The Art of Waiting


Hi, my name is Taya and I am an obsessive compulsive list-maker.  I am never to be seen without a purse-full of notebooks dedicated solely to lists.  Wedding list notebook, grocery list notebook…I even spend the last half hour or so of every night planning the next day hour by hour and listing every little thing that needs to be done. 

This, uh, quirk is being just slightly magnified by the fact that this is officially marathon week.  In other words, I’ve just spent ages making marathon preparation lists.  I’ve got a list of non-race things to do early in the week, a packing list and a backup packing list, a list of mental tips, a shopping list…I even made a list of the lists I needed to make.

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Take away my notebooks and I’m lost.

If you want to get all therapist-y, I suppose you could say I’m trying to take massive control over the situation because I can’t really control or predict how the marathon will go.

So now it’s the week of waiting. Just a few days from the race, I really can’t get any more physically prepared.  Long training runs could only hurt me at this point. It’s mostly mental now! I’ve been researching mental techniques for getting through the tough bits and reading race recaps of other bogging marathoners. More than anything, I’m trying to draw in all of the positive energy I can. This isn’t the time to be down on myself on life’s little failures or to let extra stress seep into my day.

From ChiRunning:

“The main Chi focus during the taper phase is Containment – containing your energy, your enthusiasm, you nerves, and your desire for a successful outcome…Pay your bills, call your mother, and take care of business early in the week so you don’t have to do anything non-race-related before the race.”

“Your mind is fickle.  It can serve your best intentions or it can derail your best intentions.  And it has a huge impact on how much energy you have in any given moment.  Distance running is easiest when fueled by positive mental thoughts….Most people think of only food, air, and water as sources of energy, but in reality, your environment and the people in your life are a huge and rich source of energy.”

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Thanks to the blog and the fundraising I’ve done at work and on Facebook, a LOT of people know about this marathon. Lots of strangers, actually.  And all of these people have even invested their own money in my success, even if it was just some spare change here and there. I am so touched by the help I’ve received!

Every day at Smoothie King, some random person will come up and ask me how my training is going.  Even at Starbucks, a little handful of other coffee addicts are keeping tabs.  It scared me at first, having all that pressure, but now I’m turning it into something positive. I want to be able to recall the faces of all the people who have expressed their confidence in me and all the people who reassure me that I can do this. I’m not alone in this.  I have so many people praying for me and thinking of me and.  I also love that my marathon is falling around the time that my awesome friend Rae is expecting her first child.  If she can have a baby, I can run a marathon!  It’s so funny when we get together because, even though we’ve got two different events coming up, the preparation is strangely similar…

And most of all, I’ll have Sean waiting for me at the finish. He’s the best thing to run towards, and he has been so incredibly supportive throughout this process.

Having this big support group is really new to me, as I generally go to races on my own. I don’t come from a running family,  I even forgot to tell my grandma goodbye when I left for yesterday’s 10k!

Tapering was torture before the half marathon I did in April, but I’m almost okay with it for this race.  Going into the race, I know I’m not as healthy as I’d like to be, thankyouverymuchtendonitis.  I feel strong and capable, but I also know exactly where I’ll be hurting as the miles drag by. But I’ve pushed through it before and I’ll push through it again. It’s good to tell myself that I’m a runner.  I’ve trained for this, given up my weekends for long runs, and made it an indispensable art of my life.  It will be okay.

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I’m choosing to enjoy this tapering as use it to make myself as ready as possible for this race.  This week is about working a lot of hours at Smoothie King treating my body well.  I’m rewarding my hard work with good nights of sleep, healthy foods, lots of stretching.  I’m doing the things that I enjoy doing (mostly things that I haven’t had time to do during training), like reading, walking the dogs, baking, and doing fun Halloween things.

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Now that I think about it, mental tapering techniques aren’t just for marathons. (Okay, you don’t have to make 5 million lists to succeed in life) They don’t even have to apply to running. I think we could all do with some positive energy storage and self respect.

I hope you have a good day!  I’ll be back soon with a recap of yesterday’s race!

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