relatively stress-free taper. In fact, all of my tapers to date have been reasonably hype-less. I’m not sure I want to see myself through a stressful one (though there was that first marathon, where I emailed my team in training coach in the middle of the night to find out whether I could bike to work the following day – four days before the race – because I was going batty from the decrease in activity)…

I wouldn’t say that I’m the most Type A person in the world, but I’ve definitely got my fair share of neurosis in me. I like things planned. I like structure. I like to be in control. And I get a little bit (or a lot) anxious when those things don’t line up.

By all indications, I should be a mess right now. I should be packing and re-packing my clothes for Sunday morning. I should be checking the weather forecast hourly. I should be frantically poring over the map of the course and and figuring out the pre-race schedule to the minute and making reservations for a pre-race pasta dinner.

For some reason, though, when it comes to running and racing, I’m able to let go. Don’t get me wrong – I’m diligent about training and intentional about sticking to a schedule. I have been checking the weather forecast – every couple days – and I did look up restaurants near our hotel to make sure that I’ll be able to find something reasonably safe for dinner on Saturday night.

But in general, I don’t flip out if I miss a run. With rare exceptions, I let crummy miles roll off my back. And most importantly, in the three years that I’ve been pounding the pavement, I tend not to get fazed by the pre-race hysteria.

So, with 84 hours and counting until the gun sounds and I make my first attempt at Boston glory, I’m sitting here feeling remarkably calm. Cautiously optimistic about the race and reasonably certain that if it falls apart, I’ll be back in the fall to try again.

Now if I could only figure out how to apply that zen race philosophy to my day-to-day life…

**Of course, now that I’ve written all this, I can pretty much guarantee that some sort of emergency or hysteria will befall me before Sunday at 7:30 AM…**


12 responses to “Marathon Zen

  1. Angela and David Kidd April 30, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Sounds like you are in the right mental place to have a great marathon! Enjoy the rest of your taper.

  2. aron April 30, 2009 at 1:56 am

    yay glad you are feeling good!!! good luck this weekend!!! we will be sharing stories come monday! i love this line: Cautiously optimistic about the race and reasonably certain that if it falls apart, I’ll be back in the fall to try again. ditto.

  3. N.D. April 30, 2009 at 2:22 am

    no…you’re doing great!! It is fantastic you are chill about it! vegas was a good distraction too!

  4. The Happy Runner April 30, 2009 at 2:46 am

    I’m sending you lots and lots of no emergency/no hysteria vibes! You’ll do great!

  5. RunningLaur April 30, 2009 at 3:05 am

    You are the zen master. Ohm. You’ll be great!

  6. I Run for Fun April 30, 2009 at 3:22 am

    I love your zen race philosophy! You do all you can in training and let everything else be. You will do great, Abby.

  7. Amanda April 30, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    That’s great that you are able to (for the most part) be laid back about racing and not stress about things you can’t control. Good luck in your marathon, can’t wait to read about it!

  8. RunToFinish April 30, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    glad the swine flu passed you by during your debachery. I am sure coming back from all that stimulation is probably why you are enjoyin so much peace now

  9. Denise April 30, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    For as crazy as I am, I tend to be ok before races, too. Staying calm will help keep you healthy! Good luck on Sunday. Can’t wait to hear all about your BQ!

  10. Kristin April 30, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I’m feeling the same way. I mean, I know that something could happen and the race could go badly, but I’ve done all I can now and the rest is up to the universe. I’m also surprised I haven’t been planning and nit-picking every detail…Good luck Sunday lady!

  11. Ali Wish May 1, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    You need to impart some of that pre-race zen on me!

  12. Kim May 1, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Good Luck! Have a GREAT race.I’ll be thinking of you as I run the Lincoln Marathon on Sunday. I’ll have a few more hours on the course to wish you super fast vibes to get that BQ!

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