Friday, January 27, 2012


Tonight is London's Run Eve, the night before my first ever half marathon.  I feel that I have prepared and trained as well as possible, despite having a bout with both the flu and the common cold.  I've tapered, I've made sure that what has gone into my body has been the result of a wise decision (for the most part - I'm sorry about the Dr. Peppers), and I picked up my race bib this afternoon just before buying a new top onto which that race bib shall be pinned.
Still, I'm nervous.
I knew I would be.  One does not simply walk into Mordor take 13.1 miles lightly, and I certainly know that while I have trained well, there is always the unexpected.
And that's when it happened...

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

--Shel Silverstein, "Whatif"

I love this poem that resides in my copy of A Light in the Attic, one of several compilations of Shel Silverstein's poems for kids.  When I was younger and still part of what the target demographic for such a book, the poem rather terrified me.  What IF (fill in the blank with an irrational fear, usually of something crawling into my ear, to be honest)?
But as I got older, I realized that there is not really a need to play The Worst Case Scenario Game.  It helps that I have started to cry, that I've lived through (sadly) a couple of wars, and I don't think my dance card will ever be filled up with admirers, and yet, nothing happened.  That "if," whatever it was, wasn't really anything.  Whatever happens... happens.  What if I trip over a root (possible - this race is on a farm, after all)?  Well, then, I trip over a root.  What if I sprain my ankle after having tripped over said root?  Well, hopefully a dashingly handsome runner will notice my plight and carry me all the way to the finish.  Pshhh, yeah.... as likely as... well, those pesky Whatifs.  
It's easy to take Whatif Drive all the way to Freakoutville, but I managed to navigate back to the safer waters (yes, I realize I'm mixing metaphors - what are you? The metaphor police?) of Just Being Excited and Nervous At the Same Time.

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