The Long Run: Losing the Mental Battle

It had been a few weeks since I did any distance running. Two weeks ago we did a trail,race, the following week I took off me here I was, about to jump into a 9 mile run. Everything was in place for this run to be a good one. My eating was back on track, I was well rested. I even did some decent hill runs a few days before. Our plan was to meet at 10am at the front of the Art Museum. That was a reasonable time to start running. I whipped up a nice green drink ( kale, cucumber, carrot,apple and the stalks of a bunch of golden beets ) and had everything packed and ready to go. In my head I was nervous but I could use that nervousness as fuel. It’s natural to worry about how you will perform on a run, especially a long one. I started to get my head into a bit of a zen mode. I was about to practice my breathing techniques,too.

It is my job to protect the innocent, and the not-so-innocent, so let’s just say that something set me off. Something had infuriated me and now I was pissed! It was also time for me to leave. I had people waiting for me so I didn’t have time to cool down. I rode my bike to the start of the trail to save time going to and from our path. I locked up my bike and realized I left my keys at home. Yes, the same keys that I need to unlock my bike. That problem was solved by a quick phone call home to my wife. She would drop,the keys off for me after my run. Meanwhile, Katrina and her friend were waiting for me. So now, here I am, flustered, pissed off, and now late with a nine mile run ahead of me.

If there was anything good going on this morning it was that it was cloudy and still a bit cool. It was supposed to be a scorcher that day but not until after our run. We started off along West River Drive at a reasonably comfortable pace. I was feeling that I could do this pace for a few miles but was worried as to how I’d fare later in the game. There must have been a sponsored walk that day as there were a lot of people walking, most with matching shirts. And there were plenty of them walking in the wrong direction and there were plenty of kids randomly stopping in front of us and darting put in front of us. This side of the River trail is usually empty.

At about 2.5 miles in the crowd had vanished. We now had the entire road to ourselves and the occasional couple or rouge runners and bike riders.

“You’re awfully quiet today”

said Katrina

“yeah….. I know”

Was all I could muster up.

I was still stewing and I could not shake it. The more I tried to shake it the more aggravated I became. Around 3 miles in Katrina and Carey were ahead of me. I could still see them and if I wanted to I could yell and they’d hear me. I put my headphones on and turned to music. THAT should help my mood. The only song that did help a bit was “Lose Yourself” by EMINEM. I was starting to feel the song and it’s lyrics and even played it twice. My negative feelings came back again.

I started to get down on myself next. Why haven’t I lost more weight? Why do we always have ice cream and pretzels in our house? Why? Why? Why? I started to beat myself up all over. Why was pace slower than it was last ear at this time. This is true. Why is it so? Why am I having problems fitting into the jeans that I was slimming into last year at this time? What kind of backwards progress had I let happen to myself? The devil was on my shoulder telling me I was a failure.

The halfway mark on our run is the Falls Bridge where you cross over to Kelly Drive and the famous Boathouse Row. Katrina and. Carey were at the bridge waiting for me. They asked me how did I feel.

Terrible!

They both assured me that I was doing well and that I was not that far behind them. We ran together for a part of the course and eventually they got ahead of me.

I kept checking my Garmin to see how much was left. My blogger friend Nora once told me to run the mile you are in. This has helped me recently but all logic was out the window today. I was now between 5 & 6 miles in and my frustrations took a turn. I was now frustrated that I was frustrated! I was getting annoyed with myself for not being able to shake it. I found a opportunity to take a picture of a beautiful fall road on Kelly Drive. I posted to Facebook immediately and stayed that I was losing the mental battle. I never bothered to check the post while I was running but a lot of my friends were sending me some great positive advice.

Adding to my frustration was my pace. Was I really running a 12:35? I haven’t been that slow since I started and that was 50 lbs. ago. Somewhere around mile 6 plus I saw Katrina and Carey. They were at one of the water fountains that I was going to hit up.

I feel like I’m losing you so we are running these last 2 miles together

Katrina assured me in a very friendly and meaningful manor. THIS is what a good running partner does. That made me smile a bit and I was starting to feel better. The three of us ran together for about a mile and then they got ahead of me. It didn’t matter because we were almost finished. I felt strong physically on this run so I turned to some industrial metal. There’s a song by Ministry called, “Breathe” . It is very hard and heavy and one of the lyrics is “Breathe, you f^#ker!!!!!”

I must admit, it helped. Maybe that’s what I should had done back at mile 4, put on some angry music to fuel the fire. I also pictures my friend,Saj while listening to this. I can’t explain why, just that he’s that type of friend that makes me laugh and would be there yelling that in my ear if he knew it would help. I made a post to FB that I was listening to that to help me get through the last mile. Saj was first to reply I a way that I knew he would.This course we took ends on an uphill. I decided I had to take the hill and own it, so I did. Funny how we can run fast when we know we are almost finished. If or to the top of the hill, to the front of the Art Museum steps and stopped my watch, stopped my running and stopped my attitude. The girls were helpful I saying. That I didn’t do as bad as I thought and at least I did it and that it was now over.

This happened during training ,NOT a race. I have to,keg telling myself this. Next week I will go out there and own that course! And I will bring a mix of both happy, sad and angry music. You never know what the occasion will call for!

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One response to “The Long Run: Losing the Mental Battle

  1. Pingback: This Week’s Reasons Why Life Good | just a spoonful of burpees·

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