It's all up to me. Either I do, or I don't.
When I was in high school, my world pretty much revolved around Football and Basketball. I was an absolute disaster of nerves before games. Most of this stemmed from the responsibilities I put on myself to perform and to lead. I couldn't let everyone else down! I wanted to be the leader and I wanted to have the responsibility, but I'll be honest--I would dread having the ball in my hands near the end of the game...and being a point guard in basketball and quarteback/running back in football, avoiding the ball was difficult to do.
If I could have just realized that it's a game I would have been fine. In fact, I was a lot better of a player in college intramurals than I ever was in high school because I was able to recognize the event as a game and not my identity as a human being. I was even able to win some of the coveted Intramural Championships* in college as part of the prestigious "Dugan Hayes Boys," "Dugan's Disciples," and also "Dugan's Last Dance." (Don't ask who Dugan Hayes is**.)
And that's why I've gotten in to running. I'll either run a certain time or I won't. I'll either put the training in or not. The weather will either cooperate or it won't. No matter what, I'm out running!
But I'm still given the opportunity to get myself all worked up about it. I get the opportunity to get a bit freaked out. Like right now. I'm nervous but really excited. I used to dread the game actually starting. Warm-ups were a nightmare. Now, I can't wait for that horn to go off...so that I can wait 5 minutes to cross the start line and run!
My desk is empty at work. I actually did all the stuff that my boss (wife) and employee gave me to get done. The xrays are taken and read. The reports are done and mailed. The insurance companies have been contacted and told that I will not accept a 78% reduction in fees for services rendered.
It's time to run!
Don't worry...that's as deep as this post is gonna get. It'll return to the self-deprecating humor*** soon enough.
The last time I felt nervous like this was before my first marathon in Chicago in 2005. I was being dropped off by my sister, and Ellie was in the back seat with me, and she looked at me and said, "You alright? You look scared." I was. Fortunately, 5 hours and 15 minutes later I was wearing a medal and wrapped in tin foil and smiling ear to ear. I did it!
Going back to high school, forget the nerves of those pre-game jitters. I was flat out paranoid on a Friday night in 1997 (junior year), when Ellie Andrews was coming over to my house after a basketball game where we beat the rival Sheboygan Falls by 22 and I had scored a then-career high 17 points (all-time career high was senior year, in the playoffs, against Falls, with 24...I think).
First...a bit of background info: I had it on reliable sources that Ellie had a thing for me. I had a serious thing for her. You see, Ellie was a "bad girl." I, on the other hand, was on the Economics Team for chrissakes. Polar opposites. This was my one chance!
As the night progressed, I did my best to play the confident male. Finally, when the moment was right, I made my move and went in for the kiss...and bonked.
Well, more like clanked. As in, my incisors clanked against hers. And my eyes were even open as I went in. Yikes.
I played it off (using the "That was your fault" excuse) and somehow managed to talk her into a second chance. Then again, I think she really just dated me for my car.
Hello Ladies. Yes, that's a Chevy Spectrum sans hub caps. Yes, my Nike Swoosh (Marcy's favorite) Tshirt matches my car. And yes, those are Oakley Eye Jackets, Cargo Shorts, and some Killer Nikes. No, this wasn't my yearbook photo. I opted for the one with me on the hood.
Perhaps this weekend will include a clank or a bonk. It may happen. I don't think it will, but running has pretty much taught me that, for the most part, what you put in is what you get out. I'm ready for 2:59. I may not get it, and if that's the case, I'll dring a couple extra beers and still smile about it. I mean, no matter what, I'm still running!
So, thanks for all the "good lucks!" Thanks for the laughs! I'd probably be a nervous wreck on Saturday morning, but because of all the laughs, I'll be wearing my plaid patch shorts and that'll help calm the nerves.
Sub 3, here I come!
* Okay, so they were "B Division, Second Flight Tournament Championships. Such miniscule details...
**Unlike other blogs, my allegiance to my college intramural namesake ended in college.
***Yes, the shorts are making a return trip to Grandma's. They'll be worn before and after the (hopefully less than 3 hours of) running has taken place. And there will be pictures.