“Oh no! A splinter in my foot from this wooden bridge! And only two weeks to the marathon! Angst is me!”

All credit to tweeters RunnersWorld and WillOnTheRun, from whom we’ve found our word of the day:

Maranoia (n.): Fear of something going wrong (illness, injury, etc.) in the weeks before a marathon.

The Urban Dictionary gives it a different meaning, but our version suits fine.

Having trained so well these past months for the Dublin Marathon in a few weeks, it’d be awful if some small mishap caused me to miss the race. But from now until race day, that’s the risk I face.

These autumn days are no help. The rain poured down this morning, turning steps and metal surfaces into potential slips. This changeable weather – warm one minute, cool and windy the next – carries colds and flu like seeds of pollen; my coat and scarf overheat me in the train, and the sharp breeze outside the station turns my thermostat right down again. Dare I leave my office window open? And my fellow commuters all look infested with germs…

The training routes I’ve followed all summer are now obstacle courses. Just tonight on my run someone opened a car door right in front of me, blocking the narrow footpath – and when I swerved onto the road a car was coming straight at me. Steve Ovett once banged his knee off some church railings during a training run, and his career never recovered.

And then there are the unforeseen circumstances. Can I still run if I get struck by lightning? I had a tooth extracted last week -what if my sore gum somehow infects my whole head? And is it safe to eat out? Eamonn Coghlan picked up a stomach bug when he took his wife out for her birthday dinner, and it cost him an Olympic medal – so for God’s sake don’t take your partner to a restaurant, not before the marathon and not ever.

Worse than that are the comedy injuries that could strike. One English goalkeeper famously damaged his foot by dropping a bottle of salad dressing on it. (Fortunately, I make my own dressing.) Another strained a muscle while reaching for the TV remote. I could cope with an injury due to rock-hard training or saving a stricken orphan – but missing a marathon because I twisted my knee getting out of bed, that would be too hard to bear.

After all this mental anguish, The Wall will be nothing!

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15 Responses to Maranoia!

  1. ultrun says:

    Stay positive! Good luck!

  2. I hear ya! I have a half this weekend and the ING Hartford Marathon next weekend. I’m scared I’m going to hurt my self this weekend and then blow it next weekend! This is not my usual week before a marathon routine.

  3. Gareth Price says:

    Snowdonia Marathon a couple of days before the Dublin one. I’ve had man-flu the last 10 days which has meant I’ve been struggling to keep up with my schedule – which *was* going great. Now concentrating on thinking clean, germ-free thoughts.

    p.s. Signed up for Trail Marathon Wales in June…

    • Run and Jump says:

      Man flu – oh no! It almost kills MILLIONS of men every year! Be brave.

      How are feeling about the hills? Did you eventually get some uphill practice in?

      And I’m glad to hear you’re already thinking of your next marathon!

      • Gareth Price says:

        I have got in some hill practice, thanks. Not really phasing me as I had a really good 18-mile hilly run a couple of weeks ago. Planning some shorter undulating runs in these last weeks. Chuffed to hear that you’re raring to go too!

      • Run and Jump says:

        Great to hear you’re feeling ready. Good luck with the run-in and don’t forget the taper!

  4. rundontrun says:

    I’ve got a “sick and injured” place in next year’s London Marathon – how ominous is that? I’ve also got a bruised big toe nail that’s detached on two out of three sides. Might need a crash course in how to access podiatry before the Birmingham a Half on 20th October!

  5. rundontrun says:

    That’s it, although not sure how much it boosts my confidence. Just imagine the mantra as my energy depletes at mile 20. “I’m sick…I’m injured…I WILL GET A PB!”

  6. TheFitPetite says:

    love your definition of maranoia

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