Thursday, May 19, 2011

Negative Thought Creep

Looking back to Sunday, I realized there were certain things that occurred before or during the race that allowed negative thoughts to creep into my head.

- I had a friend (we'll call her Jill) who was very nervous about the race and going for a very ambitious time. She was very interested in what my race plan was and although I am not certain she meant to be a little competitive with me, I couldn't help but feel a weirdness about it. I wanted to run my own race and if she spanked me and ran her planned time, good for her! If we were going for similar goals then we could have worked together. I guess instead of just letting the weirdness sit there I should have have addressed it and made it clear that I was planning to run my own race and wasn't going there to "beat" anyone and that I fully supported her running her best race too. Instead, I was subconsciously worried that there would be some weirdness at the race, either on the starting line or when one of us passed the other. As much as I told myself not to worry about her, I don't think I dealt with those feelings enough and cleared my head of them before the race. (Jill, if you're reading this I truly wish you all the best and that you reach those stars you're shooting for! This is just a description of the weird stuff in my head!!) Additionally, I think I generally need to deal with my own competitive feelings, especially as they pertain to friends. (Seriously, do men generally have these same issues when competing with their friends?)

- The weather was a big bummer. It was dark and foggy, muggy and weird. I did not like it. I felt stifled when the slight wind was at my back and then a little chilly when it wasn't. I was sweating buckets, but slightly cold at times too. I let it bug me out: am I sweating too much? Should I drink more than I planned? Is this why I'm sucking? Should I have worn this shirt? Seriously. SHUT UP about the weather, self! It's no excuse not to race my best in terms of effort and focus. I think I also need to make a plan about things like when to drink, what to wear down to the placement of body glide a day or two before the race, memorize it and close the book on it. No second-guessing. It'll drive me insane!!!

- My splits were off from the start. The first mile was uphill. It should have been slow, but when I saw 6:45 I already started the "you suck" garbage. I quickly brushed off those negative thoughts and replaced them with some positivity, but as the race went on and the splits continued to be slow the "you suck" stuff just snowballed and got harder and harder to clear out of my head. All this despite knowing full well that mile markers can be off, etc. I need to not care about the splits and just freaking race.

- I got passed by a lot of women all around the same time. First it was one woman, and then two more came quickly after that and then one more before I caught E. By then I just felt so defeated. Of course, even with stopping I ended up finishing less than 45 seconds behind two of them. I close well and could have caught them, I know it. I should never have let them get to me. I should have been patient with myself and again, run my own darn race.

- Other things I found distracting: heavy breathers running by me, the bicycle escorts for a hand-cyclist who was racing slightly behind me for a while (who was awesome! The bicycle escorts were a little all over the road and obnoxious to me, but in all honesty not sure they could have done anything differently to not be obnoxious to my grumpy self at that point!), my shoe didn't feel laced tight enough, that my gps wasn't on and I couldn't check my pace as I'm used to in training. Whine whine whine. I need to learn how to tune out these little niggles and focus on the task at hand.

All this makes for a lot of noise in the ol' noggin that distracted me from getting my job done. I am and was on Sunday, fully capable of running low-6:30's for a half. Although it's easy to think that I'm just a big wuss who needs to HTFU (hi EH!), the only way I am going to race better is to figure out why I have a propensity to think the things I think that cause me to be a wuss and figure out a way to replace those thoughts with stuff that helps me be the bad-ass mofo tough chick I know I can be. Beating myself up about my weaknesses ain't going to help. I need to accept my weaknesses and learn through hard work the skills I need to address them. I want to toughen up and race my guts out every time I compete. I want to be the chute-puker in every race. Well maybe just a figurative chute-puker, but you know what I mean :)


allanjel said...

OH LGP, you would so give "honest Abe" a run for his money! I asked Adam if guys care more about a PR or winning -- "they care more about winning" was his response, even if it's their worst race EVER.

Maybe re-read some of your race reports where you killed it and get P-U-M-P-E-D before the race, have your singular phrases ready, think about the voice in your head as somebody just ahead of you and run that b*tch down!!!

allanjel said...

PS - my word to autheticate this last comment was "sperm." Thought I should tell you to watch out for MRP!! HAHAHAHA!

JenC said...

When I was training for Ironman, my coach sent out a list of 10 skills, both mental and physical and you were supposed to rate the 10 in order of what your best was to what your worst was. I had Matt do it with regards to me as well. He placed my mental strength as one of my worst skills. At first I was offended, but then realized he was right. By the time Ironman came around, he said it had climbed to one of my best skills. Without it, I don't think I would have made it to the finish line. Good luck with your battles with yourself! I believe in you buddy and am very proud of you!!

ramblings of a runnner said...

jen - can you share your secret of how you turned it around? and why haven't you shared before? i think we all struggle with these same thoughts.