Fresh Running Motivation

Since dropping out of the race this past weekend, I’ve done some serious soul-searching on my commitment to this whole “running thing.” From a woman in her mid-50’s that went from a high school athlete, to an adult couch-potato, to starting to run in her 50’s (early 50’s…LOL), I know this is something I really want to do (though I actually love walking more…LOL). I enjoy it. I have to get the negative thoughts out of my head and realize that being in the back of the pack is OK as long as I can make the cut-off. In fact, I’m considering signing up again for a race I ran last year. (Keep in mind that I use the term “run” loosely, it’s more of the run/walk method). It was another race I almost talked myself out of. It was crazy cold and I had never run outside in the cold before, nor did I train properly. I did end up coming in fourth from last, but I didn’t quit!!!

I will tell you that there is nothing like paying for a race and NOT finishing that makes you think. It’s only been a week, but I’ve kept up with my running plan. I’ve not fallen victim to my usual various excuses. I find myself actually wanting to get out there and run. I know, however, it’s like anything else – I have to keep at it because I know an excuse one night, will turn into excuses night after night, until I’m right back where I was – faced with a race and feeling woefully unprepared. No worries – chin up. I’m going to do this. Stay tuned!


Dropped Out of the Race

It’s embarrassing to admit it. I did the unthinkable today, the absolute unimaginable – a first for me anyway. I dropped out of a race today. I don’t think anyone can beat me up as bad as I did myself on the drive home, however, I think I’m slowly recovering.

I don’t know what it was about this race. I had previously blogged about waking up in a panic. This was THE ONE.  It was billed as a PR setter – a fast downhill course, but as it got closer to race day, it seemed like the description kept changing (though I’m sure it was my imagination). It went from a seriously, fast downhill course – to a fast downhill course with a flat stretch – to a mostly downhill course – back to a seriously downhill course with a “little” uphill near the end. Well which was it?

All week, I kept telling myself to just drop out or run the 5K. I didn’t. I went to package pick-up and while I was in the area, I went to take a peak at the starting line location and thought – that doesn’t seem like much of a hill…just drop out. I didn’t.

I had set up a fairly constant routine of running most nights, even if it was only a mile or two. The day the panic set in, was the last day I ran, basically I didn’t run for the entire week before the race. Not only that, I resorted back to late night stress eating. I know I was setting myself up for failure.

Last night, however, I was super-organized. I had everything laid out, including a change of clothes so that I could change and stop on the way home. That was probably the only good thing I did, because I made a ridiculous dinner. Fish and shrimp tacos (without the burrito, otherwise known as cabbage with fish and shrimp that were heavily sprinkled with chipotle seasoning). Well now THAT was a tummy burner, so I drank two bottles of water before going to bed. Who DOES that?

Finally, it was bed time. Sleep? After a tummy burner dinner and two bottles of water after 10 p.m.? Not a chance, I had to get up at 5, in order to dress, leave the house by 5:45 and be at the race site before they started closing off streets. I made good time, but between the lack of sleep and the tummy burner chipotle – my stomach was a vast knot of pain. I won’t even get into the port-o-potty discussion.

Since I was there early, I got to wonder around and talked to a few people, all the while eyeing what appeared to be a much steeper downhill then at first glance. If I didn’t believe it was possible to psych one’s self out of a race, I’m a firm believer now. One side of my brain was telling me to leave, the other said – don’t do that, think positive thoughts…positive thoughts.

Lining up for the race, I kept planning for an exit at any second, just take off the bib and casually get lost in the crowd, but it was time to go. I was in the middle of the pack and as we started out, but wave after wave passed me and my IPod would not play. I guess it had something to do with the earphones.

The problem with a seriously downhill race, when you’re not used to it, is the pace. It felt impossible to slow down and I felt the jar of almost every step as I flew downhill, as others flew by me. I tried to put on the brakes and stop, but it was impossible. It felt like the momentum alone, kept me hurtling down the street. I reached the one mile marker in 9 minutes. I don’t run a 9 minute mile. My best average is a 12 minute mile, I remember the congratulatory voice in my earphones when my app announced it was my fastest workout. Since the last half marathon, I have usually hovered between a happy 13 and a “I’m quite comfortable walking 15”. The fact that I hit the mile at 9 minutes, was crazy.

I went almost another mile, not really tired, but stomach on fire, before I pulled over. The funny thing about it, is that I don’t know why I did it. I just couldn’t finish. I sat on a bench for about 5 minutes and started back up the hill. It would have been quite funny had I been in a better mood, but it took me 30 minutes to go the almost 2 miles back up that ridiculously steep mountain of a hill.I kept saying to myself that I should have kept going.

I’ve come such a long, long way, for someone who could barely…just barely run a tenth of a mile a couple of years ago. This felt devastatingly like a huge failure. Why did I leave? I’ve finished a half marathon and I couldn’t finish a 10K? A downhill 10K at that!!! To make matters worse, I couldn’t navigate out of the town. My plan was to come home, crawl in bed and forget about it. Instead I came home and started searching for new races and pulled my training plan back out. With this defeat comes a renewed purpose to get it together and get back at it!

Woke Up in a Panic

Not sure why, but I woke up in such a panic last night. I’m not sure why, it wasn’t a race day. In fact, I have a whole week before I actually run my first race since February. Last night I was poking around the website trying to find out some information on package pick-up or pacing. I’ve been running, more than I have in the past, in fact, but for some reason I’m feeling unprepared for next weekend’s race. I finally found the pacing requirements that said it’s a 15 minute mile pace for the 10K. What’s interesting is that the race starts at 9:00 and the bag claim closes at 10:30, basically you have zero wiggle room. I know I can do it, but I don’t know why this has set me in a panic, perhaps that despite the fact that I run every day…this 10K will be my longest distance since the half marathon back in February.

Fortunately I’ve calmed down since this morning. I read somewhere that even elite runners sometimes panic before a race. I’m not sure it that’s true, but it certainly makes me feel better.