John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." NIV

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Maybe I'm just not a racer

Were you that kid? The one that got practically perfect scores on all of your class work and homework, but when it came to the test... you bombed? I mean, it wasn't like you didn't know or understand the material. It wasn't like you weren't prepared and didn't study. Oh, you studied... hard... maybe even harder than most. But something happened on test day. Questions seemed confusing. The mutliple choice answers seemed tricky - there were two that could work. You needed to show your work or do the problem following certain rules, not just by showing the answer. UGH.

I WASN'T one of those kids. I did well on my class work and homework and usually did extrememly well on my tests. I wasn't a straight A student.... but pretty close, at least as close as my effort (or lack there of) could have produced. Things like school work came naturally to me. (I'm not bragging but: when you get a 3.4 GPA your first semester in college when you spent 90% of your time not studying or doing work, waiting until literally the last second to begin 10 page papers, etc... then yeah... a natural).

But I starting over-analyzing thinking about the Baltimore Half... but not just the Half, other recent races... actually ALL of my races. I may be *that* kid. The one who prepares... who has the nice training runs. The one who is ready, but come race day.... totally... EPICALLY fails.

I re-read most of my race recaps... and there wasn't a single one where I was absolutely HAPPY with my time or effort. Actually about 80% of them I was down right disappointed. I had trained better. I could have performed better, but something held me back. Pain, puking, injury, illness, dry heaving, hills, fatigued, negative thoughts...

Maybe I am destined to be a great runner... just not a great racer. I mean I can be cool with that; it doesn't mean I am not going to keep trying. But I wonder why?


Old Runningfox. said...

Always, at some stage in a race, I call upon God for help - often by silently intoning the Jesus prayer. If nothing else it takes my mind off aching limbs and shifts me onto automatic pilot.
Try it. Look up, have faith - and your 'automatic pilot' will guide you through at an optimum pace relevant to how well you've trained - or maybe even beyond your expectations!

coach dion said...

I know lots of runners like you:

Yes they train really well and should be running good times, but it never happens... Now I think one of the problems is they get caught up in the momment!!! Yes it's all to much for them. Look at it this way:
lets say you have a half in 5 weeks time, so you train really hard for 3 weeks and taper that last week. Doing very thing right, right... Now if you just ran the race you would do great, but and it's a big BUT, you start raceing in the taper week!!! the head is working overtime, (how's the training gone, what time can I run, will I PR, what is happening with the weather, what should I wear, the list goes on.) Have you ever writen one of those 3 hours exams and after it you were drained as you handed in the paper? well that is what is happening to you. You are draining all the energy from your body before you even race.

When then can we do? easy, race more... Yes find all those little races to run (run not race) have fun with them and get used to the idea of racing. So when your 'big' race comes it's no problem and you line up like any other day and then kick BUTT...

Hope this help Good Luck

Jeff said...

One thing that helps me is to have expectations but not treat them as do-or-die goals. That way if I don't achieve them, it's not catastrophic, and I don't have as much pressure during the race if I'm not quite there. Of course, publicly stating those goals helps provide motivation to train and get there, but that's not a guarantee of success.

In my first HIM I had a great race for 85% of the time, but the last 6 miles of the run didn't go as well. I missed my 'ideal' race time, but still had a great race overall and try to focus on that instead. If I'd started beating myself up over getting calf cramps it would have made things worse. I just tried to make the best of it and learned that I need more electrolytes on the run next time.

You have amazing training runs and you're in ridiculous shape. The perfect race will come.

Pam said...

Giiirl your day will come! And when it does, it's gonna be sweeeet.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

A bad race is merely a single running event. I think you have to be loving your run long before worry over the results of a race otherwise how can it ever be any fun? I want to run because it's fun. Many races that is all I accomplish, fun. And it's not just that "I'm okay with that," that is what I want. If a "win" comes out of my efforts that would be amazing but I don't need it to remember my races in a positive way.
I hope you can shift your focus and I bet by simply enjoying it more you will be able to BE and FEEL more successful.