Regarding the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run next weekend, a friend who is running is understandably a bit nervous. It's hard to concentrate and be motivated for regular stuff, running seem not to be going well, and there are doubts, even fears, about sufficiency of training and tapering.
This is a big event, a stretch, because running 100 miles is a non-trivial activity. Few people on the entire planet can do this. But this runner is experienced and well-trained, and these feelings are completely normal. It'd be abnormal NOT to have doubts and reservations at going for 100 miles for the first time. And those feelings can be overpowering and even debilitating.
So here's what I emailed back. Not that I'm THE expert (I've really only run 100 miles 3 times, to include Umstead in 2010) or anything, I'm just passing along some thoughts that might help.
I was pretty nervous the last few weeks prior to the race last year but can't really say there was fear per se.
But I have had unreasonable but real fear. A good analogy is when I went back to grad school and the first few days of class it seemed as though everyone else was young and sharp and what the heck was I even doing there?! But then I said to myself, calm down, you've always done well in academia, this will be no different. And it was OK after the initial shock but I did feel crazy with fear for about a week. Anxious, sleepless, etc.
So...I get it that you're quite nervous. And fear is not an unreasonable response. Everyone is different.
My words of wisdom are simply these--nobody is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to run. This is a voluntary quest for excellence. I think the best approach is simply to adopt a relaxed and playful attitude toward the run and let the chips fall where they may.
It's not life or death, it's not a must-win situation, it's an optional activity that should be fun. Meeting your goals would be nice, exceeding them would be better, but if you don't it's not the end of the world.
You're well trained, you're healthy, you are an experienced athlete, I'm sure you have a solid race plan figured out...so just remember, RELAXED AND PLAYFUL!