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Annoying Stomach Feeling Before My First Marathon

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by GTfan, Apr 27, 2023.

  1. GTfan

    GTfan Well known member

    Hello Friends,

    I am back once again to complaint to you about my problems lol. Recently I have had this TMS symptom that comes up from time to time. It started last year when I went on a vacation to Mexico, and I chalked it up to some kind of repressed feelings I had about going on the trip.

    Every since then, it has come up on another vacation trip to Santa Barbara, and other random times as well. In my conscious mind, I usually can see it coming from a mile away. The pattern is very similar to what I felt in the past with generalized anxiety and panic attacks. Based on my past experiences, the thought pops in my head, "Man, it would suck if I had that uneasy stomach feeling right about now", and then my anxiety about it basically creates the uneasy stomach feeling.

    I won't go into details about the issue itself, since its basically just my brain's latest TMS distraction. The nerves in my stomach just seem to get very sensitized and I get an uncomfortable feeling in my gut and I seem to become over focused on my stomach and feel everything like digesting food and what not.

    Claire Weeks writes about the "churning stomach" in her book, "Hope and Help For Your Nerves", and I think that is the best description of what happens to me. Basically a form of anxiety that just manifests itself in the stomach. Weeks says to "Face, Accept, Float, and Let Time Pass" in order to move past the uncomfortableness. So most of the time, I just read from her book to remind myself and eventually the symptoms go away. But I wanted to vent a little bit on here, and see if anyone had any experience with something similar.

    At this point, I think its pretty obvious what I'm anxious about. I'm running my first marathon on Saturday. I've been training relentlessly for months, have a race strategy picked out, and I'm hoping to run the marathon in under 4 hours (not an easy task). I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself to meet my goal (perfectionist), and I'm afraid that I won't be able to do it (and will probably beat myself up if I don't).

    In the conscious mind now, I am thinking, "Damn if my stomach gets all out of sorts then I am going to have a hard time completing this challenge while also getting adequate calories before and during the race in order to have proper energy". But I would guess in my subconscious, my ID is angry at my conscious mind for putting this amount of stress and pressure on it to do something very physically hard and taxing on the body (and mind).

    Hey I guess it could be worse. My TMS could be manifesting in a physical injury, right?! (I'm waiting for a spontaneous injury to pop up now that I'm typing this haha)
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hey there @GTfan - this is a useful rant! I think a lot of people can relate - I certainly can.

    As someone with anxiety, it didn't take me long, when I first did this work back in 2011/2012, to acknowledge and accept that I would likely be dealing with TMS symptoms for the rest of my life. It was thanks to the personal knowledge I gained in the SEP and listening to Alan Gordon that I realized I'd probably been born with anxiety, which means I had 60 years of practice at managing TMS symptoms before I discovered Dr Sarno and TMS theory and also my second hero, Claire Weekes.

    Knowing there was no 100% "cure" did not bother me, because knowledge is power, and the skills are there for the taking. I'm in many times better physical and mental health at 72 than I was at 60 - and it's all down to understanding that I can mindfully acknowledge that my sources of rage still exist (my biggest one is aging, the second biggest is existential helplessness over world dysfunction) while also accepting these two facts:
    that it's totally legitimate to have this rage about issues over which I have no control - AND that it's completely unnecessary to allow my nervous system to respond with fear and repression - or with symptoms.

    So here's my tip, which is to talk back to your fear-and-survival-motivated brain.

    You have to remember that the primitive TMS mechanism senses any fear and trepidation that you might have, but it is SO primitive that it literally does not know how to interpret this as something other than imminent physical danger - like a sabre-tooth tiger waiting to eat you. It was designed for a very different world, and it has never had a chance to catch up. For most of us who are fortunate enough to be participating on this forum, it's a survival mechansim that is completely incompetent in today's world.

    You've got to convince your brain to calm down. The message is: Thank you, brain, for trying to protect me, but I'm actually totally safe - there are no physical dangers anywhere near me, I'm just a little bit stressed out. These symptoms you're trying to give me are really NOT NECESSARY."

    I literally do this by talking out loud - which is easy because I live alone, and the cat couldn't care less, and it's a good exercise to force myself to do something that feels silly and vulnerable. I have also been known to express it during expressive writing. If I was unable to say it out loud due to circumstances I could grab a piece of note paper in the moment and write it out.

    I also combine this with some therapeutic deep breathing. Both of these things can be done anytime, anywhere, in only a minute. I find this to be particularly effective for the many variations of "stomach-churning" symptoms, and I find that I don't even notice when the symptoms disappear - I only realize it later. Then I make sure to express gratitude - to the TMS knowledge provided by so many others, and to myself for doing the work. Remembering this gratitude again during a daily writing practice is a great way to keep skills like this at the forefront of our consciousness so that they become more automatic.

    It's like magic. Good luck!

    GTfan and rudybarron like this.
  3. GTfan

    GTfan Well known member

    Yep, when we are constantly focusing on our symptoms they don't seem to go away. Only when we accept them and "float" through our life do they subside since they aren't distracting us anymore.

    I'm trying to stay positive and visualize my race finish and the feeling I will have having completed this challenge. Because that's what it's all about. The worst possible scenario is I don't reach my goal and so what? It's my first marathon and I can always go out and do it again.

    I'm going to try some deep breathing, visualization, and talking to my brain like you suggested. Maybe if I pretend on race day that I'm actually running from a sabre tooth tiger than it will help my time!!! Lol
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

  5. GTfan

    GTfan Well known member

    Well I fell just short of my 4 hour goal, but I survived! Overall, I'm a little disappointed that I didn't meet my goal, but realistically I know it was my first marathon and it was great experience for my next one! Looking back only 3 years ago, the longest run I have ever had was 3 miles, crazy to think I would ever run 26.2! HA

    Still dealing with the annoying stomach churning lingering around. I have a lot going on the next two weeks. I have some friends coming into town that I will be entertaining for the Kentucky Derby and then me and the girlfriend are taking a week vacation to Mexico. On day 2 of marathon recovery, my body and energy levels are still not quite 100 percent. Consciously, I'm still worried about the stomach thing becoming a nuisance while I'm supposed to be having a fun week and a half of vacation.

    I'm working on my 10 minutes of meditation every morning (trying to be more present and aware of consciousness), while also taking 2 minute breaks throughout the day to do some quick deep breathing exercises (while being present), I've also been taking more ashwaganda to help with the anxiety. I may do a quick read through of more Claire Weeke's book on the "Face, Accept, Float, Let Time Pass" method. I know that I can only accept what happens in my body and not fear it. The problem is always putting that mindset into practice! HA
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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