WARNING: this has potential to be lengthy and pretty emo. TBD how much gets edited, likely indirectly proportional to the # of IPAs (NOT green) consumed during drafting.
; – ; update : two, a nap, and a burned dinner. not sure what that means for edits…
* * * * * * * * * * *
In a desperate attempt to find MIA Competitor Sarah and salvage the next 6 weeks of Eugene training, I signed up for a 5k hoping the adrenaline rush of 20+ minutes of pain and the wonderful “omg I’m going to puke and/or shit my pants” would kick my ass back into racing gear.
Unfortunately, it just kind of scared the shit out of me all week.
I went out for a 3mi tempo run, and desperately tried to ignore how hard the 7:33 average pace was to hold, what that translated to for 5k times (a personal worst by a decent margin), and how painful Sunday was going to be. Cool down was entirely spent convincing myself a race atmosphere would shave some time and also I’m not trying to make a living by running so who the fuck cares if I do PW?
(other than my ego)
But on Thursday at the track, struggling through mile repeats at a pace I could only focus on was slower than my 5k PR pace, I spiraled into a MAJOR meltdown.
I 100% admit to being a Headcase Runner, but hard workouts and sweat have always been a release and outlet for me. After a rough day at work/home/life, nothing clears my head and resets me like a chest-pounding hard run – when the release of the physical pain takes all the mental stress with it and you finish completely empty.
But slowly I’d let my own self-induced stress take that outlet away, just when I needed it most. Running was just another drop in the rapidly-filling stress bucket, and with nowhere left for the pain to come out it flooded lane 7 and Margot’s shoulder when I pulled out 400m into mile repeat three of four.
I guess nobody was lying when they said it doesn’t pay to keep everything bottled up all the time.
A bevy of non-running problems I didn’t realize were weighing so heavily on my spilled out as I word-vommitted all over Margot during our premature cool down. I felt lighter with every step, and once I composed my tragic self we moved the conversation back to where it (sort of) began :
What did I want to run this weekend?
I held true to my no-time-goal plan, mostly for fear of what a hard pass/fail would do to my fragile ego if I missed the mark. I said I wanted to find my fighter, feel the rush of the race, and cross the finish feeling like I gave it all I had on THAT day.
And truthfully, I can 100% say I did that today.
the face of hard work, goal-hitting, and probably childbirth.
The course was tough and my legs weren’t fresh, but I ran strong, didn’t give in when it got hard, and even mustered enough of a kick to pick off a few people near the end including one up the WTF IS THIS GIANT HILL AT THE FINISH??!!
50ft over .2 miles does in fact feel like a mountain at the end of a 5k
paul! nice to meet you – you’re in my picture!
channeled Track Party Sarah to pass those two ladies on the curve with 150m to go. they’re 20 years older than me but don’t bother trying to suck that wind from my sail because an 11 and 14 year old beat me. yup.
Concordia University 5k, 3.17.13 – 22:41
I’m really proud of sticking to my race plan and not getting sucked into other pressures on the course. I didn’t look at Garmin, focused on powering up the hills and running good tangents (hello 100 turns), and put targets on backs towards the end. While I don’t love posting a subpar (for me) time, there were more important tasks at hand today, and I accomplished them. My willingness to get to – and stay in – the pain place is returning, mojo is bubbling, and excitement for running/racing is building at a rapid rate.
As we drove home and I reflected on the morning (I know that sounds kind of hooky for me) I tried to pinpoint where all the pressure in running was coming from :
; * Was it internal – comparing to other people, to my past self, to what I felt I SHOULD be capable of? Am I tough on myself in a genuine trying-to-get-better way, or a bullying way?
; * Or was it external – the pressure to report success, openly putting myself and my running out for critique, feeling pressure to uphold a certain stature as a “role model”? (I realize these are all self-inflicted and could be eliminated by not sharing my life with the internet, but that’s not a solution I’m interested in entertaining right now)
I settled on all of the above, but that my main issue is that I take myself TOO FUCKING SERIOUSLY. IT’S RUNNING, SARAH! Just running! It’s not your living, it’s a hobby. You do it for fun, and it should be as such. Your friends will still like you if you don’t PR every race. Nobody’s going to look down on you if you cut a run short or admit you HATE mile repeats. The world will continue to spin if you don’t share every detail of your training with the internet.
Shocking, I know.
But if performing well at Eugene is truly important to me – and it is, believe me – I’m going to have to dive whole-heartedly back into the work of getting there. And not because someone or something is obligating me to, but because I want every ounce of glory possible crossing that finish line at Hayward Field.
And a race worth celebrating afterwards.
So really, gameface on. Let’s do these next 6 weeks.
edit: I just re-read this and realize it’s a little, “wait, what??!” scorcesee-twisted at the end. I want to get better and work harder but will be easier on myself and will calm the fuck down about the world not ending because of running. That’s it the end.
post-script : life is fine, just normal growing-up problems. no need to call in a suicide watch.
post-post-script : yes, I cut my hair again. post (possibly) forthcoming.