Last weekend, after having three cancelled races (1 marathon, 1 twenty miler, 1 half marathon) I finally got to run a race! It was really fun-especially since I have been basically shunned by any and all races in my area. It was the New Bedford Half Marathon, and it was a really good time.
The only picture I took of me at the race!
I held off on doing any kind of review for this race because I really didn’t want to be judged on my poor performance that day. Yup, you read that right. I don’t always love the negativity via social media that can sometimes come with being a running blogger. I make the fact that I want to get faster extremely clear. I know that I put myself out “there” into the world by having this little public space. And that’s ok. I love the encouragement that I receive from my fellow bloggers and friends that I’ve made by writing as “The Girl Who Ran Everywhere” (A little sidenote: In case you’ve ever wondered, I do know that I’m 32 years old and calling myself a “girl”-But, “The Woman Who Ran Everywhere” just wasn’t as catchy 😉…) I know that by opening myself up, I’m subjected to criticism just as much as I am praise. It is what it is, and I’m learning to shrug it off.
As some of you already know-My time for this race wasn’t great: 1:42:47. It was an “off” day for me, and I just want to go on the record here by saying that I am 100% okay with that. My coach had a goal for me, and I didn’t make it, or even come close to it. But, honestly-it’s not a big deal. There are plenty more races to run. In the past, I’ve gotten pretty down on myself for not hitting a “goal” time that I set for myself, but I know now that in the long run, it doesn’t do me any good. I decided that I wanted to do a non-traditional race recap for this one. Instead of telling you in detail about how this was the biggest half I have ever run (huge!), the porta potties at the start, or, the fact that it was windy and I had a terrible leg cramp for almost 3 miles of the race, I wanted to instead tell you some things I learned from my race. Maybe you can learn something that will help you.
Biggest half I’ve ever been to!
1.) Its really important for all runners to remember that not every day is “Your day” for racing. Sometimes I feel like all the things in the universe need to align and Mother Nature has to cast great weather in order for me to have the “perfect” race day. Traffic, your period, a snowstorm, ice, wind, a late night, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, bad sleep, bad sneakers, wrong foods-any or ALL of these things (and I think I could list PLENTY more issues) can go wrong for anyone, on race morning. It is what it is and you shouldn’t sweat it if it doesn’t go your way: There WILL be more races in your future.
The feeling of “today is not your day” also carries over into your every day runs. There are some days where I will head out and I’m on FIRE, and others where I’m just “meh” and not that into it.
I didn’t really have a whole lot that went wrong for me race morning. It was more that I had a day that I wasn’t really in the mood for “pushing” it during the race. I can’t explain it any better than to say that I was tired, and that feeling translated down into my tired legs. Not a big deal, it happens. I’ve realized that I’m not always the best “racer.” I get really nervous and psych myself up WAY too much. I think we all have felt the overwhelming weight at one time or another to “run more/run faster/be better.” I put a lot of pressure on myself to do just that, end up overthinking things, and it messes with my mojo. Sometimes, my brain doesn’t feel like taking over and going into “race mode” I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t technically start “racing” until about 1-2 years ago? Who knows-I know its something I need to work on. But anyway, there are days that I am not feeling the amazing-ness of racing, and I had one of those days during the New Bedford half.
2. Silence the noise. This is a big one for me. I’ve heard the words “Can’t” and “won’t” a little too often for my taste. Tuning the negatives out is something I’m working on. I believe in me, my husband believes in me, my friends believe in me…that’s enough. Sometimes we get in our own heads a little too much. Sometimes we let someone else in our heads who doesn’t think we can do any better. Don’t focus on the negativity and focus on your own strengths.
3. You can cross the finish line of a race but you are most certainly not “finished.” You may “finish” a race, but you (most likely) are not “finished” with running. It’s important to remember that in the back of your mind. Crossing a finish line is just one more step on your own personal running journey, whatever yours may be! I might hit a new PR, or bomb a race, but I know that I’ll be right back to running my next possible chance. Running is a lifetime sport for me, full of ups and downs and I don’t intend to ever “finish.”
4. This last one is the MOST important thing: You are not the measure of just “one” race. You’re much more than that. A good race will help you put a new notch on your personal tallying stick of racing, but it does not define you. A bad race may make you upset for a little while, but it gives you something to learn from. You are so much more than your numbers, please don’t ever forget that. When I think back to why I started running, it had nothing to do with “the numbers game.” I knew that I loved to run, I was pretty ok at it, and it gave me a lot of joy. Don’t let a bad race rob you of the joy. I always tell fellow runners to remember WHY you are running in the first place. Take that reason and hold it tight. You should never forget your “WHY.” The numbers that you want will eventually come, because your “WHY” will drive you.
So, to any of you who wonder post-race if you’ll ever meet those goals you have set: remember these things! Never give up on your dreams or what you want just because of an off day. Even if some weirdo tells you that you are delusional for the goals you’ve set…ignore it, and move along. Believe in yourself and trust that you can. And as my best friend tells me “Even if you don’t PR and you do your best that’s all that matters.” —> truth.
Some lessons you’ve learned from racing or running?