Last week, I was talking to my co-workers about the 10K race I ran on Thanksgiving. Until recently, I always enjoyed races--the crowds cheering, meeting new people along the course, feeling good about my accomplishments, etc. But all of a sudden, I'm not experiencing those same positive feelings. I think I need to change my attitude about racing, but I'm just not sure how to go about it.
My last marathon experience was not the greatest. I tried to put a good spin on it, writing a blog about how I was a success even though I didn't reach my goal. But honestly, that's not quite how I felt. For most of the marathon, I had an internal conversation with myself about how I wasn't doing well. I wasn't going as fast as I'd hoped, wasn't feeling good, and frankly, I didn't have a good attitude about the whole thing. I spent a lot of time beating myself up for not being better. Consequently, I missed out on a lot of the excitement of the crowd and the interesting sites of the city because I was too busy thinking about other things.
I thought maybe these thoughts and feelings were just a fluke that I needed to shake off. I decided to run a 10K on Thanksgiving, and registered just a few days before the race. No pressure, and not much time to build up expectations and stress about how I'd do, right? Wrong. As soon as the race started, I felt the same way I'd felt during the marathon a month before. And once again, I didn't enjoy myself. Rather, I beat myself up because my time was 3 minutes slower than my fastest 10K a few years ago.
I've thought about retiring from racing for a while, and just running for the fun of it. But I'm someone who likes goals to work toward. I like having a training plan to follow, I like pushing myself during training runs and I like the sense of accomplishment a race provides. I just don't want races to become something negative in my life instead of a positive experience. I wear a Garmin when I run, and I also think that might be an issue. I can look down at any point in the race and see how fast I'm going, which means I'm constantly evaluating my progress. I don't have these feelings when I'm training or just out running for the fun of it. So I think the watch is okay most of the time, but maybe just not on race day?
Are you competitive with yourself? Have there been times when you push yourself to get faster, work harder, lose more weight, or make other improvements- and it's taken a negative turn? What did you do about it?
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