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?