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Putting My Cards on the Table

October 17, 2011

I write this blog to share my life and goals with the world the dozen or so readers I have to hopefully inspire and show that if I, an ordinary girl who never dreamed of being a triathlete or running a marathon, can do anything I put my mind to that so can you. As much as I like for my posts to be all rainbows and butterflies and to keep a positive attitude I am also human and sometimes I need some inspiration, support, advice or encouragement like I strive to give, and sometimes I just need to vent.

So it’s time for a bit of truth and I’m just going to lay it out there:

I’m having a crappy race season

Despite my somewhat positive race recaps I’ve written from the past few events I can’t help but beat myself up a bit because I haven’t performed like I’ve really wanted to. Warning: I am very competitive with myself. I feel like I put so much time and energy into training and working out and I should be getting better, but it’s just not happening. I’ve been stuck in a running rut and running the same paces for nearly 2 years. Shouldn’t I be getting better?

When I used to sign up for a race I’d train and I’d go out on race day and I’d usually have a killer race where I surprise myself. I seem to be lacking that new-found-love-of-running race day energy and excitement that helped me perform so well.

I know running is not my job and maybe some of you think- “who cares, it’s just running,” but I am one to believe that if we work hard enough at something we can accomplish any goal and I put a lot of effort into training, but I’m struggling to reach some of those goals. So, what gives?

In my last 10k I had high hopes to set a PR, and PR I did, but really I had only run one prior 10k in the first year I had started running and there was no way I couldn’t PR. What I really wanted was to come in at under 50:00. Well, that didn’t happen even though I’ve run countless 10ks in times under 50:00 when I’ve been in peak running shape, like while training for last year’s marathon and just recently I busted out a 48:00 10k at the gym. It’s disheartening to be able to do something and push yourself during practice on a regular day, but not be able to recreate it on race day. On this particular race I was on pace easily for a 50:00 10k through miles 1-4, but something happened in miles 5-6 and I mentally gave up and told myself it was too hard and too humid outside and convinced myself to be ok with a 52 minute PR.

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My next race was the Olympic triathlon. When I got to this race I was so excited and ready to push myself in all 3 events to see what I could do. I felt like I worked my tail off swimming, biking, and running. When I got done with the swim 2 minutes faster than goal time I was elated. When I got done with the bike portion over 5 minutes faster than goal time I was elated. Then came the run- my strength, my best event, you’d think I would have killed it, right? Wrong. Somehow in my head I convinced myself that I was really proud I was actually doing an Olympic triathlon and that I didn’t care how fast I got to the finish. I was convinced I was tired, it was too hot, and I had made up so much time on the swim and bike I could just cruise pretty leisurely (In the moment this made perfect sense to me). I knew I was going pretty slow, I was walking the water stations and strolling along doing something that I’m sure looked like a sorry excuse for running. I later saw on the results that it took me 1:07 to finish the 10k. ONE HOUR and SEVEN MINUTES. That is the longest it has EVER taken me to run a 10k. My marathon pace was 2 minutes per mile faster than this!! In practice runs off the bike I usually stick to a 9:00-9:30 pace and all my previous triathlons had been completed between an 8:15-9:30 pace. At the time of the race I had no problem with how slow I was running- I was enjoying myself and proud to be doing my first Olympic triathlon. I am still proud I finally mustered up the courage to try that distance, but in hindsight I’m just wondering why I didn’t even try to race the run and why I was basically running slow on purpose.

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The last race I did this season was the 10 for TX, which was probably the better of the 3. I trekked along at a decent pace making sure to save some energy (I thought) for the end. Through the 10k I was actually on pace to match my PR from last year then something happened after that. My pace started to slow at each mile, and I just couldn’t get it back. I, again, told myself it was just too humid to run really fast and took the last two miles around a 9:00 pace. I still finished at a decent pace, but it frustrated me that just the week before I’d ran 8.5 miles at a faster pace than this race and the year before I’d finished 4 minutes faster.

10fortx

Of course it’s easy to say you could have done better when the race is done when you’re not struggling in the heat of the moment, but I can’t help notice that all of the races have something in common- I seem to make it near the end and then give into the mental “this is too hard” battle and stop pushing myself.

I’m just ready to get over this mental block that comes over me during a race and I’m ready to see my hard work pay off in something. I also think lately I’ve been using the weather as an excuse. Sometimes weather conditions do affect performance, but I can’t let it define my whole race and race-mentality. It has been hot and humid, but it’s the same weather I’ve been training in.

I know I’m being really hard on myself; I always am. I am truly proud of myself for getting to any finish line and taking the time to train to get there and I never regret a race I’ve finished. I guess I’m just struggling somehow mentally and I’m not really sure how to change that.

So… there you have it. Feel free tell me how stupid it is to get a 10k PR and finishing my first Olympic Triathlon and still slightly disappointed. I’m putting all my cards on the table and I’m ready for ANY  advice/encouragement/motivation/ whatever it is you can provide about getting through the mental battle and struggling to have a good race season.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2011 8:31 PM

    girl friend I wish I could be as fast as you… 🙂

  2. October 17, 2011 8:41 PM

    I know exactly where you are coming from and I am struggling with the same thing!! I know that we are only competing with ourselves but as with anything we do it always nice to see improvement when we work hard for something. I kind of feel the same way and my post today was about taking a look at my training and changing some things. The warm weather continues on into October here in California and it does affect performance!! I know that sometimes it is a great scapegoat when we have a bad race but it really does affect us. I think that the competitive side of you is great because that is what will keep you pushing yourself to get better at whatever you do. I think you do have some great accomplishments so give yourself a break once in a while and remember that there is always next time. When you feel like giving up remind yourself of everything you put in this post and perhaps it will give you extra push you need to finish strong! I appreciate your honesty and nice to know that I am not alone 🙂

  3. October 17, 2011 8:51 PM

    ah friend. for one: you have to remember that not every race can be a PR. for two: maybe you’re over-extending yourself and it’s starting to negatively effect your training. you’ve been marathon training AND triathlon training… something’s gotta give at some point. that being said, the fact that you’re improving – even if its not as much as you want – AND you’ve been training for two different sports is fantastic… even if you can’t see it that way right now 🙂 you aren’t being ridiculous though – i know exactly where you’re coming from. i’ve felt that way MANY times. love you, keep your chin up xoxo

  4. October 17, 2011 10:09 PM

    I’m the same way =/ If I don’t push as hard as I know I can than I get super dissapointed in myself as well. You have been doing amazing though! You’ve been going, going, and going non-stop. Maybe you just need a little down time? To step back and appreciate running again once you get back into training. Race season isn’t really the perfect time to do that, but it sounds like something much needed. I think you’ll find the perfect balance between tri’s soon and come out kicking some serious butt!

  5. October 18, 2011 1:24 AM

    Brittaney you have always been hard on yourself in may aspects of your life. Always striving to be perfect! I think sometimes striving so hard makes you faulter! Your mind is playing tricks on you. The mind is a very strong weapon against you! It’s like having a mental block only you talk to yourself in your head! I like what Chelsey said about some down time. Time to take a running vacation. I don’t mean forever, just a while and yes find out why you like running. Remember when it started on the treadmill and you said you could only run a little and then you could run longer and longer. I bet if you actually wrote a list of everything yu have accomplished you would be amazed at yourself! Give yourself permission to take a break. I don’t mean for a real long time jbut some time to truely reflect on what running means to you! You amaze me and many others! Don’t be so hard on yourself! With love always,Mom

  6. October 18, 2011 1:27 AM

    Make a journal of all your accomplishments and i think you will see why you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Relax and enjoy your life! You are truely admired!!! Mom

  7. shiningfromwithin permalink
    October 18, 2011 12:58 PM

    maybe your body is trying to tell you something? you are a super star anyways but I know how hard it can be competing with yourself. It’s SO hard to know you can run kick ass runs but for some reason don’t always fall in the same groove on race day as you do during training runs. Guess it’s just the ebbs and flows of life..

  8. October 18, 2011 1:06 PM

    Britty- I feel you. maybe in a different sense completely but still the same feeling. But mine is with theatre. I always tell myself the things i want to do are to hard. But recently I’ve started changing that and going for the challenge. Maybe instead of setting goals for a race you should set a challenge for yourself like, when you look and see you are running a 9 pace mile tell yourself you can do this 10 seconds faster. It always helps me to challenge myself in the moment instead of before hand. Hope this helps! i love you!!!!!!

  9. October 18, 2011 10:54 PM

    Oh girl, I would say stop being so hard on yourself but I do this too sometimes. It’s hard not to see the numbers you want. But sugar, you are still INCREDIBLE! Remember that race day brings so much that we cannot control. Weather, course, how you’re feeling…all of that is different each time we race. Please give yourself a little break!
    And can we talk about your Olympic Tri for a moment. So you weren’t pleased by your 10K time because you have run faster. But uh, hello, you had also just swam AND biked. That’s a lot for those fast legs! You did great girl!
    Try not not be so down and sit back and really think about the amazing things you’ve accomplished this season. You’re a rockstar!!!

  10. Lyndsey permalink
    October 19, 2011 9:15 PM

    I love what your mom said, maybe you do need a mini break and maybe you do need to write down all your accomplishments to see in writing what all you’ve been able to “push through” and achieve! I’ve never thought as running as having such a major mental aspect, but it totally does. I hate running because after 30 seconds I’m focusing on my knees hurting or how hot it is outside or how I’d rather be on the couch or whatever. Just with life things in general, I’m learning to shut the door on negative thoughts that creep in, like that old saying “Give the devil an inch, he’ll take a mile.” You are totally capable of reaching your goals; just start practicing closing the door to letting your mind tell you you can’t finish. Don’t even make it an option to go there. Sorry to have written a book. The End 🙂

  11. October 22, 2011 6:45 PM

    Hang in there! Just remember that every race can’t be a PR.

  12. Kalli and Bill permalink
    October 23, 2011 6:16 PM

    focus on what you learned in each race you were not happy with and learn from it. honestly i think you are being too hard on yourself but i understand!

Trackbacks

  1. October Goals Recap « Fit Chick Britt
  2. Monster Mash 15K Recap « Fit Chick Britt

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