This Runner's Trials

Tweaking expectations

Posted by runnerstrials

Last fall I trained hard for a half marathon. I thought I was in excellent shape. I was going to run well. I was going to PR.

But something happened around mi 2. I realized I was having a bad run. I started taking walk breaks at mi 4, and soon I couldn’t tell the difference between the rain drops and my tears :( I’d run bad 1/2s before, but never one when I’ve trained SO hard.

I finished and I should have been proud of that. But I wasn’t. I was disappointed, confused, angry and just miserable.

I know running is unpredictable. I know you need bad runs to make the good runs good. But you aren’t supposed to have a bad race when you’ve poured your heart and soul into training. But it happens.

I sulked for a week and then took action. I was running another half in 2 months and I was determined to do well.

I followed a Runner’s World SmartCoach’s plan to a T. In fact, I even made peace with the dreadmill and did an 11 miler when there was two feet of snow on the ground. I had to walk a half mile in the blizzard to get to the gym (yeah borderline psycho ;) ).

Then on the morning of my half marathon I knew I wasn’t going to have a good race AGAIN. This time my body felt good, but Mother Nature had other plans.

At the start of the Disney (yes, Disney as in FLORIDA) half marathon it was 30 degrees and sleeting. Not fun. But this time I knew before the start I had no chance to PR so I tweaked my race plan.

(look at poor Heather's husband to get an idea of how cold it was)

I asked my hubby to run with me. We decided to take it slow in the beginning and just try to stay safe (i.e., not slip on ice). It ended up being my most FUN race ever! Despite the cold and miserable conditions, I enjoyed myself. I honestly had a smile on my face the whole time because I didn’t care about my pace and was just happy to be running the race (Disney races are the best, sign up for one now). My time wasn’t great and we FROZE as soon as we stopped, but that’s besides the point.

I immediately signed up for another half and continued following my training plan.

When I woke up the morning of the Clemson Easter Bunny half, I just told myself to have fun. Of course I wanted to PR, but I kept reminding myself that first and foremost, running and racing is fun.

I had the best race of my life. Of course running on my college campus on a course I knew well helped. I ended up PRing- by 7 minutes!!- and placing second in my age group.

I’ve done another half since then and took the whole “just have fun mantra” but I got too competitive with myself. I wanted to beat my Clemson time and ended up blowing up and burning out. I ran 2 minutes slower, so technically it was a very good race, but I did not have fun.

I’m going into Saturday’s half with no expectations. Sure I’ve trained hard, but I also want to be realistic. I’m not crazy enough to expect to PR in a June half marathon in NC. All I want to do is have fun- and stay safe. Let’s just hope I remember that at the start line ;)

Do you have trouble running races for fun?

Yesterday’s workout- S: 1250 m, R: 4 mi @ 8:30

Today is a rest day. Just some walks with the furball, stretching and foam rollin'

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