I know a lot of people who will be heading to Boston in the next few days to tackle Heartbreak Hill along with 26 other miles of potential pain (that’s right: the infamous Heartbreak Hill is only about .3 miles at about a 4 grade—I read that in Runner’s World this month).
The following are some tricks I have learned to deal with the madness that generally plagues my mind the week preceding a marathon:
Yell at someone—kids, coworkers, a spouse—I usually like to go off on someone for no reason other than deep-seeded fear that I am going to die, fail or not even make it to the race.
Obsess about the weather—check no less than 50 various weather web sites in the five days leading up to race day at least 10 times each while your career-dependent deadlines take a backseat to the irrational belief that you can somehow sway Mother Nature.
Talk incessantly about the upcoming race—you might find another runner who will actually entertain the subject, but generally I hold an overly generous co-worker or friend hostage while I talk about how tough the course will be or about the sundry aches and pains I have incurred while training.
When they escape, bait conversation on social media outlets—Post “3 more days …” on your Facebook status and wait for one of your poor clueless cousins to reply “until what?”
Apologize to the people I cussed out—thereby leading them into a conversation about why I am so stressed (the marathon, of course.)
Waste copious amounts of time surfing the net—for images, maps, race reports, elevation charts and videos that relate to marathon running. Read training plans too—that way, you can convince yourself that you did something wrong.
Shop for something to wear in the race—because the 13 sports bras I already own definitely won’t work for THIS race.
Now, seriously, if you want something to truly inspire your marathon and your finish, read this short essay by the great George Sheehan — if it doesn’t stir your soul, I dare say you shouldn’t call yourself a runner.