competition: me vs. me

IMG_3220i signed up for the asbury half as a training run to use as a much needed break from my pretty boring solo long training runs that i had been doing.  i’ve also run this race for the last two years and could probably run the course with my eyes closed.

i initially signed up with no intention of running for time (PR or otherwise).  but in the days leading up to the race i knew that wasn’t going to be the case.

this is the hardest part of running for me — i am the worst at pacing myself, running slow and controlled runs and i have a tendency to constantly be competing with myself.  in some respects this attribute of mine is not necessarily a bad thing, but i think it definitely becomes stressful and detrimental for me to constantly be putting this kind of pressure on myself.

so i figured i needed to come up with a realistic plan for this race.  i had been training for the past 12+ weeks so i definitely had the mileage down, but i was seriously lacking in the speed work department.  i have a hard time increasing my turnover rate and haven’t really put much effort into correcting that.  (whoops).  i wrote out the mile splits that i would need to hit a 1:42:00 1/2 marathon time, i had finished last year in 1:44:30 and hoped that (1) being healthy and (2) nearing the end of a harder, more rigid training cycle would put me in a good place to PR by 2 minutes.

i’d need to run at a 7:47 mile pace for the whole race, as i mentioned i suck at speed work and pacing myself during training runs, so i had no idea if this was really achievable, but i was going to try anyway.  because i’m a very rational and relaxed human being, i start to panic and psyche myself out in the 48 hours leading up to the race.  i worry about the weather, the direction of the wind that day, if my shoes need to be replaced, what im going to eat that morning, if my legs are going to feel like lead, etc.

before i know it, it’s race day and everything turns out fine – made up crisis averted!  so why the heck do i stress myself out so much?!

new race goal:  sign up for and run a race for FUN!  maybe in a new city or with a group of new running partners (bueller? anyone?).  

anyone game?  any races that i should check out for fun?  how do you stop competing with yourself and learn to enjoy the run?

setting intentions for a weekend of running

i signed up for the asbury park “runapalooza” half a couple months back simply to break up my long weekend marathon training runs and maybe have some fun (or at the very least, some company).  most of my long runs have been solo and thus, crazy boring.  i’ve exhausted the arsenal of rich roll podcast and serial episodes.  i know every chainsmokers song by heart and i’ve somehow put together a mental catalog of all the clothes and shoes in my closets.  this will be the third time i’m running this particular race and i think it will always be one of my favorites.  the course is flat and fast, it’s basically in my backyard and the brunch at porta afterward is reason enough to run 13 miles.

the nj marathon on may 1st will be my very first marathon and i didn’t know what to expect from training for the race.  i figured i would be so relieved to have people cheering me on that i would just want to sit back, relax and enjoy the experience of this half.  that would be the normal thing to do.  but i’m crazy and super competitive and i already know that i want to be running this race to beat my current half PR.  so i need to take a step back and really look at the bigger picture, i need to remember to have fun and not take this so seriously.

wish me luck…

12479089_247571632260321_737887417_n

after my race tomorrow i’ll be going up to boston to watch my brother’s girlfriend run the marathon on monday.  this will be my first time back in boston in almost 10 years and her first time running this particular race and i’m so excited.  i’m thrilled that she’ll get to experience the magic that is boston and so proud of her for getting there!  running excitement aside, i’m so pumped to see my brother (who will be there with her, obviously), hang out with my mom and explore the city for 48 hours.  we have a few things touristy things on the agenda that we plan on checking out:  boston common, the waterfront, newbury st. and maybe fenway.  oh and watching the race…

any suggestions for us in bean town?  food, drink, shopping, running, whatever — are greatly appreciated!

 

 

what motivates you?

i’m 14 weeks into training for my first marathon. i’m no stranger to running or competing.  i played competitive soccer for most of my life, i’ve run two half marathons and a handful of shorter races over the last two years.  devoting time and energy to training is not a foreign concept for me, and it’s not in my nature to do things half-assed.

so i was a little worried a few weeks back when my weekly mileage peaked to 48-52 miles and i just wasn’t feeling it.  life had gotten a bit chaotic, the weather on the jersey shore really sucked and i was having a hard time finding something to get excited about in the morning.  after a couple training runs that felt like i was basically forcing my legs to move through quick sand i started freaking out (because that’s the kind of calm, reasonable person i am).

why did i think i could finish a marathon?  i’m not in running shape.  who knows if my body can even handle this kind of physical stress?  what if i can’t finish and i have to DTF?  that would be so embarrassing, maybe i shouldn’t even do this.  i’ve only told a few people i’m doing this and they aren’t really even invested in it so it wouldn’t be a big deal, they aren’t even excited about it anyway.

i kept going with my training anyway, keeping that safety net in the back of my mind – i could always quit.  then i saw this video: UNBROKEN on Janae’s page (after days of stalking her previous posts).

Accept where you are and the responsibility that you’re going to take yourself where you want to go.

that one video forced me to remember what exactly it is that i’m working for (thanks Mateusz M). and reminded me that i didn’t sign up for this race to win my first damn marathon, just to finish.  to finish even if i am crawling over the finish line in front of a bunch of strangers.  and be proud as hell of myself for doing it.  i worked my ass off for the last 14 weeks to bring myself to the starting line on may 1st with 600+ miles under my belt, 15 long runs and a shit load of useless knowledge on marathon training.

my motivation from the start was to challenge myself.  prove that i could do hard things.  just try something different that i wasn’t confident i could do.  and i’m doing all that already.

so bring it on 26.2 – let’s do the damn thing.

so let’s talk about: fear

we’re often asked about what we’re afraid of… personally, i really can’t come up with anything tangible or significant when asked on the spot.  i’m  not a huge fan of sharks, i’m slightly freaked out when i drive on the nj turnpike but these aren’t fears that control me. there are a ton of things that i’m absolutely not fearful of too: i’m not afraid of needles or snakes, heights or scary movies.  i don’t care if someone doesn’t like me and i’m not afraid of anyone’s perception of me.  for some people these are totally real, valid and serious fears.  that ain’t me.

clearly, i’m fearless.

yeah right…. so digging a little bit deeper on this question.  initially, it’s hard for me to identify exactly what i am afraid of but when i really get down to it there are so many things deep down that scare the shit out of me.

fear of the unknown:  not knowing where i’m going to be months from now, what my life is going to be like, if i’m going to be happy, if my family is going to be happy and healthy

fear of failure:  never being able to get myself to a place where i’m truly proud of and happy with my life and myself.

fear of being alone: this one is different for me than i think some other people — i’m not necessarily afraid of being by myself, i’m well aware of my need for solitude at times.  but rather, i am afraid that i will never truly find my place in this world, where i feel connected to the people and things in my life.

for me these fears cause deep seeded anxiety and leave me feeling uninspired, disheartened and kind of lost.

then there are things that are more accessible on the surface:

not being able to hit sub-8:00 min miles this weekend during my 3rd half marathon to beat last year’s PR.

being a shitty friend because i have sometimes have so much going on in my head and in my life that i forget to reach out and see how my girlfriends are doing and if i can offer them any support.

 

but sometimes i can break through all the bullshit and see clearly what we all already know,  this is what fear does.  it paralyzes you.  it keeps you from moving forward and establishing any confidence in yourself.  it holds you hostage in a state of self-doubt and misery.
i’m starting to really see how much fear has held me back over the past few years.  how much anxiety, self-hatred and frustration it has caused within me.  and looking back on this – it pisses me off.  and i get this overwhelming feeling that i want to tell anyone feeling this same way to stop letting your fears take up space in your life.  follow your gut, take chances, ask for help and be brave.  do the things you believe in with your whole heart, don’t waste time half-assing anything.  and when you do, you will not fail and you will not be afraid.

and if it just so happens that you stumble a bit, you have a support here to bitch and moan to.  i’ve been known to give some pretty tough love and i’d be happy to get you back on track.

fear-is-a-liar