I’m leaving tomorrow to run my first marathon in Tromso, Noway. Tromso is about as north as Santa’s house. 2,305 miles north of Bergamo. I’m flying into Oslo and then making my way to the top of Norway, so far north the sun never sets. So, I’ll run my race through the night in complete sunlight! Pretty cool, ay? But this trip isn’t all about the marvelous natural wonders- it’s about running 26.2 miles. And let’s be honest, I’m nervous. The conditions in Tromso always vary, and most of the runners in this race are those really good runners- the sprint 26.2 miles to the finish line runners. This is not me. Yes, I’ve been training, but I am not fast. I just want to finish. I don’t even care if I finish last. But this week, negative thoughts have been pounding through my head about the race…What if something goes wrong? What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t do it?
Okay, have you ever thought about what you could be without a certain thought? If you could just delete some negativity from your brain completely, and replace it with something better? I wanted these bad thoughts about my race out of my mind, but I didn’t know how to trash them. Speaking with my mom about the whole thing, she told me to try meditating the negative out of my mind, and placing it somewhere else. So, I picked out an object in my room- a small hamster stuffed animal wearing a Santa hat (Why do I have this???) I actually held little guy in my hands, and looked at him and said “Here hamster, I can’t think negatively about this race anymore, I’m taking all my negativity, and giving it to you.” Then, I envisioned all of the negative thoughts leaving my brain, and going into the hands of this furry little hamster. I took some deep breaths and then laughed at the absurdity of my drill. But the funny thing was, I felt better.
I’ve realized it’s hard (practically impossible) to ever delete thoughts completely. You can tell yourself not to think about something, but it’s difficult to make yourself listen. If you can, however, center your brain enough to focus the bad somewhere else, you can learn to feel better! Now, when I see the hamster, I know he’s holding my negative thoughts so I don’t have to. Yes, this is extremely silly, but the mental image has helped dust my brain, and I’m no longer googling statistics like “deaths by marathon.”
But that’s enough of my childish Zen rant- let’s talk Italy. It’s been a fun couple of weeks, filled with nightclubbing at Setai, playing the new x-box with the fam, long distance runs, Italian BBQ’s, hiking at Lake Como, and partying with couchsurfers. Two nights ago, I went to a bar to watch the Italy vs. England football match. I’m not the biggest football fan, but watching the game, I was slowly hypnotized. Soon I found myself jumping up and down with the fans, pounding the bar table, and screaming f* you in Italian to the other team. After a tied game, it went into an intense shoot out. 2-4…ITALY WINS!!!!!!!! Jumping, singing, hugging, kissing (yes kissing- this is Italy) everyone around the bar- hey, football issss fun to watch.
The celebrations didn’t end there. Next we ran to the car, hung flags out the window and speed around the town honking and cheering. It was midnight, and everyone was out doing the same thing. I was proud of my country, like it was actually my country. Because it is…Italy is my home. And last night, it sure felt like it.
So, here’s some pics from the last couple weeks in I-T-A-L-I-A.
So, stay tuned to hear about my race! Need to get some sleep, leaving for the airport in the morning