As the temps increased and the goal paces decreased I simultaneously put more and more pressure on myself to nail my workouts. I was training with E for our track workouts and as she gained her strength back and had an easier time on the track, I had a harder time. When she pushed the pace, I felt like there was something wrong with me that I couldn't keep up and I would get frustrated and berate myself or give up. I did this even when I was actually meeting or even sometimes exceeding the goal paces, just because it felt like I was sucking when I couldn't keep up. Craziness!
It's easy in group track workouts to feel the need to a) keep up with everyone else and b) give in to the temptation to race a little. I wasn't doing this for the first few weeks, but before I knew it there I was doing everything I knew I shouldn't. I have a tendency to internalize everything and make mountains out of molehills and despite my best efforts I got sucked down that rabbit hole once again.
But, the Johnnycake race was a wake up call. It was a gift in disguise. I realize that running was not fun for a few weeks there and instead of focusing on nailing workouts and keeping up with E or anyone else for that matter, my goal right now is to put the fun back in the run. It seems counter-intuitive, but my problem is not a lack of hard work or passion. I have all the physical tools and most of the mental tools I need to race well and set big prs. What I'm missing is the lightness and joy that allows me to run free. When I put pressure on myself and high expectations it's like running under a heavy dark cloud that holds me back. So expectations are out the window. Goal times are just aspirational. I am going to focus on fun and joy and freedom and the escape that running provides me.