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  • Writer's picturerganderson915

One-Week-Until-Big-Races Thoughts

Hi there,

Today marks 1 week until my first official race of the season! I find it reassuring to remember that most of my race prep is behind me, and there isn’t a lot to gain or lose, physically, in the 7 days leading up to the race.

Right now, the best thing to do is trust the process, follow my routines, and have a nice mindset. Possibly easier said than done!

When I’ve been nervous in the past, I’ve noticed I have a tendency to start deviating from my normal ways. I might eat something I’ve never eaten, try a different race warmup, or try an entirely different race strategy. One of my biggest process goals this year is to trust myself, question fear-based decision making, and let things flow.

Speaking of trusting myself…

Last week, I was skiing in somewhat sketchy conditions - icy, rainy, rutted snow. I went down some S-turns, lost control, and fell kinda hard, giving my ankle and knee a good twist. I sat there worrying for a few minutes and assessing the status of my leg. I was able to hobble down the rest of the hill and ski it off to some extent, but the next day my leg was a bit swollen and unhappy. Luckily the injuries were minor and healed up.

In the following days, I was nervous on the hills and more hesitant than I’ve ever been. I started snow-plowing to reduce my speed and tensing up, ironically both things that increase the odds of falling by a lot. By trying to avoid falling, I started falling more, and the more I fell, the more I worried about falling. How bout that.

A self-fulfilling prophecy/Pygmalion/Galatea Effect is kind of an interesting concept that I thought was worthy of this week’s blog discussion. It’s the idea (simplified) that beliefs affect behavior, behavior affects outcomes, and outcomes confirm beliefs.

 For example:

Belief: I’m bad at downhills

Behavior: Tense up, stare at trees I might hit, panic

Outcome: Crash

Belief: See? I’m bad at downhills

The cycle can be positive, too. 

Belief: People are nice

Behavior: Be nice to people

Outcome: People are nice to me

Belief: See? People are nice

I like this concept because it gives some substance to the idea that “mindset matters.”

In theory, I know that thoughts/self-talk can be powerful, but I think the additional context of a cause-and-effect chain is persuasive - it’s not a spiritual belief that “thoughts matter” intrinsically, but an acknowledgment that thoughts are a catalyst of behaviors that add up to create life circumstances.

I think awareness of that concept and belief in agency is uplifting. This is one of the bigger ways I deal with race nerves. There is a lot I can’t control, but there is also a lot I can positively influence with optimistic, confident beliefs and behaviors. 

Thanks for reading, and have a good Tuesday - I’m about as sure as you are that you’ll have a good day. (get it?)

Love, Renae

Sunday's 10k Test Race at Hillside Trails - Anchorage, AK. Photo: Zarah Laker-Morris

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