One of the ways I've noticed I've become more of a runner is that long runs don't freak me out the way they did two years ago or even a year ago. I remember fastidiously planning out my meals for the two days prior to a long run, fearful that eating the wrong thing would send my stomach into a tizzy during my run. Now, I watch what I eat, of course, but I don't stress the same way. (Ironically, I think worrying might have caused some of those stomach woes.)
Nowadays I'm only really fastidiously planning for a 10-mile-or-longer run (like tomorrow). I used to toss and turn the night before six, seven, even eight-mile runs, worried about how it would go. Now, I'm in bed worrying about other things (job security, the state of journalism, blah blah blah). Running is such a relief these days - I can just get out there for a couple hours and focus on my body and training and forget about the state of my career. Some people use those long runs to work kinds of things out in their mind - and I used to - but now it's a welcome relief from the cloud I feel I'm constantly in these days.
I'm trying to look on the bright side despite my fretting - I've got good things looming on my calendar. My brother arrives for a visit in three weeks, and he's running the Shamrock 8K the day before my half marathon. I can't wait to see him. The week after that, my boyfriend and I are going to New York City to visit a friend of mine from college. We just decided to take an extra day for the trip and spend a night at a hotel. I got a great deal on a Hilton hotel near the World Trade Center site. So we'll have an extra day to ourselves to wander around the city. I can't wait.