It is done. Today, I officially finished my first 10 k in 6 years! I think that the feeling of pride will set in if I am not so damn tired anymore.
I finished around 1:10 and when I did that, I was furious. That’s how the mind up there works, I finished my first longer race in years (without the proper training because I am, in fact, a superheroine, duh) and all I could think about was my finishing time.
Years and years of my father saying: Don’t look at the watch, train for longer distances first and not for shorter times etc. were useless. I was angry at myself for losing my spirit between km 4,5 and 7, where we just ran through the field without any protection from the sun, I was angry for my head slowing me down. Whining because my right calf cramped as well a tiny spot in my costal arch that hurt like hell.
I needed to go to the bathroom right before the race began, even though I went a few moments before that (thanks, womanhood and periods) and couldn’t and I should focus on that feeling for the next 8 km. Anyone ever experienced that? Any tips? I was too proud to go into the fields around me, so I tried to ignore it. But that wasn’t everything.
Before the race began, I saw a girl I went to high school with. She would be one of the cool ones (or the one of those who thought of themselves as cool). She would be the one that wouldn’t greet you, even if she knows that you are somehow acquaintances. Instead – we now both go to Uni in our town – she gives you odd looks from the side and you feel like she’s talking about you to her friends. She passed by me around km 4, when my body started to signal that 6 min/km was too fast of a pace for me without proper training and that I shouldn’t have started so eagerly. (Laughing about the idiots that run off too fast in the beginning, then doing it yourself. Genius.)
And that angered me so much! I needed to channel my inner Yogi (who doesn’t respond to my calling most times) and say to myself that it doesn’t fucking matter. She isn’t there to win against you, she’s probably 10 times more active than you are anyways and she passed by you and will have a better time. SO what? At the end of the day, she and I will both have ran the same distance and that’s it.
Positive thinking like that isn’t my forte, but I am trying very hard. Also, my dad helped a lot <3. He always said, don’t run too fast because you want to push through, walk a bit and if the pain goes away, slowly take up the pace again. Don’t hurt yourself seriously because you want to prove something. You need more training if you want to be better, but you cannot have that if you hurt yourself now.
So, for next time (probaly in a few weeks, if I will be able to walk again tomorrow), I want to try some strategies:
- Compare yourself to the best version of yourself you can imagine. Never to anyone else. Do you want to be faster, calmer, more focused or run greater distances without having to stop? Work on exactly that and not on how to be more like/better than XYZ…
- Putting things into perspective. You may think this is silly, but for me, it kind of works. Serious pain and injuries happen, but most times, your calf hurts a bit, your legs are sore, you feel your knee caps with every step. Nothing to really worry about, but it feels like you’re dying in this situation. I like to think about people having real problems and not being able to do sports in such an environment altogether. If you think about that this isn’t the worst situation to be in and that you are choosing it freely because you can, it gets easier.
- She’s an inspiration. Runners are a strange but wonderful community. Old runs next to young, your weight doesn’t really matter (some are very skinny, others don’t look like athletes but are twice as fast as me). I saw a woman, I think she started with the walkers, not the runners. She was clearly overweight. Not in the sense of “doesn’t appeal to the beauty standards, she should lose weight” (Note the sarcasm..), but in a way that a doctor would be highly concerned. And even though she had all this extra weight which makes running really hard, she pushed through. She looked like she had some pain, but I met her around km 9 and she was still doing it after an hour or so. And here I was, complaining that my calf was killing me. Maybe you see a mom with a stroller (one dad ran with his triplets in a stroller, I mean, c’mon, that’s hard), an older person, a child or someone who struggles but still pushes through. It can help you to regain your spirit!
So, maybe this was a great experience because it wasn’t. I am highly motivated, after I slept for 36 hrs, please, to go on, train more and also incorporate weight training and biking into my workouts as well. I am starting to see changes in my body, which is a huge factor for me, but I will write another post on that shortly.
Are you planning on doing a race in the near future? What are your strategies when your spirit is low?