Worrying My Way to the Marathon

One of my favorite quotes is “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.” It reminds me of how much we worry about things that might never happen. Now it’s obviously important to have some plans in case something goes wrong. I own health insurance and life insurance, but I don’t sit around planning for how my family and I will cope when the chemo starts. I, thankfully, do not have cancer and I’m not about to plan for a disease I don’t have.

That being said, I have been guilty of worrying about running injuries that have not manifested. When I first decided to run my first marathon I was so worried about what I’d do if I got injured. How would I handle it? The funny thing is I didn’t get injured. I ran all my miles and finished the marathon injury free. All that worrying was pointless and looking back it wouldn’t have helped. If I had gotten injured I would have been forced to deal with the reality, not the fictional injury I’d pictured in my head.

I did the same thing to myself when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I was so nervous about how I’d handle the lack of sleep, the 24 x 7 of parenthood, but I had a plan! I was going to nurse only, I had the baby monitor all ready and on weekends I was going to stay up to put the baby to bed while my husband got up for the 2am feeding. All of my plans made complete sense right up until the day she was born.

That first day we realized that she was way too hungry for just nursing so bottle feeding was introduced, which my husband loved! The first weekend I nearly had a mental breakdown trying to get her to sleep at midnight and my husband couldn’t stand the 2am feeding so that plan went out the window. At about 3 months old I finally wised up and tossed the baby monitor across the room. I couldn’t take hearing her every breath and sigh anymore. Every sound she made woke me up and I was exhausted.

Over the past few years I’ve done my best to remember not to worry about things I can’t control or predict and to have faith that somehow I’ll handle those pesky little bumps that life throws your way. I now catch myself living through catastrophes that haven’t happened and change my thought pattern quickly.

As I train for my next marathon I’m nervous again. How will that 20 mile run go? Will the heat and humidity be too much this summer? How will I reach my fundraising goal? I’ve even caught myself thinking, “Is my 5 year old big enough this year to come see me run?” For God’s sake the marathon is in NOVEMBER- I don’t think I have to cross that bridge yet!

So I’m working to get better at not worrying and having faith in the process. Do you have any ways that you handle your unfounded or unnecessary worrying?

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3 Responses to Worrying My Way to the Marathon

  1. stephanie says:

    This is a great post! I am bad about worrying about things and “borrowing trouble” as my husband calls it and usually my fear of something is worse than the actual event itself. I find if I stop thinking about it so much and get out there and do it rather than focusing on my fears helps! But thanks for sharing your insights! It is good to know there who struggle with worrying as well!

  2. Catherine Constantino says:

    Mindfulness. There is no past, no future, there is only the present. There is only that one step you are taking right now.
    Focus. Conviction. Mental gymnastics and poetry.

    • Karen says:

      So very true! I’m working to take one step at a time and to have faith that I will get there!