For as long as I can remember being involved in distance running, I have always had terrible trouble sleeping the night before an event. One of the first races I really set myself for was the Bruny Island Ultra in 2014 and I can still remember lying awake for hours, nervously thinking about all the things that could go wrong. I finally did fall asleep, but only for a few hours, only to wake hours before my alarm and after a fruitless period trying to get back to sleep, I eventually got up an hour earlier than planned.
Not much has changed in the intervening years. No matter how well prepared I am or how early I go to sleep, it always takes forever for sleep to arrive. And without fail, I always wake well before my alarm with no chance of getting back to sleep.
But the night before my most recent race at this year's Sydney Marathon, something was different.
A little spoiler alert- for once I’m not talking about fatherhood (much as I would love to digress onto that topic once more).
I thought I dealt with a disappointing failure on the Gold Coast (no I didn’t meet Malcolm Turnbull- I just ran really badly in the marathon). I was relatively at peace with the missed opportunity and managed to put the lingering sense of disappointment behind me fairly quickly.
I should also show some self-awareness and remember not to over catastrophise too. I have referred to this race at various times as a set-back, a disappointment and even a disaster. I must acknowledge that compared to true misfortunes that befall everyone at different times in life, my experience on the Gold Coast was pretty trivial- especially in a year that has been unbelievably good to me. But that didn’t make me feel any better about the actual experience at the time.