Race Anxiety – What it Feels Like

Photo by Sue Morris
Photo by Sue Morris

Imagine that you have one of your major goal races coming up this weekend. It is an important race that you have trained hard to prepare for this race.

You have big dreams and goals for how you will do.

Then when the race comes around, you want to be somewhere else, to be honest anywhere else, but at that race.

That is how I feel for most of the races I go to, it does not matter how big or how small they are. It got better for a while, but it is starting to raising its ugly head again.

Where did it start?

I am pretty competitive, sometimes I am just too damn competitive.

In high school, I did not run or compete at the level I could have or in some of the more important meets or “Regionals”, because I just could not do it. I couldn’t go.

I was too scared of failure, to have my own visions of glory dashed against the rocks of reality. I would fake being sick, go somewhere else, create reasons not to go, fake injuries and all the other tricks to get out of doing something that scares the hell out of you, so you do not have to show others “how good” you really are. Continue reading “Race Anxiety – What it Feels Like”

Rise ‘N Shine 5K Recap 9-27-13

Today was the 20th Annual Rise ‘N Shine 5K, a race that I really love, even though I hate that damn hill at the end.

What a perfect day for a race! 50’s very little wind, a little overcast.

My plan was to run, not race today, so I didn’t wear my Garmin and wore my new Skechers GoRun Ride, instead of my racing flats (Ekidons) or even the GR2’s, that way, I wouldn’t be so tempted to go faster than I should. Wearing racing flats is a psychological cue to me that i am supposed to push through the discomfort/pain and go as fast as I can.

That is not what I wanted to do today.

I had three goals for this race:

  1. Don’t be stupid and re-injure my Achilles
  2. A Goal – Sub 22:00
  3. B Goal – Sub 23:00 Continue reading “Rise ‘N Shine 5K Recap 9-27-13”

34th Annual January Thaw 4.5 Mile Race Recap 1-27-13

Before the 34th Annual January Thaw on 1-27-13

Today was the 34th Annual edition of the Central Maine Strider’s January Thaw 4.5 mile Road Race up heah in Belgrade, Maine.

The first race of the year is always an adventure for me and I know that I wondered how I would do. I haven’t run in a race since I went to Pennsylvania for the Runner’s World Half Festival – the stars just didn’t align correctly :-).

So it has been a while since I toed a starting line at a race and I felt a little more nervous because of it.

The 33rd Central Maine Strider’s January Thaw was my first race last year and really started off a great year. I talked a lot about what it meant to me then in last year’s race recap. So this is one of those races I will make for as long as I can.

For some reason for the first 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile, I just couldn’t find a rhythm or regulate my breathing, I just felt out of sorts. Then it seemed like for the whole race I was moving in slow motion and just couldn’t pick it up at all. My legs had no spring in them at all.

Not using this as an excuse, but looking at my log this week I am pretty sure, It had something to do with running 10 miles on the treadmill on both Thursday and Friday ;-). It was a good lesson learned and one I won’t forget. If I want to run better during a race, I need to rest a little before a race – I am not 25 any more, even though it seems that I keep thinking that I am sometimes.

Here are the stats for the race.

Garmin 1-27-13

Screenshot 2013-01-27 at 16.42.52

Today was still pretty chilly at 14F degrees and the first part of the race was into the wind, so I decided to wear my face mask and then use it as a neck gaiter when the wind was at my back. Now I went by the mile marker at 6:46 according to the timer there, which is a lot different from my watch split results, which had me at 7:17??? I don’t know which was correct? It doesn’t really matter, but it made me wonder.

I finished 5/23 and 2nd in my age group, Ron who finished 1st in our age group finished 3rd and just kicked my butt! Gives me something to really think about and also motivation to keep getting better :-). Overall, I was very pleased with the results for this early in the year and other than how I felt during that first mile. I need to focus more on my leg turnover and just running faster outdoors, without over-striding.

Which if you look at the picture that David Colby-Young took of me in the last mile – I am definitely doing!

January Thaw.1

Need to work on that!

Still smiling even after the race 🙂

January Thaw My Pic After2

Screenshot 2013-01-27 at 19.23.02

Guess who’s shirt says Idiot’s Running Club ;-).

#RWHalf Festival Final Reflection and Recap

runners-world-half-logoWow!!! is all I can say about the Runner’s World Half Festival and the amazing extended weekend that I had!!!!

I needed a day to recover, recuperate and take a little break from the immersion in running, blogging and driving down and back (9 hours each way). I have had a long drive back and a day to think about and reflect on what happened and the people that I met during the Festival

To be honest, the Runner’s World Half Festival was probably the highlight of my running career. From the people that I met (other FitFluential Ambassadors, Runner’s World Staff, Race Sponsors and other runners), to the races themselves and the support that the City of Bethlehem provided, everyone was simply amazing.

Here are my previous posts on the Festival:

While running in the Runner’s World Festival inaugural races and setting a this year PR in the 5K and running my first “official” half marathon were really cool, the most important and best part of the Festival were the people that I met!

I am trying to use photos, that I haven’t used before Smile. I only took over 1,000 photos during the event, so there are a few to choose from.

The people are what made this event so special!


Continue reading “#RWHalf Festival Final Reflection and Recap”

Runner’s World Half Marathon Recap 10/21/12

Immediately after finishing the Half Marathon

What an amazing weekend!!!!

Today was the Runner’s World Half Marathon, which was my first “official” Half Marathon. I went into the race with certain expectations, but most of all I tried not to get all stressed out about having to finish with a certain time. The race was not an easy course by any stretch of the imagination as you can see by the below: Continue reading “Runner’s World Half Marathon Recap 10/21/12”

#RWHalf Rave Run Through Bethlehem – 10/19/12

WOW!!! It is 9:30 P.M. and I having my first opportunity to sit down and do my RUNLOG blog!!!! I’ve been slightly on screech all day! However, it has all been worth it!!!

When I looked out the window this is what I saw

This morning we got to go running around Bethlehem to see parts of the race course with Bart Yasso, Golden Harper, some other of the Altra Running Staff and of course the FitFluential Ambassadors

This was a great social run, ended up doing about 3.8 according to the iPhone App and felt great doing it, even though it was raining pretty hard at times.  No one melted and I noticed a lot of smiles on everyone’s faces, so I think I wasn’t the only one that enjoyed the run.

Bart, Golden and the Altra Staff were all gracious and fun to talk with, could tell that the Golden and the Altra guys wanted to do some crazy running, but were good with us around :-).

Bart is known as the Chief Running Officer for a reason, and listening to his stories while running at the stopping places were fantastic. He is a great ambassador for both Runner’s World and the Running Community!

There is so much more to write about, but I am too tired to get to them tonight, but I want to write about the Altra Running Clinic, ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF MY DAY MEETING Shalane Flanagan in a small group setting – can’t resist putting in this picture :-).

She is a down to earth and gracious lady, I really enjoyed listening to her speak, will be doing a separate post on this later.

There was just so much happening and going on today, that I am beat! I finally got back to my room at 8:30 P.M. and sat in the hot tub for 15 minutes trying to loosen up my hamstrings :-).

Well tomorrow is the 5K and I am trying hard not to get too wound up with my own expectations :-). I am looking forward to the run and hopefully I do well.

I have taken almost 400 pictures in the last 2 days, gotta figure out how I want to publish/share them 🙂

Looking at the #RWHalf Courses

I just got back from looking at the Runner’s World Half, 10K and 5K courses, which I will be running 2 of this weekend. I had been hearing rumors and innuendo about how hilly the courses are, it worried me a little. I don’t mind running hills and live in Maine so hills are just a part of living and running there, but I wanted to see how much these hills would be slowing me down.

Driving the course is not just as simple as following the map, there are different one-way streets that we will be running in the opposite direction. So I had to drive around, plus not knowing the area made it even more interesting. I am sure that they thought I was some crazy tourist from Maine – well…we don’t need to go there 🙂

Go to the Runner’s World Website for the Course Maps and a video featuring Bart Yasso.

Here are some photos that I took while driving around:

Looking down E 1st Street – flat and fast

Looking up towards Webster Street the first hill.

The Fahy Bridge

There are some hills out towards Moravian College which will get your attention, but I didn’t get a picture of, but one is in the Runner’s World video.

This is the little rise towards the end after coming off Founders Way.

Overall – they look like GREAT courses, they will challenge you, but there are a lot of flat and downhill areas, none of the hills are mountains, but they will slow you down a little bit.

It has the potential to be a challenging, but faster course than I first thought when I looked at the course descriptions. I guess that it depends upon where you are coming from geographically. If you are coming from a fairly flat area, it is going seem pretty hilly and if you are coming from an area with lots of hills, it won’t seem too bad.

I will be participating in the inaugural Runners World Half Marathon as a FitFluential Ambassador. My race registration will be provided by Runners World. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

The Runner’s World Event is Next Week!

runners-world-half-logoI am going to the Runner’s World Half and Festival – presented by by Altra Zero Drop Footwear – on October 20th and the 21st as a FitFluential Ambassador and blogger!

You can still get a 10% discount on your race registration (any or all three of the races) use the discount code Blogger22, but online registration ends Monday.

It is hard to believe that next Wednesday I will be in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania participating in the Runner’s World Half Events. This is my first destination race, one where I have gone more than an hour away from home or spent the night someplace for the purpose of running in races.

To be honest there are a few conflicting emotions going on right now.

I am very excited about going down there, blogging about what see and do, meeting face-to-face some the other runners that I have “talked with” on social media or their blogs, the Runner’s World staff who will be floating around the events and expo, and the other FitFluential Ambassadors who will be there as well.

Not to mention running in a 5K and Half Marathon while I am there. No I do not have any goals beyond trying to meet my annual goals for these distances and I don’t plan to put any more pressure on myself about these races other than enjoying the experience. Racing those distances can happen at other races.

I am also pretty damn nervous too! :

  • I will not be around my wife and home for 5 days. I admit it I am a bit of a homebody Smile, which is not a bad thing. Yes I will miss TheWife and Bennie Bean a lot.
  • It is over 500 miles from home and I am driving down – driving doesn’t bother me, but it has been 20 years since I have driven that far.
  • I have never been to Bethlehem, so I don’t know my way around down there.
  • I am a planner and like to have things scheduled and this is a more free flowing event and other’s schedules will dictate how I spend my time.
  • I will be meeting lots and lots of people and be on sensory overload a lot while there, I am wondering when opportunities for “down-time” or “alone-time” will happen.
  • I don’t know the course, so I want to at least drive it a couple of times after I get there and run some of the hills that I have read about.

All the above will be a great adventure and actually even though I am a bit nervous about it, I know I will have a great time!

  • Finally, while I have gotten a good handle on my race day anxiety and have raced more this year than I have in 25 years, these races will have a LOT more people running (expected to be over 5,000 for each race) than I am used to, so navigating to the start will be “fun”.

With so many other FitFluential Ambassadors there, I am sure that they will help/push/drag me to the starting line (peer pressure can be a good thing). The Runner’s World event races are going to be a big test of how much progress I have made on this.

The reality is that I have gotten a pretty good handle on my race day anxiety issues and am not putting artificial pressure on myself to run a certain time or anything, instead I am focusing more on the fun that I am going to have.

The people that I will get to meet, the friends I make and memories that I will have from going to the Runner’s World Event I am certain will be great ones. One thing that I do know is that I plan to take lots of pictures and write way too many blog posts while I am there.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE THERE, LOOK ME UP!  Probably the easiest way will be to Tweet me, so we can meet up while we are there. I will be in Bethlehem from Wednesday evening to early Monday morning. Or we can make arrangements beforehand to meet-up, either Tweet me or email me. Smile

FTC Disclaimer: My registration for these 2 races were complimentary. I will be blogging about my experiences during this event and all opinions are my own.

Trust Your Training

IMG_0521Like most runners I have done a lot of running preparing for this fall’s racing season and have accumulated a few nicks, aches, pains and feel pretty tired (both mentally and physically).

So today I took a day off and didn’t do my scheduled track workout.

To be honest, I didn’t do anything but work on the computer and mow the lawn, no weights, no walk, nothing. It felt great! Tomorrow is my scheduled day-off and you know what, I plan to repeat what I did today and then on Thursday, I am seriously thinking about repeating it again. In other words taking off until Friday.

What do you mean Harold!??? You are less than 3 weeks away from the Runner’s World Half and 5K, you gotta get those last workouts in!

Really at this point in my training cycle missing a few days three weeks before my race is not going to affect my performance in those races all that much – if at all.

About the biggest thing that it would affect is my weekly and October’s mileage total, which really doesn’t mean anything in the big picture. But that is one of the things that really bothers me about not running…silly isn’t it. The other thing is that – I want to run, which is the harder for me to not do, since I could if I wanted to.

Actually taking the time off and letting my body heal up some of the small aches and pains that have accumulated, might be much more needed than a speed workout or some other training run this week. I still have one more easy long run scheduled this weekend and a couple of easy track sessions planned along with my regular runs as I start to taper for my races.

Stop and think about all the training miles we have done over the summer, to prepare for our fall race schedule, I have a feeling that most of us are all a little nicked up and tired.

If I had gone ahead and just kept pushing to meet my scheduled runs and mileage while feeling like I am, I believe there is more of a chance of pulling something or hurting myself during a run, which would have a much more negative effect on my running, than a few days off.

Personally, I believe that taking a few days off 3 weeks before your big race might be a good thing! It gives your mind and body a chance to recharge and heal up a bit, which I need now more than, more training mileage.

Most of us have done the work and are now just biding our time until our big race. Now is the time to trust your previous training and not worry if you miss a few workouts at this point in your race training cycle.

What do you think?