I’ve got sympathy jitters.
My sister’s marathon is this weekend and she’s pretty nervous. She’s been battling injuries throughout her training and she’s worrying that she’ll push too hard and hurt herself and not be able to finish. Have any of you done anything similarly difficult? If you’ve got time, feel free to leave your story and words of encouragement in the comments. I know she’d appreciate it. (And it would probably be more useful than my suggestion to “see a hypnotist.”)

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  1. The adrenaline and excitement of the day is going to get her through the day.

    Be prepared for a long ramble:

    I was very nervous about my first marathon (and my second, for that matter). I didn’t do all the miles that I had intended, I didn’t lose much of the weight that I’d wanted to lose, I’d been eating and sleeping poorly before the race, and was all around nervous. The morning of I probably stood on the long long ladies room line about five times to ensure that I wouldn’t have to use the bathroom in the race (I ended up using the port-o-lets at mile 2). I didn’t know what to eat or drink before the race, nervous about a jittery tummy (nibbling half a luna bar and drinking some gatoraid worked out alright).

    The race went amazingly quickly. The miles just slipped away for the first 15 or so miles. I didn’t know anyone else running when I started, but at mile 3 or so I started talking to a woman who recognized me from our early morning runs through the neighborhood. We ended up running the next 18 miles together, chatting for 15, and her fans became mine and vice versa. Mile 14 or so my feet started hurting (my feet? I didn’t expect that!). The race stopped being fun and started being work at around mile 21 (this is when my new best friend and I split up; she slowed down when an old injury acted up). Every step hurt after mile 23, but I didn’t really slow down. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

    When I got to the final stretch of the race when I could hear the crowds and see the finish line, all pain left entirely. I just ran as fast as I could until I finished. As soon as I was done, I started crying, due to the relief and the fact that I was exhausted. It was the most amazing feeling of accomplishment that I can remember. The problem with crying at the end is that this is when my parents wanted to get a picture, and I was all red and blotchy. 😉

    Every time I ran before the race, I never felt like I could possibly finish a marathon. Once in the race, however, I felt great and it all worked out.

    My advice is to try to not go too fast out of the gate. Pace slowly for the first half, and if you still feel like you can go faster at the half-way point, then pick up your pace.

    This was way too much information, but I hope that it helps. I’m a little jealous, actually, that I’m not running this weekend. It will be a once in a lifetime event!!

  2. ohmigosh, that’s not too much information….that’s perfect! thanks so much. oddly enough, it helps to hear these words from a stranger. (again, oddly, i don’t think i’ve sincerely trusted everyone i’ve talked to about this that i know personally…i guess deep down i fear they’re just lying to me to placate me!) but it’s good to know what i’m anticipating is close to what it will really be like – i probably would have prepared the same, regarding the toilet breaks and the jittery tummy! oh, and i cried after my last half-marathon, so i know i’m gonna be a wreck when this is over. thanks again for the words of wisdom!

  3. p.s. oh, and thanks for posting the cry for help, sis. 🙂

  4. No problem. I knew some of these crazy runnin’ folks would be able to inspire you. 🙂

    It’s funny how much Tricia’s description of her pre-marathon nerves sounds like what you were saying the other day. See, it’s perfectly normal!

  5. i’m just lapping up all this information for some as-yet unknown date when i scrunch up the courage to try this myself. :o)

    amy – good luck. i hope race day goes well for you!

  6. Glad the words help, Amy. You’ll do great!

  7. Good luck Amy!! Tricia’s right — the adrenaline will push you all the way through… and as a small tip I think writing your name on your shirt *really* helps — I’m always amazed at the people who actually call out my name, but it’s more encouraging to have random strangers yelling for me than I would have ever imagined!

  8. That’s such a great idea, Stefanie. Much more encouraging than “Go 8642!” 🙂

  9. 8642 has a ring to it – but that’s a great idea!

    I’ve been off training for the London Marathon in April as a result of a knee injury; it has been the most frustrating thing, as I’m desperate to keep my fitness up, but there are so many ways of going about that. Go easy on your injuries, and simply stay as fit as you can; the race day adrenaline is far more potent than some people realise, so provided you’re in a good way, you’ll be able to take quite a lot of abuse on the day. Slow and steady for the first part, as pointed out already, isn’t a bad plan at all. Best of luck, though you have to finish anyway ‘cos some of us have sponsored you!

  10. hi amy!
    good luck and don’t worry, you’ll do great. I ran my first marathon in june and was worried becuase my 20 mile training run kicked my ass (i started out too fast and burned myself out big-time), then i got tendonitis in my foot and had to take a couple weeks off. My foot got better, and on race day, I took it slow and steady, tortise-style. I stopped and strecthed out a couple of times at water stations (it really helps if your legs are getting stiff), and I didn’t win the race, but i did manage to run the whole thing. The highlight of the race for me was the person handing out jellybeans and pretzels around mile 18. The burst of salt and sugar was so, so good. (I didn’t use that goo stuff becuase my digestive tract tends to reject weird substances). I never hit the wall or felt like i was going to die or anything, i just felt really, really sick of running. I was so excited to be done that I sprinted in the last 0.5 mile and it felt great. Don’t stress out- all that time you spent training does pay off. You rock!

  11. thanks everybody! this really helps, and i’ve felt my anxiety slowly settling (or lifting, or something!) as i get closer to this weekend. re: the name on the jersey, i sooooo have it BEDAZZLED on, so no worries there! people will see a silver sparkly “AMY” with shooting stars coming at them from a mile away!

    i will be sure to (or kris will) let you all know how it goes this weekend. i’m planning on taking my cell with me (very LA, i know) but what else am i gonna do for 6 hours? that way i can keep people updated, and call my mom as needed. 🙂

  12. Eileen, I think “I didn’t use that goo stuff becuase my digestive tract tends to reject weird substances” is the most unintentionally funny sentence I’ve ever, ever heard from you. I’m still giggling.

    And yay, I forgot about the Bedazzled bit. Are we Crazy Crafty Sisters or what?

  13. Ahh, this reminds me of a wonderful story which I know I should save for sometime when I am with you two crazy sisters to watch you cry with laughter. . .My first ever baseball practice. I was somewhere around 1st grade. Dad and I cruise up to ‘The Field of Dreams’ across from the high school in the ol’ Danger Ranger. Don’t really remember taking the field or anything but the funny part. As both of you know for whatever reason I would not go to the bathroom until I absolutely had to, it took up play time. So, I’m up to bat and uh oh, here comes the urge. I look around, ask someone where the bathroom is and apparenly porta john’s weren’t invented yet or something and I pee my pants right there at home plate in front of Ron and Liz Martin and the whole baseball team. Dad was soo pissed and probably embarrassed. I think we decided the pithing machine scared me and that was the reason but I’m sure Dad and I know otherwise. Moral of the story…no moral, just think of all the times I’ve pissed myself while you’re running Aim and keep on keepin’ on.

  14. Oh yeah I remember all too well, Here I was all proud of my son the baseball player and he wets himself in front of everybody. Im not sure who was more embarrassed you or me.

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