random thoughts, running

Anatomy of a race

6:30 – alarm, uniform, coffee, toast/peanut butter/banana, bathroom rounds one and two (and maybe three?), braid hair, apologize to boyfriend for early wake-up

7:10 – scooter through park on a cool, clear morning

7:25 – greet the stalwart Impalas who had been at the start line since 5:00am to set up, pick up bib, shed long pants and shiver in the chilly but muggy air, soak in the pre-race smiles and nervous energy

7:35 – catch up to some of the herd for a warm-up, bathroom round three (or is it four?) after a mile, squeal over the goslings waking up by the shores of Stow Lake, project tangents and focal points with my teammate Angie

8:10 – change shoes, crank out drills, try to relax, all systems seem go

8:17 – first wave of nerves, no longer relaxed

8:25 – squish into the starting corral, hold nose

8:30 – gun… cross line seconds later… don’t go out too fast, find my pack, settle in, gauge breathing and turnover – nothing sluggish but nothing exuberant either

8:3x – one mile in, Tony calling off splits as we crest a small hill, how many seconds off the gun was I so I know how many seconds to subtract from the 6:29…6:30… feeling fine, passed some people up the hill, second mile will be tough, just stay with the pack

8:3x-8:4x – hard to breathe… just stay positive… suffering doesn’t mean slow… oh god pack getting away from me… oh god legs starting to burn… did Tony just say 13:30 at the two-mile, oh no I’ve really slowed down… not going to hit sub-20 at this point, anyway, so why not slow down… lungs wheezing or am I mentally making myself cough as an excuse… pack nowhere in sight… tunnel vision thinking only of pain… all mantras forgotten and despair in their place…

8:4x-8:5x – might as well slow down… still a few people to pass… ugh now teammates who run workouts slower than me are passing me… I’m slow and weak and worthless… here’s where Angie and I talked about quick steps and just getting to the next stop sign… but there are so many stop signs…. stay in the middle… 1/2 mile to go, why does that seem so far… 1/4 mile to go fuck it push it and just get done… passed some people on the kick… ugh 21 minutes… lungs tight bent over head spins… disappointment… disappointment… why can’t I just… I should be able to run faster… what’s wrong with me… I hate short distances… I’m never running a 5k again… water… water… dammit why do I keep disappointing myself… I suck… maybe I should just give up trying to be fast and stick to long distances… why do I care so much…

9:00 – start a slow slog cool-down… want to vent but everyone else chatty and happy… don’t want to bring down the group… no one notices I’m quiet… what’s wrong with me… everyone else can push when it gets hard why can’t I…

9:15 – just me and Liz, the long cool-downers… take a chance and let it out rather than festering and ruminating alone… start to feel normal again (or at least not alone) and out of my head

9:30 – back to running with a friend through the park on a beautiful Sunday morning

10:10 – herd migration for team photo, surrounded by smiles and strength and energy

11:30 – home, mope around a bit, shower, eat, do laundry, ignore Garmin and Strava

12:30 – binge-watch tv, feel drained more mental than physical, waver between napping and figuring out what’s next and wondering why I can’t just…

3:30 – read emails about the race from the team, look at photos, realize I’ll never not be able to do this, realize from results that my training group hadn’t all done sooooo much worse than I did, perk up a bit and then wonder why I judge my own performance in relation to other performances

7:00 – finally upload data to Strava, peek at splits, realize first mile was faster than I realized (6:20) and that I had let my perceived pace affect my perceived effort, that one little demon in my brain was enough to derail my entire race, kick myself

7:30 – pizza, beer, laughing with boyfriend

8:30 – write, ponder, process, heal

2 thoughts on “Anatomy of a race”

  1. When you are awake too early in the morning don’t think only do.
    Mental processing can wait! Run in the moment lifts you up!


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