There are a few things that in a flash can take me right back to college. The stale smell of cheap-beer soaked carpet always seems to do the trick, opening up my wallet to find a lone one dollar bill, and anytime I can't remember what I did the night before (except now it's just because my actually memory is shot, 20 years ago it was due to the effect the shot had on my memory.
Today I had a new one that took me back--panic! Yep, pure panic. Not the "wow, how am I going to get this done" run of the mill worry. Oh no, this was grade A, 4 star panic. As the panic today flooded my body, I realized the last time I had this feeling was in college. Usually it would hit me about two days before a serious exam for a class that I hadn't taken seriously enough. Itâ??s the type of panic that knocks twice on the door then kicks it in just as you are getting off the couch to see who is there. I had a lot of those moments in college, when the realization would hit me that I had 48 hours to learn 16 weeks worth of biochem. (I missed a few classes in Ann Arbor thanks to the aforementioned beer soaking of carpet.) Anyway, the panic would come barging in and I would feel totally behind the 8 ball.
Today, I was emotionally right back in the fraternity house, rocking my nirvana meets lumberjack look, and wondering if I was even close to being able to pull another success from the clutches of uncertainty and doubt.
It started innocently enough. An email with our Race to Bayshore running coach Lisa Taylor (who is an exceptional coach and runner!). Lisa was sharing her pearls of wisdom and great advice when she did "it". What she said was full of excitement and enthusiasm, how could she know about my fraternity flashbacks? Alright you ready for this? She said (dramatic suspense music fades up) "27 days till the race!"
For a moment I wanted to correct her. Surely her math is way off, after all this was supposed to be a 16 week long training program! The race isn't until late May! I haven't become Kenyan yet! But then it hit me--as with everything Coach Lisa has told me since Januaryâ?¦.she was right.
I froze. 27 days? 27 days! I only have 27 days before I have to do something that I have never ever come close to doing before! 27 days didn't seem like enough time to transform this runner standing frozen in the family room who is rereading a line in an email over and over again into that runner. Oh it was that biochem exam feeling all over again (which if I had paid more attention to biochem I probably could tell you the chemical reactions that were going on in all my organs that suddenly had my heart racing and a good case of the flop sweats starting).
27 days left. The temptation is to cram--use the old exam approach of memorizing the bold type words and skip all the ones in between. Throw on the shoes and run non stop for the next 27 days--literally run to the starting line and go. That's how I would deal with this complete feeling of unpreparedness.
Coach Lisa saw it coming, and cut that off at the pass. Her advice to make sure I was running to run my best race ever: Rest Assured. Initially I thought she was nuts. I mean "rest assured" didn't work for me in college with exams-even though I did "rest" through a lot of my 8 am classes. But Lisa made it clear that this was different. This time around I had done the work, I had logged 525 miles since New Years Day, hadn't missed a training run, as opposed to spending a semester lounging around-hoping for the best, I had been working to put myself in a place where the seemingly impossible was possible. So she told me to "Rest Assured"-to know that I am on pace to do something special, something that has eluded me for 16 years. It's not time to buy a two litter of Mountain Dew and hit the books. Itâ??s time to polish, to rest, and to get ready.
So coach, thanks for the flashback, but more importantly, thanks for reminding me that it's time to take stock of what I have done.
I think I will go out my feet up...and listen to a little Nirvana for old timeâ??s sake.