This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'm Only Half Kidding

Over the years, I have battled the mental beat down I put on myself when it comes to my running performance. I'm afraid to push myself too hard and I also tend to find fear at some point in a race and take any push I have and 'lighten' that edge. Meaning, to me, I wimp out.

I can succeed in my training and then I choke during the goal that I've trained for.

Recently, however, I have pushed myself really beyond my comfort zone. Under Coach B, I have definitely gotten to that level of not only getting faster, but pushing myself a little harder even during races. It's not perfect -- I still have doubts while I race and think about throwing in the towel and giving up, but so far, so good.

But beyond my improvements, I have come to terms with the fact that I'm not really enjoying the 'pushing too hard to be fast' point. Perhaps my instinct all along has been to run fast but not THAT fast.

And everyone around me seems to think I'm joking. I'm really not.

I mean: I am happy to be faster but to push so hard that my legs tingle, my breathing is SO hard, and I feel like I'm going to collapse because I can't keep up with my feet? I don't like it.

This probably really started with the first Chase Run. This run reminded me of my Second Empire race, several years ago, where I ran sooo fast that I couldn't slow down. I think my first mile was sub 8 and I remember thinking: holy shit! I don't run that fast!! And I was scared to slow down because I would just stop and walk the whole thing. So I kept going (how, I'll never know) and ended up having a PR to last for several years.

But I ran three of the four summer chase runs and I enjoyed one: the first one because I wasn't prepared for what it would feel like. Once I knew that pain, I didn't want to go through it again. And I did it twice more and both times hurt as bad as the first.

My track runs have been harsh too. I pulled through last week's 800s, which was a magnificent feat...and today's 400s...but let me say, that pain is too much to enjoy.

I don't know how elite athletes handle it. I'd like to think that they programmed themselves early on vs. me and my late-in-life running persona development.

I'd like to think that the summer weather has beat me down and that when the weather cools down, this confident, bubbly runner will emerge and I'll be like BRING IT ON!

But currently, and for the last several months, running fast has not been for me.

I have the Magnificent Mile this Sunday. Run my fastest mile. Running quarters this morning made we wonder what the hell I was going to do for a fricking whole mile! For god's sakes, I've run 13.1 miles!!! And I'm worried about one? One that may take me anywhere from 7 to 9 minutes to run! ;)

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