Last weekend I ran in circles. Actually it was a race and the course was laps. The circuit was switchbacks along a motocross course (think dirt and up and down) and then a bush trail that was also mostly up and down. We did three laps of this entire circuit. See this map for details of one lap, sortof: Running in races is still a learning experience for me. My Negative Nancy has had to keep her legs crossed and mind her manners. She doesn’t occupy a lot of reality in my mind-space anymore. Most interestingly is how I am now able to manage these things during the race rather than just react.
My sports psychologist said that I’m very likely a type A personality: I am a runner, I run races, and I care what people think of me (and my results). So when competition comes, type A personalities like to get fired up and get in the mix. I guess I used to try to keep up — energetically– but I didn’t actually move any faster. Once some passed me they kept on going right out of view and there wasn’t much I could do to keep up.
I would fight to run faster. It wasn’t very efficient or graceful and would end up draining me. I would negatively try to trick myself go faster. In the five stages I was deeply rooted in bargaining: if I ran faster usually the reward was something associated with food. My mind would go into all sorts of spirals as to why the girl with the cotton t-shirt should not be ahead of me, or why I should not have had that extra chocolate chip cookie a month ago, or why I was even bothering when none of this was even fun.
I was passed a few times in this race. I had already set the expectation at the onset that this was just a training experience and the goal was to have fun. My monkey mind still wanted to exude some heroic efforts, but to what end? It was hot, it was dusty, and I still have 2 laps of the course to go.
If you feel like a video interlude right about now this is your chance. This 800m race at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich shows how important it is to just follow your own path and run your own race. Keep your eyes on the guy in the white hat.
Now back to the usual stuff.
I *did* have fun. I ran my own race and felt it was a solid effort in my training. My son and my mom cheered me on as though it was the Olympic trials. There was watermelon at the end of the race. And there was this (in my age group):