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Embracing doubt

This is my official week to have a complete nutty.

In fact, I'm under orders from my coach to have a nutty.

She wants all her athletes this week to let their minds go to worst case fears for race day.

And I have to say, I questioned whether she really wanted me to do this. Because I'm pretty good at worst-case scenario. And I'm even better at self doubt.

But yes. That was our homework. This week we are supposed to work ourselves in a tizzy with all the "what ifs" that could happen.

I have two "A" races this year -- the Buffalo Marathon and Muskoka 70.3. But with the marathon 32 days away that is my primary focus.

So while the panic about forgetting how to swim, asking for a water rescue or getting a flat tire certainly exist, the nutty this week is all about the marathon.

What if I start out too fast? What if I start out too slow? What if I lose my nutrition on the course? What if I get a sloshy stomach from drinking too much water? What if I don't drink enough water and I start to cramp? What if I bonk?

And then comes the deluge of self-doubt.

What if I can't run the marathon? I've never run that far before. Not even close. My longest run was 14.6 miles on Sunday and I wouldn't have survived that if my friend Karl didn't keep me company for the first five.

What if I fall completely apart at mile 16? What if I fall apart at mile 8?

What if I didn't prepare properly? What if I didn't do the workouts the right way?

What if all those people who think I can't do it are right? What if all those people who think this is an unimportant venture are right?

What if I let down those friends and family members who have supported me and believe I can do it?

What if I'm just not good enough?

These are the stories that play in my head ... if I let them.

My coach wanted me to go there and see how it affected my workouts this week. I can say for sure that my first swim in 10 days was pretty darn ugly and the 50-minute easy-paced run felt rather difficult.

I'm not so sure I want an entire week of this. Because I can see the nuttiness start to creep into other areas of my life. I'm pretty good at looking normal on a daily basis, but once the seed of doubt germinates, it's difficult to direct it where to go. Luckily, I have my self-proclaimed therapy-driven running buddies who forcefully (but lovingly) show me the forest through the trees. 

"Live in the moment and don't let your mind talk you out of it," my friend Karyn told me.

In the moment, I'm not worried about mile 16 (unless I actually am on mile 16). I'm not worried about what might happen or lamenting the things I did or did not do. I am only concerned with what's in front of me.

And right now, what's in front of me are a plethora of opportunities. What's in front of me, after all, is pretty darn good.

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