Race Recap: EQT 10-miler (and the Aftermath)

Last Sunday was one of my favorite races of the year, the EQT Pittsburgh 10-miler. I love the distance. I love running through the city. It’s fall so the weather is usually right where I like it (cool but not cold) and this year my buddy was actually going to run it too. He had a big race coming up the following weekend and didn’t want to take this too hard, treat it more like a training run, so I asked him to pace me. And instantly I regretted it, but figured I would go through with it and see what happened.

I was in great spirits before the race. I felt good, positive about our goal. I was happy to be with my friends and running in the city I love. Then my watch never got signal. NOT happy about that, but also tried to reassure myself that it was fine, I didn’t have to worry about pace, I just had to keep up. Then we started running and before I knew it my mood soured. I was stuck in my head, spinning wheels of negativity and doubt, and I couldn’t get out. It was a struggle. I wasn’t having fun. The gel I took halfway through was sitting like a rock in my stomach and I was a little nauseous. Our pace fell off. My buddy prodded me to speed up. And I. LOST. My shit. I stopped dead, turned to him, and said “F*CK YOU.” And then I sprinted off because I needed space.

He wasn’t even being a jerk about it. Believe me, he’s been worse to me on training runs, way more annoying, and I’ve wanted to punch him before, but I’ve never *actually* lost it on him. I felt bad pretty instantly. It wasn’t him I was upset with, it was ME. I was mad at myself, but I couldn’t tell myself to F off, so instead I lost it on him. He caught up to me. I apologized (and have since apologized even more profusely). After that, I managed to have fun because the pressure was off. My goal was out of sight so it didn’t matter. I was thankful that he stuck by me for the rest of the race–I didn’t deserve that after my outburst, and would not have blamed him one bit if he’d left my ass. We managed to get some great pics from one of the photographers in our running club. We met up with someone running her first race in the burgh who needed some encouragement. I was faring better near the end of the race, so he told me to go on, he was gonna help her finish. I finished strong and with a course PR, though not the overall PR I’d originally wanted.

That event was a wake up call for me. I wish it hadn’t gone down the way it did, but I also NEEDED that to happen (which is undoubtedly why it did). The breakdown before the breakthrough. I’ve spent a LOT of time thinking about it, processing it. I’ve talked about it with different people (including my buddy, to whom I’ve apologized multiple times). I’ve discussed the base issues here in the past, but I’ve never really done the work to confront them. And now I have to. It hit home for me again talking to my trainer friend at the gym Friday night–it really all comes down to the distorted perception I have of myself and the lies I tell myself about who I am. Success in running, to a certain point, fits with my perception. But the level I want–it shatters the way I think about myself. So I get close, I get scared, I back off. Because then I get to be right–I can’t do it. I’m not strong enough. I don’t work hard enough. Etc, etc, etc. For years it’s kept me safe–it hasn’t served me, but it’s kept me *safe*.  And that race was a turning point for me because I cannot do it anymore. I can’t live with the dissonance. I can’t keep up the lies. It is ALL in my head and I came face to face with that reality last week.

I’ve often wondered who I would be without the insecurities I’ve held on to for so long. It’s time to find out. In my soul searching I’ve come to terms with certain things I need to let go of, and I’m doing my best to do that. As far as running goes, I’m meeting with someone about coaching today. I’ve gotten as far as I can get on my own, and I’m ready to seek help in breaking through. Still planning to take a break from distance next year to focus on speed, but I’m already starting to get that marathon itch so I think I’ll be back in 2019.

More soon friends. Happy Monday.

Make A Choice Pittsburgh: Workout with Shaun T

So I said last week was kind of a big week. It really was, in a LOT of ways I have barely scratched the surface on. So I had that mini-breakdown but PR on Sunday at the 5k. The week got better from there. Most of you know that I did Insanity at the beginning of the year, and I LOVE me some Shaun T. He’s amazing. He’s motivational, he’s in it with you, and he never got on my nerves. LOVE him. So when I saw that he was coming to town with the Make A Choice… campaign, and that it was FREE, I JUMPED at the chance to go workout with him. I hoped I’d get to meet him, but just to be in his presence for a live workout was going to be amazing. That day was last Thursday. I left work early so I could park and get to the convention center without hassle. They were selling copies of his book, so I bought one. I waited, and waited, and waited, then finally the man came out on stage in all his Shaun T glory, and let me tell you, the workout did not disappoint. I was sore from Tuesday’s class and Wednesday’s run, but I pushed through. The energy was incredible. And then there was a Q&A session–which I had not been expecting, but was glad to be there for. I only taped one question, but I’m sure I’ll need to hear it at some point, so I’m glad I got it. Then…there was a book signing. I had not realized this when I bought the book, but hey, I had a copy of the book in my possession, so of *course* I was going to have him sign it. Well worth standing in line to meet him and say thank you in person (even though they said absolutely no pics with him…too many people it would take too long).

He was amazing. So personable. So kind. So genuine and real. I wasn’t my normal star-struck self, I talked to him. I joked with him. I only got a minute while he signed my book, but man, I got to meet someone I admire and respect so much. It was awesome. And it took me back to how I felt when I finished Insanity (besides freakin’ exhausted…)…I was really proud of myself for having finished it. I’ve crossed a ton of start and finish lines, it isn’t like I’ve never finished something I’ve started. But it was different with this program. I committed and stuck to it. I genuinely liked it. I definitely saw improvements in my fitness level. And it was the perfect set-up to starting a round of Insanity Max 30 (which I did on Monday).

More soon, friends…

Race Recap: Amherst Skeleton Run 5k

So, I’m a a little crazy. We all know that. I love to run races. I don’t always race them, but I LOVE to take part in them. So I decided it was a good idea to run a 5k the week after my full marathon. Mind you my marathon was not a PR race, and I recovered quicker than I expected–I ran with my crew that Wednesday night and kicked so much ass. So I went to Ohio to run this race with my best friend and her husband. I initially had no plans to ‘race’ it. Just run it. But then there was the threat of her competitive streak coming out so I offered that she could pace me. And she took me up on it.

I’m used to running with people, but not actually having a Pacer. I’m used to being able to do what I want, essentially, which means I seldom push myself as hard as I could. I back off, as is my MO. Not something I’m necessarily proud of, but its how I operate. We didn’t really discuss strategy, which was a mistake. We went hard at it for the first mile plus. And then I started to panic, and couldn’t regulate my breathing. I took a minute and got myself back under control and DID manage to pull off a 5 second PR on my 5k time. Getting there.

What kills me is that I know I could have done better if I hadn’t panicked. And there was no good reason for me to have panicked. Physically I was fine. Mentally…that’s another story. I got in my head, and I, quite literally, choked.

Still it’s a fun little race, and I’m glad I did it. I’m glad my bestie paced me (even though I wasn’t thrilled at the time).

my bestie and I nearing the 5k finish

If I had written this post a week ago, right after the race, it would’ve been different. But it’s been a big week. A lot has happened (mostly good) and I am able to see connections in hindsight. More soon.