ChAoS in MOtiOn
The Voices in my Head.
While at the Twin Cities Marathon Expo, the night before the race, I wandered by the Fargo Marathon booth and registered for a free Mini (half) marathon registration. The following Tuesday, I learned I had won the free registration! It was probably rigged, since while chit chatting with them I hid my true colors and feigned excitement of the Bison’s win earlier that day… Nonetheless, I had to decide whether or not I would run a half marathon (that’s 13.1 miles) 13 days after running 26.51.
I thought, “What the heck, this should be half as hard, and mentally way easier than the full!” I opted for going in on “rested legs” (I didn’t run in 13 days) and “well nourished” (I ate everything in sight for 13 days) for this run. By the 12th day post marathon, this idea of running a half seemed better in theory, especially since my belly was sore from laughing non-stop for 2 hours at the VCSU Rendezvous the night before the run.
Saturday morning my fabulous hubby got up before the sun to drive me over to Fargo for the run. If the Twin Cities Marathon is the most beautiful urban course, the Fargo Mini would be the most boring urban course. 13.1 miles of cul-de-sacs, big homes, bigger home, homes being built, concrete trucks in the middle of the street, homes that were just down right ridiculously big, and mud. Hoping against hope that my memory of this route previously run was somehow mistaken, I was mentally prepared to rock this race. I brought along my running partner, Wonder Woman who is only audible to me, inside my head. She had been telling me all week that this will be a no- brainer. That I had this. That a new Personal Record was just waiting for me to take it. She had me built up! The weather was cool, but would be fine, if the wind didn’t blow (like it always does in Fargo. Always.) I toed the line with my brother, wished him luck, and set my sights on a new PR.
Miles 1-8 were awesome, right on pace. Previous nights rain mixed with the dirty roads made for what felt like running on slime, but I was managing. I was focused, trying to pick off runners in front of me. I kept busy looking for my spectators who were freezing but willing to stand out in the cold to cheer on my brother and me. Wonder Woman just kept encouraging me. “You got this! You go girl! Easy, Smooth, Light!” I felt great!
Then mile 9 hit. I had crossed paths with my brother who was a half hour ahead of me, and I’d have sworn I had already done that cul-de-sac 3 times already. Wonder Woman took a left turn and headed for Starbucks, not to be heard from again. And then SHE showed up. Negative Nelly appeared and perched comfortably in my head for the remainder of the race. “This stinks. Just quit. You’re out of reach of your PR. WHY didn’t you stay in bed this morning? It is freezing out here!! Oh great, the next 3 miles into a headwind? Where ARE we? Now really, does someone need THAT big of a house?” No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t silence her. I was getting so frustrated with myself because I have done this long enough to know that at this point, I needed to get out of my head and think about ANYTHING else than what was rolling around in my brain. At this point, it is almost entirely a mental fight, not a physical one. And for the life of me I couldn’t shush her. I had feeble moments of success when Alicia told me I was a Girl on Fire, and Eminem told me to Lose Myself. But even with Florence and her Machine telling me to Shake It Out, I couldn’t string together more than a couple minutes of quieting her nagging.
In the end, I finished with my 3rd fastest time, and got my hockey puck. Not a finisher’s medal, but a puck. Negative Nelly had a lot to say about that too… And now after a few days I’ve given myself a break; I was still in recovery from the full marathon and I didn’t just run this race, but raced it. It wasn’t the time, wind or cold that was most annoying, it was the negative voice I couldn’t silence. What does your voice nag you about? The one thing you need to know is Nelly is a compulsive liar. What she says is not true, and don’t believe her. Sometimes it is really hard to ignore her. But usually with the help of some good friends by your side, like I had at the Marathon, and even more so in life, she usually isn’t allowed to say much. If all else fails, look in the mirror and tell Wonder Woman to finish her coffee already and that you need her. She’s there. Trust me.
*Disclaimer: The voices are metaphorical. I do not really hear voices. Yet. If I should start to hear voices, don’t worry, I know a good doctor who will get me the help I need.