I am an anxious person. I had relatively easy pregnancies. But, both times, I was so anxious about giving birth that the experiences became harder. I dreaded the actual day. How was I going to get through it, be strong enough, remember all the advice and training? I feel as if all the latter went out the window once actual labor began.
Both times, my blood pressure went way up (it is usually low), either when labor began or in the day or two before my due date. The midwives did not think “preeclampsia,” though they monitored for that. They, and I, knew it was anxiety. My mind over body powers are enhanced by anxiety. I swear that the anxiety prevented regular, productive contractions during my second labor, which was induced. The monitors did not help. When I was un-hooked from them, my contractions improved (if “improved” can possibly be the right word here). In the end, the painful pitocin was necessary (but quick!).
Unfortunately, I am feeling the same way about the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23. I have not run a marathon in six and a half years. I have started three and finished two marathons in my lifetime. The first was the best experience and time: New York City in 1999. The second, New York in 2000, I did not finish (calves turned to stone at mile 19). I ran the third, the National Marathon in DC in 2002, with a pace group; the pace leader was focused on catching us up to the clock (isn’t that what the chip is for?), that we ran each mile 20-30 seconds faster than advertised, and I had to slow way down and even walk some after mile 20.
I want to get it right this time. But my anxiety may psych me out. I know I am a strong, determined runner. And I’m even kind of fast. I followed my training schedule and am well-trained. (Though I do feel a little beaten down by the training, but that is why we taper for three or more weeks, right?) People do this all the time and even have fun – which is what I want. (And I’ve not heard anyone call childbirth “fun.”) So I need to calm the heck down, right?