Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 5th: The Day After

Note to anyone who might read this:   I am not a good writer.  Although I do not have ADD or ADHD, I write like I do – kinda all over the place.  So if you start reading and I jump from place to place, forgive me and bear with me.   Hey – a squirrel !  (if Karen reads this, she will get it.)

Yesterday morning, I ran the 4 on the 4th race.  I had great expectations.  I ended up disappointed.    I ran with my two Super Hero friends who I must give praise to and say THEY DID AWESOME!   I am so proud of them.

This post is for me to vent my frustrations.  My thought process is that if I vent, I can move past what is weighing on me.  Ok – I heard that from a shrink so it is not my original idea.  So let me start with some background info. 

During the work week, I run in the afternoons (the majority being hot afternoons) with a really good running partner.  She and I push and support each other and we have really good runs which on any given day during the week are anywhere from three miles to six miles.  It was from these afternoon runs that I was encouraged that I would perform well in the 4 mile run on July 4th.

I have a competitive nature - have had it since high school over 20 years ago. 
I played high school and college softball and I hated losing, I hated not getting a great hit or home run in a game,  I hated not doing my best.   Being an excellent softball player means practice, practice, practice.  To quote the Coach from the movie Bull Durham, This... is a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball.”   I apply this to running as well, it is simple – You run.

My husband has been running for many years and the boy is fast.  I have been running for about two years and I am not fast.  I want to be fast like him.  I want to have endurance like him.  I want to finish before him just once, not because he let me but because I earned it. 

Here I am the day after the race still sulking. I am not happy with my performance in the 4 mile race. I could sit here and make up excuse after excuse for my performance (actually, lack of performance) – didn’t sleep enough, didn’t eat properly the day before, my foot was hurting, blah, blah, blah… But at the end of the day, I have no excuse other than I sucked.  That is one thing I learned from my softball coaches – if you didn’t perform to your full potential, it is no one’s fault but your own.  So what does this mean?  It means I need to work harder. I need to train better.  I need to let go of this disappointment and look forward to the next race and perform.  I need to learn to stop listening to that voice in my head that says “you can’t do this.”  

I am registered to run the Houston Marathon in January 2012 with my Super Hero friends.  Before January, my friends and I have several half-marathons we will be running.   Training for the Houston marathon begins July 9th. I want my head and my heart in the right place once Saturday arrives.  I want the voice inside my head to shut up because I WANT to run to the best of my ability.

As disappointing as Monday’s race was I still want to get out and run today.  I am looking forward to running this week in the afternoons, in the heat, on the same course that kicked my butt on July 4th. 

I saw this quote on a beautiful picture of a runner who was running alone down a road, specifically the second sentence hits home with me:

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners.  Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”

Another quote I saw on twitter this morning from Runner’s World which smacked me in the face:

“The most powerful lesson you can learn in running? You're capable of much more than you think."

And I will end this venting blog with this quote, emphasis on the last sentence:

“You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”
Steve Prefontaine


  1. Hey Heather,

    I totally understand where you're coming from. I think it's only natural to be disappointed if you fail to perform up to your expectations, especially when you're competitive.

    Don't be so hard on yourself though. You don't suck at running. Perhaps your expectations were unrealistic at this time. Sometimes you just have a bad day too. I know for a fact that it's easy to overestimate distances run in training and when you go and calculate the pace, you might think you're running faster than you are. I didn't see any specific times in your post, but confirm your pace yourself and don't rely on your friends to do this. I also think training on that race course and making note of the specific mile markers will help you gauge things better.

    One way to get better too is to go to a 1/4 mile track and do some speed work once a week. That will help you improve. Depending on the type of training, certain distances work better. For example, use 1/4 miles for shorter distances, and 1/2, 3/4 and 1 mile repeats for longer races.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that it takes time to get race ready so you never run as well in the first several races.

    I hope this helps you. Let me know if you have any questions. Perhaps I can help find some answers for you.


  2. You did amazing in the 4 mile race!! I am very proud of you! But I understand about that little voice in your head that is always pushing you down instead of bringing you up! Ya'll are going to rock the Houston Marathon!!!!!!!

  3. Girl, you did fabulous. You have no reason to be upset with yourself or freak out. Everyone has those days - they come and go and sometimes, they just so happen to hit us on race days. You still had an awesome PR!
    Also, this was an awesome blog entry! You can TOO write well!!!! I also don't think you jumped topics too much!! lol