I’m running a half marathon tomorrow, and I’m not ready for it. I try not to talk about it because I’m afraid I’ll keep on telling people I’m not ready and then I’ll somehow manage to finish it in under two hours and I would have sounded like that prick in school who says they haven’t studied before an exam and they still get top marks. You know who I’m talking about. But this time, I really am not ready. When I started training, I was super motivated. I’d go running three times a week, two short runs (5 or 6km) and a longer one (10 or 12 km, 14 even a couple of times), plus I’d go for a long run over the weekend (I got up to 18km). But then I caught a virus called costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the cartilage in your rib cage. This made me feel very tired and groggy, but mostly it meant that it hurt every time I took a deep breath. (Sometimes it hurt randomly. I would just be sitting there and suddenly feel like a needle was being pushed through my ribcage.) I played a couple of basketball games before I found out about the virus, and I would run out of breath immediately, panting like the wolf on top of the hill in The Sword in the Stone, and my chest would hurt like fuck.
When you have costochondritis there’s nothing you can do about it except taking Ibuprofen and resting. My doctor urged me to avoid any kind of exercise until I felt like the pain had disappeared. I obviously didn’t, as I got diagnosed right before setting off for a basketball tournament where I played seven games in two days (and almost died). But after that, I did rest for two whole weeks, meaning I didn’t run at all and pretty much reset all my training up to that point.
In the past couple of weeks I (sort of) managed to get back on track and the longest I run was 16km. But I still feel terrified about tomorrow.
Last time I run a half marathon, I remember feeling extremely fit and good. You could have told me to go and run around the park at any given time and I would have been able to do it without batting an eyelid. I trained so much for that race, and was very careful about getting enough sleep and eating properly, and I remember having such a great time during the race itself.
Now, I feel shit. I can picture myself at the race tomorrow hating every single minute of it. My diet has changed drastically since moving to New Zealand because I simply can’t afford the amount of smoothies and fruit and veggies that I’d normally eat (thank you, island economy), so I’m basically living on cereals, bread and peanut butter, which I know is not what works best for my body.
So given the circumstances, I’ve been trying to embrace the Kiwi spirit and telling myself that I probably deserve a medal just for trying. After all, I don’t have to win this race. I just have to survive it. It’s not my fault if I got a stupid cartilage inflammation. I should be happy that I’m back on my feet and even if I’ll have to walk (possible) or if I struggle with the weather (likely) of if I don’t have fun (certain), it doesn’t matter, as long as I somehow make it to the finish line.
I’m still hoping I can be that prick, though.