Long time – and no posts. Life has just been INSANELY busy. I have so much to catch up on, but I’m starting with this past weekend first, because it’s been weighing on my mind.
This weekend I ran my 3rd half marathon of the year. I wasn’t planning on running. My friend Chrsti had an extra bib that her daughter wasn’t using, so she offered it to me. I know – some people will say that running on someone else bib isn’t the most ethical thing to do, but Christi assured me it was just going to go to waste and I did have a 12 mile run on my training plan, (more on that later) so why not?
Anyway, regardless of the bib situation…I ran the AF Canyon half this past weekend. I ran this race in 2015. It’s a fun course and I beat my previous time by 7 minutes! That’s great, right? But honestly, I’ve been kinda frustrated with my whole half marathon time situation. I feel like my times are always the same. With the exception of this: when I don’t care about the race….like Saturday.
My three fastest times in a half marathon have all been in races that I ran just for run, didn’t train for, or didn’t care about my time.
Big Cottonwood (2016): 1:59:59
AF Half (2017): 2:03:33
Utah Valley (2015): 2:07:09
Saturday was my 11th half marathon since I’ve been running. Four of those, including my last 3 previous to this Saturday, I’ve run in the exact same time. What gives? It’s not a bad time, and I know I should just be proud of the fact that I can run a half marathon – but it’s kinda a little frustrating that I always seem to run the exact same time, no matter the course. I’ve read some books and done some research, and I know what I should do to get faster, but then I run a race – like Saturday – and beat that time by 10 minutes without training, and without much trying. It makes no sense…except for this:
Running (at least for me) is SUCH a mental sport. And I need to learn how to let it go and stop limiting myself if I want to improve.
When I run a race that I want to do well in, I start out with certain paces in mind. I know I need to keep up that certain pace and I know what times I need to be at, at certain miles. I totally check my watch WAY too often. If I happen to glace at my watch during a race and see a pace that I don’t think that I’m capable of, I tell myself that I need to slow down. Why? Do I do that? But Saturday I didn’t check my watch.
When I ran the Big Cottonwood last year, (my PR) and when I ran the AF Half Saturday I ran with the intention that I would run as fast as I could for as long as I could and then I would walk when I needed too. And guess what happened? I never had to walk either time! I also hardly ever checked my watch. I didn’t let pacers get me down, I didn’t let my watch distract me or dictate my pace. I know when I ran Big Cottonwood I didn’t even look until mile 7!
So here lies my dilemma and what I really think holds me back in running – and really in life. How do you let it all go and stop letting limits limit you? Am I subconscious doing this to myself in life too? I know when I tell myself can only run so fast – that is as fast as I can run. But I know when I when I throw it all to the wind and run as fast as I can – I can run SO much faster. I love setting goals and reaching for them, but am I really playing it all too safe? Am I doing this in life too? And how do I overcome this?
I’m learning that the trick is finding that place in my brain that lets myself go – let’s myself dream and dream big. And not putting limits on what I can and cannot do. It’s kinda a scary/exhilarating/nervous place to be. But kinda exciting at the same time.
So after running the Clear Creek half in April, after getting the exact same time, and really getting frustrated about it, I decided it was time. 2017 is the year I’m going to do it. After four years of running and 11 half marathons, after four years of telling myself that I can only run the half marathon distance, I’ve committed to a full. A REAL full marathon. 26.2 miles. (I actually feel like I might die!) But I’ve committed: Big Cottonwood, on September 9th. Something I NEVER thought I could do. I’m a little (okay, a LOT) nervous about this. But I will never know if I never try. So I am going to train my little heart out this summer and then I’m just going to (try to) throw caution to the wind and see what happens.
Call me crazy, and wish me luck.