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!