Running is such a mental game for me.
And I know to some extent, running is a mental game just by nature of the beast. It just is.
Sometimes I just feel like it’s more of a mental game for me than it should be and something I should have kicked to the curb in the 18 weeks of this run-challenge of mine.
But then I realize that even the most seasoned runner still has days where the mind doesn’t quit and in enters the mental game.
And I realize that even if I might have a more mentally challenging run than I’d like, it’s usually 1 out of every 5-6 runs and not every single one. For example, my run with my sister a couple of Fridays ago? The complete opposite of mental. It was utter perfection. But at the other end of the spectrum? Enter today’s run.
Today’s run defined mental game. I was initially planning a rundate with my sister this afternoon but she’s trying to fight the ‘notsick’ vibes and opted not to run (good girl!!) and just come over for dinner (on tap, btw? THIS lentil recipe. Another lentil kick!!). In came the self-doubt. Running alone. Something I’ve lately had limited success with. I probably shot myself in the foot by even allowing myself to let that self-doubt creep in. The fear of not running well alone, since the last few times I’ve done solo runs outside have been meh. And just like a self-fulfilling prophecy, it was a meh run.
Started out great. Warmer than I thought (definitely wore a too-thick shirt!). Less windy than I thought (I have developed a fear of running in the wind of late, wtf is up with that?). Speedier than I thought. And then about a mile in, I stopped to take off aforementioned too-thick shirt and my calf started to bother me. And that pain never ceased. And my breathing was up and down, more labored than I thought. And then I had to stop again to stretch my stupid calf. And the run just felt like it went to hell in a handbasket (another wtf – why am I using that phrase lately?!) from there (yet the last mile or so I finally felt like I hit my stride).
So, yeah, I did it. I ran outside by myself. I forced myself onward. But I fought the mental game the entire time. I worried that if I am having a bad run now by myself outside, how am I going to do more of these? And is it because I am alone or because I am going through another streak of ‘meh’ runs? Or am I just jumping to conclusions? OR is it my new sneakers? (still debating that one. I got fitted for these and they feel great, yet, when I run in them, the soles of my feet start to hurt after awhile. Not normal? Must try running with my old pair and see if it still happens…).
Does this happen to anyone else or am I in the minority? I just get so frustrated when I have one of these runs because I want to progress and grow and continue to gain strength and speed and…confidence. I’m hoping it’s just one of those days. And I ran. And that’s all that matters. I can run. And I did.