Monday, February 4, 2013

Devil on my Shoulder

I learned a lesson this year - not to run a race mardi gras weekend in PCB.  My friends always throw an amazing party filled with booze, fab food, and wonderful friends.  Well, talk about dedication, I left at one to head to Tallahassee for a half marathon on Sunday.

My sister enjoying the crawfish!
Like my sweatshirt?  Check out the Peace within website  - lots of AMAZING stuff! 

Yeah - we don't fool around when it comes to good times in Panama City Beach.

Anyway - my friend Matt and I headed over to Tallahassee on Saturday afternoon.  Checked into the hotel and went on quick run around FSU campus to stretch out our legs.  Matt is a huge fan of the Olive Garden.  So we picked up some dinner to go.  Let me tell you my feelings about the 'OG' as we call it.  It's gross.  The service stinks.  And the restaurant in general creeps me out.  BUT I did have some ok grilled salmon with broccoli.  No bread sticks for me!  

Then we just laid around and watched Law and Order SVU (is it just me - or is that ALWAYS on?)
And I spent some quality time with my NormaTec Recovery Boots

We woke up the next morning - and I had a fantastic breakfast (ok - one of my normal go to breakfasts) of full fat plain Greek yogurt with frozen blueberries.  I have found that fills me up and keeps my tummy happy before tough workout days.  Oh yeah - and some coffee.  

We headed down to the FSU circus (yes, they have an awesome circus program at FSU).  The weather was perfect - 49 and just a tad of humidity.  I typically stick with the 20 degree rule.  When dressing for a run - I take the temp and add 20 degrees.  Even though the start was chilly, I knew I would heat up by mile two.  So I elected for shorts and a racing singlet.  

Back to the race - this was just a random race that I signed up for last minute.  My coach wants me to race as much as possible in order to improve my running (both physical and metal).  We had a plan of 5, 5 and 5.  The first Five miles at an 8:10 pace, the 2nd five at an 8 min pace and then the last 5K to give it my all.  I was spot on for the first 9 (if not a little faster) then the mental battles begin.
The last four miles I dropped to about an 8:20 pace and ended up with a 1:47.  My goal was to break 1:45, but I'm happy with my time (saying that I took two weeks off in December getting drunk and married!) But deep down, I know it was the mental struggle that held me back.  

This is something that I have been struggling with for awhile.  I mentally break down the last part of a race.  I know I can do it, but I talk myself out of it.  The little devil on my shoulder is saying 'You are almost there - just back off and enjoy the ride'.  When I want it to say 'MAKE THIS RACE YOUR BITCH AND RUN LIKE A MOTHER F*CKER!'  

So I'm hoping that I'll be able to kick that pussy off of my shoulder and bring out the competitive bitch (which I know I have) out in full force.  My coach gave me a book called Magical Running: A Unique Path to Running Fulfillment (seriously, It's called that) which is filled with fantastic info.  I'm excited to apply the message this book gives to my running!  

Oh yeah - and Matt KILLED IT with 1:20!  

So - do you deal with mental struggles at the end of a race?  If so, how do you overcome them?  What pointers can you share?


Alison said...

My favourite breakfast is full fat greek yogurt with hemp protein powder and blueberries!

I love the 20 degree rule - I'm going to try that! However, my next race is a half marathon in Maui, so I don't think it will help me there :)

Tara Martine said...

Congrats on a great early season race! A lot of times when the going gets tough in a race I think about all the hard training I did leading up to it and how many times I've felt like that before and got through it. Sometimes I sing my favorite songs in my head to "distract" myself :)

Chris said...

Great race, congrats!

I always go back to this article when I get juiced up about racing. Maybe not the "mental toughness" that you're looking for, but when I think about the points in this article during a race I feel like I know something my competitors don't, that I have an advantage, and that helps me keep pushing until the end.

Unknown said...

Okay, first about the OG (which is what we call it too). I swear that any time I have gone in there, it smells like piss. Tom and I decided it must be the cleaning solution that they use. It's nasty. I only like the mints that they give you with your bill and that's saying a lot since I'm addicted to Italian food. :)

Great job with the race. I struggle with those demons too. It's like my body just gives up on the last few miles. Doesn't matter the distance... if it's a 10k, I'm good through 5. If it's a half marathon, I'm good through 11, if it's a full marathon... oh hell, most of that sucks! :)

Kristin Deaton said...

I'm super impressed with your running. I'm with you and colleen the last couple of miles are sucky and incredibly difficult. Glad you can shake those demons off!!


Unknown said...

It's not the end of races I have trouble with, it's the middle sometimes. I ran a 1/2 mary last year and had a mini-meltdown at Mile 8 when I couldn't get my gel packet opened. Seriously! I guess I was near a bonk, because as soon as the sugar kicked in I was fine. But that was in the days of running on sugar - can't wait to see what running on fat will do for my mental state. I finished in 2:10 - looking forward to running sub-2:00 this year.

Unknown said...

Nice running out there girl! The half is always a tough distance... Sometimes it helps me when I've starting to get "too much in my head" to just focus on my form and breathing... You'll get that 1:45!!

Anne-Marie said...

Congrats again on the race! Hooray for seeing NSNG in action :)

I think we all struggle with that devil in the last few miles of a race, no matter the distance. I always end up marginalizing my goals and thinking, "well, I wanted to run X time, but X + 1 min is still pretty good, so I can back off now." One of the things I try to do when I'm reaching that point is a quick checklist- Am I injured? Am I cramping? Am I gasping for breath? If all of the above are no, then it's a matter of telling myself the race won't last forever and I can suck it up for a few more minutes/miles etc. I think in my case, it's usually more mental than physical.

Alisa said...

Running is SOOOOO mental for me. I have learned that I cannot look at my watch in longer races until at least mile 3-4. Otherwise I freak out and stare at it the whole time. I get tripped up by pace, too slow, too fast, ugh.

I think for me it's about learning to shut off the devil on the shoulder and turn on the positive mojo on the other shoulder and just run.