Marathon dreams

I had one of those very brief, deep REM, just before waking dreams this morning. It was mundane in substance, but at the same time strangely revelatory in the possibility it presented. In the dream, it’s a few days before a marathon. But unlike the typical head case I am, my mindset is instead a lot like it’s been before my little races of late: pin on the bib, line up, and just resolve to run my best. No pre-race nerves or expectations. In other words, the race, the distance, is No Big Deal. It’s just a race.

I wonder if I can get to a point where I look at the marathon as just a race. It’s always been this huge, horrible thing to deal with, like a tsunami or a carjacking.

I’ve managed to get there — meaning the “Eh, whatever” attitude — with the half distance and even slightly above (I’m not freaked out by 25Ks anymore, for instance, although a 30K still gives me considerable pause). But maybe the nature of the marathon makes this impossible. It’s just too fucking far. Or is it?

I’d be curious to know if other people who race a marathons to the best of their ability (and train and taper accordingly) are able to come at it with a nonchalant attitude, and how you’ve achieved that state of mind.

3 Responses

  1. When I started running crazy miles and popping out 20+mile runs every weekend, the marathon just became another long run but with the perks of trading the water belt for Gatorade stops, clunky trainers for flats, and snacking on GUs during the run. Higher mileage seemed to reduce the anxiety of the marathon since it was so common for me to just be out running so much anyway.

  2. Even if one is a serial marathoner (6+ a year), I’d say it’s hard to be nonchalant. It’s too long for the majority of mere mortals to race. All we can hope for is a very good time trial. There are spectacular crash-and-burns amongst elite runners, which makes the prospect of racing a marathon scary for me. I found not racing one to the best of my ability (should have run 2:50 instead of 3:11) a negative.

  3. Last weekend I paced a marathon (no I haven’t put up the report yet, soon..) While that had it’s own challenges, I had this feeling of “OK. pin on the bib, grab a bottle and run 26 miles today.” I hope this will help me with future marathons, although the next one is THAT one on Massachusetts. It’s hard not to be nervous about it.

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