Tag Archives: mental game

Run-imations: The mental run in my brain.

*A (possible) new mini-series on my ruminations run-imations on running: A snapshot into my brain, on the good, the mental, and even, the bad runs. What I learn, what inspires, what challenges*

Hem and haw.

Hem and haw.

It’s national running day and I didn’t run. What’s up with that (this was yesterday, btw)? Maybe I should run anyway. (note: I actually had planned to run, but woke up hit by the tired stick-got-run-over-by-a-bus feeling and nixed it in favor of extra cuddles with M, as we could sleep in a bit later that particular morning!).

*shelf thought for later*

Tick-tock. Afternoon rolls around. The sun starts peeking through. I see tweet after tweet and blog title after blog title about national runner’s day and how did you celebrate it. (But I didn’t get to!! Wahh!)

I debate going for a solo run (something I keep shying away from, even though I know I used to LOVE running alone. And want to get back to it). I consult my sister. We discuss over Skype. Decide that I will run at 3 if I feel up to it. I go back and forth. And back and forth. And back and forth in my head. Do I? Don’t I? Do I? Don’t I? Opt for a walk to start and if I get the urge, I’ll run (like my strange way of ‘compromising’ with myself?!).

I set out. And it’s raining (but sunny!). Fail

Decide that’s my sign not to run for the day. Decide that it’s okay not to run on national running day – a la this girl, who so aptly put it – today I don’t run because I love to run.

*end scene*

Today: I teach barre n9ne at 6 am and 7:30 pm and tend to NOT run on this day usually, because teaching twice takes a bit of a toll on the legs, no matter how much I try not to *do* too much and just demonstrate. Never fails to give me some sense of ‘dead legs’ feelings!

But I was determined to run anyway, since I didn’t run yesterday.

(there goes that stubborn brain when it comes to running…sometimes I just need to let go of what I schedule for the week in my head, and let it go. I’m working on it.)

On my drive to the studio around 5:30 am, I’m dreading this run…

I really wish I ran yesterday. This was a bad idea. Teaching 3 times in 2 days and planned 2 runs anyway. Idiot.

*teach class…’do’ a little more than I intended. Mentally kick myself at the end*

Walk outside, text M: meet me for a quick run? (even though I really want to nix it).

Drive home. Starts to sprinkle. Secretly hope it keeps raining and I wuss out change my plans. But it stops the minute I arrive at our apartment. (and then secretly hope M isn’t waiting for me outside and doesn’t want to run).

But there he is, looking slightly sleepy, but expectant. Ready to go (damn, he’s so cute. swoon.).

Which way do you want to go? This way? That way (discussing routes)?

We opt for a 5K distance, in part because M has to get to work, and in part because his legs, and mine, are feeling dead-legged.

We set out.

Dammit, my legs are killing me. This sucks. Maybe we shouldn’t have gone. Maybe this is a bad idea.

panicpanicpanic.

We stop for a minute, I catch my breathe. *mentally kick myself for panicking. It’s just a flipping run! get over it!*

We start again. Legs are super tight, but slowly start to loosen after the first mile.

And then…halfway in…there it is:

M: a bunny! look!

Ahhh look at him, he’s so cuuuuuuuute. How does he hide so well in GREEN grass?! He’s brown! OMG he’s sooo cuuuuuute. What do you think he’d do if I went over to pat him?

M: um, probably hop away.

Good point. Maybe we do live in bunnyville after all!! 

*huge grin on my face*

We set back towards home.

This run feels so much better, why do I work myself into such a tizzy? I’m sweating, I’m working, but I feel good. It’s always the first mile that kills. After that, it eases up. Remember this next time, will ya?!

And then, just before we turn down towards the final stretch? TWO MORE BUNNIES!!!

*insert more oohing and aahing over bunny sightings galore*

~~

I swear, this is my thought process on at least 80% of my runs. At least to start. While I have quelled a lot of the overthinking, I still usually start with a bit of dread, and always abhor the first mile or so. And I know this is probably pretty normal (at least the first mile abhorrence part!), yet I still feel captive to my mentalness about it far more often than I’d like. But the more I can turn these mental runs into strong finishes? The better I’ll be at turning the mental game around that much quicker. My run-imation for today: keep going, it just gets better.

(what do you think of this little series?! Run-imations? I just felt like I needed something to capture my thoughts on my runs moving forward, now that my run-challenge is over. And hey, who doesn’t love the word run-imations? ;-P)

My 6-month run challenge: a retrospective.

So, my 6-month run challenge came (quietly) to an end last week and I have been racking my brains on how I wanted to recap my journey. As I look through post after post of the last 6 months of running, I see a few common themes:  consistency, run-volutions and…as much as I hate to admit it, the frustrating head case that I *still* am from time to time whenever I run.

I do, however, think the biggest progress for me in this journey has been this: being at peace with running happy miles and not *for* mileage. Yeah, there are days that I wish I had the endurance and distance in me that I once did. Sure, my mind meanders to ‘what-if’ I try again (to work towards another half marathon). But at the end of the day, I really really still have a big issue with running a mental run. Even though I have improved substantially in not panicking, steadying my breathing and focusing on…less focus when I run, it still happens. It still rises up in me in certain instances (heat, and conversely, cold!), up hills, on longer runs, etc. And until I really beat that, I honestly think that running another half marathon will end up in the same result – frustrating, panicked and running a race I am not proud of.  Not that a half marathon is even my goal or end-all-be-all. Because it’s not. We all know racing is not for me. But it still is something I want to do. There, I said it. It is. I won’t deny it. But it’s not the main goal. The main goal remains…not to run a mental run.

So while I still have a problem with the mental (run) game, this challenge has done WONDERS for me, because I have finally gotten to a point where I embraced the dreadmill (in the winter), AND intervals (and rocked them several times), AND running outside IN the winter, AND sustaining some good mileage (5-7 mile range in the winter whereas previously, it would have been 3-4 – max). I am also finally at a point where I trust running to be my main cardio source (with a dash of spinning sometimes to mix it up), because not only do I truly LOVE it, it is ultimately the best workout for me and magic bullet with barre n9ne. 

This challenge…is not over. I am still a work in progress. But I am okay with that, because a physical challenge should always be just that: a challenge. It should never get ‘easy’ and it should also push me out of my comfort zone. Thus why I love to run. And thus why I *will* rock the mental game too.

Thank you for all of your support, friends, I have loved sharing this journey with you all, even if you aren’t a runner, because I truly think some of the messages and learnings here are universal. Now I think I will pick myself up and dust myself off and go for a kick ass run tomorrow, with M by my side. Pushing myself just a little bit farther.

 

My 6-month run challenge (weeks 17 and 18): the mental (run) game

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.

Right?