November 2, 2011 by Carin
This past weekend, my husband and I ran the Monster Dash Half Marathon, our last long race of the year. We went into this race knowing that in the past month, we really hadn’t trained properly for the race. Four weeks ago we ran the Medtronic TC10 Mile, but hadn’t done any runs of 10 miles or more since. Part of this was due to the need to recover and also time constraints that having two kids creates. So, going into this race, we had discussed our goals and strategies. Basically we had a plan going in that we would run between 8:45-9:00 minute miles to come in under 2 hrs. Though, my second secret goal was to capture the house record for the half marathon, which meant beating my husband. Friendly competition! More than anything, this race taught me a few things that I have failed to succeed at during previous races.
My legs felt like crap at the start of the race and I started to doubt if this was my day or not. I kept checking in with various parts of my body trying to get a feel for how I was feeling. I soon just told myself to wait till I was warmed up and just go with it and I did. They eventually warmed up, felt better and I told myself to ignore the aches, pains and twinges that I felt throughout the race.
So, as the race progressed, I was astonished at how well I was doing. I had completed the first 10 miles in the same time I had completed the TC10 mile a month earlier. That was a huge motivator and accomplishment. Now I just needed to get through the next 3.1 miles, little did I know that was going to be a little tougher then I wanted it to be. Around mile 10.5 my legs started to feel heavy and that is when the self talk started. The self talk in the past I had let run my race, instead of me running my race. I was going through my options, walk, run; walk through water stops, alternate walking and running till the end. Then I stared telling myself how tired I was, how much discomfort I was in. I was doing a mental check of all that was ailing me at that moment. I was bringing myself down and had 2.5 miles to go. I soon realized I had to get out of my head. I needed to ignore the voices that were telling me that I had not properly trained for this race, that I hurt too much to keep running and most of all, ignore the voice that was telling me my husband was going to catch up and pass me, after all I had to beat him! So, I turned around my negative talk, I exited my head, and just focused on the next mile and then the next. Soon I was focusing on getting to mile 12 and turning up the pace and finishing strong. I realized that in past races, I had listened to that voice, made friends with it and let it take me down. I have finished several races feeling like I had given it my all, but felt defeated because there were so many what ifs. I let the doubt and pain take over and determine my race, instead of the runner I am determine my race. Yeah, I hurt, but I learned during this race to put that pain out of my head and focus on the miles ahead and not the pain.
So my take away from this race you ask? I learned (I should have learned this a long time ago, duh!) get out of my head and just focus. Don’t give in to the negative self talk because it will take me down every time. This time, I ignored it and guess what; I am now the of the house record holder for the half marathon.