Listen to the Ali on the Run Show!
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Visualization & My Race Day Playlist
I always thought visualization was a B.S. technique.
The first time I took a real yoga class, the instructor told us to close our eyes and imagine we were in a field filled with pixie dust. Clearly the A-hole in the room, I burst out laughing.
Visualization just isn’t my thing.
But over the weekend, Mrs. Coach Cane sent me an email that I can’t seem to get out of my head:
Start visualizing this week. See yourself getting ready, starting, running, etc. See yourself at points that scare you and see yourself overcoming that stuff.
She’s so wise.
I’ve been picturing myself dominating the rolling hills early in the Hamptons Marathon course, and then picturing myself cruising over that Mile 19 Beast. It’s a fun little game, you see, and it actually is making me feel better and mentally more at ease.
For weeks I’ve been imagining the feeling I’ll get when I cross the finish line, but now I’ve got more concrete thoughts in my head.
Thanks for the tip, Assistant Coach!
Yeah, she just got that title. Ka-POW.
Yesterday was a rest day for me. I wanted to do a strength training or spin class after work, but Coach Cane texted me that he’d “really rather I not” do that, so I turned around and walked out of the gym. And what do you know: I ran 5 miles this morning and felt good and rested. Fact: My coach knows more than I do.
I had a productive little evening last night and finally made my Race Day playlist. What a daunting task. I take this stuff very seriously, you see.
My playlist is too long — 4.9 hours — and I’m not sure how much I’ll even want to listen to music along the way. But I want to be prepared.
Do you want to know what’s on my playlist? You can make fun of me all you want, because I love me some Celine Dion and Broadway tunes.
These songs are mostly ones that I just kind of love and want to run to, but there’s also a bit of visualization involved here, too, I guess. Certain songs on the list make me think of specific people who inspire me or who I love or who I will be terrified to call and say I ran a crappy marathon…so those songs will make me run faster and harder.
Lastly, yesterday I wrote this whole post of things I’m freaking out about as Race Day nears. Within minutes of posting, my wonderfully supportive non-runner brother emailed me.
“Your problems solved…” the subject line read.
Allow me to share with you some of my “big problems” that he insists aren’t problems at all:
What is going on with my stomach? Why is it freaking out? Because you’re yelling at it — you relax, and it will relax
How in the world am I going to get all my work done by Thursday? I feel like Jessie Spano. There’s never any time. At least I don’t have to study for a geometry test on top of all this. I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it. We will have an intervention/running detox for you after the race. You probably won’t get your work done by Thursday, just accept it and move on.
Self doubt, self doubt, self doubt. No doubt, no doubt, no doubt
What if I don’t see my family on the race course? What if I’m too slow and they think they missed me so they move locations and I never see them? You really think that’s a possibility? You obviously don’t know us very well. A) Fellers come prepared and B) Fellers aren’t easily missed in a crowd.
Don’t forget the Body Glide. Pack that first. Then the sneakers. Um, gross? But yes, pack your sneakers.
What if I didn’t train hard enough? You did.
What if I hit the wall during the marathon? It’s never happened during my long runs, which means it’s bound to happen during the race, right? There are walls on the course? Is this a marathon or an obstacle course!?
What if I slow down, positive split and disappoint Coach Cane? Doubt that’ll happen….my prediction is a fast first 3 miles, then some slight positive splitting, then negative splitting, then banana splitting.
Why aren’t you supposed to wear white after Labor Day? Because it becomes see-through, and therefore slutty.
Why hasn’t the taper made me crazy like everyone said it would? Because you were crazy to begin with.
I take that last one back. I don’t.
If I do pee a little during the race, should I tell people? Or keep it a secret? I don’t think my boyfriend will understand. I probably won’t get as many post-race hugs if I confess. You might as well tell people, because we will know, you will smell like sweat and urine. Please do not make shirts that say “I heart peeing myself”
How will I feel the day after the marathon? Hungover
I’m going to run a freakin’ marathon. Most people don’t do that. True.
Thanks, bro. Consider my fears eased.
My day today will end at 16 Handles. I’m pretty pumped about that.
TELL ME: Have you ever tried visualization techniques? Do they work for you, or do you avoid them? For some reason when that yoga teacher told me to grow imaginary wings, I thought he was crazy. But when Mrs. Coach Cane advised that I see myself being awesome, I had no problem doing just that.