I'm running a 10k race this evening and am stupidly nervous - to the point of feeling like vomiting. This is not because I've haven’t done this distance before - I've run three 10k races in the last year - but because I'm so scared of failing and being disappointed. My body is shaking with nerves.
When I ran this same race a year ago, I achieved my personal best time and was very proud of my accomplishment, particularly because I’d run another 10k race eight weeks prior and managed to beat that time by over 6 minutes. So I was looking forward to running tonight’s race again, because it clearly was a good omen for me; I was determined to again beat my previous PB by repeating this race, and felt sure I would.
However, since that race last September, I've had a series of physical setbacks - fracturing my foot; ripping my calf muscle; multiple chest infections; ongoing joint issues with my hypermobility - all of which have severely impacted my training. Over the last 12 months, I’ve been practically couch-bound for weeks at a time, so running consistently has been a challenge. It's only really been in the last six weeks or so that I've felt anywhere close to the level of fitness I had this time last year, but I'm still not quite there yet.
So today I'm forced to accept that beating my PB is near on impossible. Indeed, even running at all carries some risk given my back injury (sciatica) from 13 years ago resurfaced a fortnight ago and I've had to be very careful just going about my daily activities. This means I’ve also had to accept that I probably won’t get close to my PB, or even be able to run 10k in under an hour, which disappoints me hugely.
All this is making me upset and anxious. I want to prove to myself I can get better (both in body and in mind) and I can set myself targets that I can smash. I still want to do well; I want to beat myself. I will be so upset if I don’t - even given the above physical issues. To not win tonight, to not achieve what I want to, feels like defeat; it seems like I will lose all the momentum I have built, and the pride I have earned, in what I have managed to accomplish so far.
I know I'm fighting a battle with no one other than me and my ego and I am aware it sounds stupid: I’ll run the race and just doing it is a win, right? I never thought I would be someone who (boringly) talks about PB race times, and running training, and time targets, but I’ve found something I love and which I am passionate about, and it means a huge amount to me to be able to do it well, rather than just ‘do it’
So my body’s nervous state - I feel *so* sick right now - is a response to me struggling with accepting that failure *is* an option; I don’t want it to be, I want to win, damn it. Quietly, I will admit that here’s a glimmer of hope in the back of my mind that I manage to achieve what I hope I can do tonight, but if I don’t, I hope I won’t be too hard on myself. I’m my own worst enemy, sometimes. And there’s always another race, in which to improve, I guess…
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