Tag Archive for obstacles in my mind

Running Lesson – Run Your Own Race!

Today I ran the Cash Store Financial Freedom Run for Diabetes Research half marathon here in Winnipeg and did very well – training and improvements continue.  But I got a reminder lesson today near the end of the race from another runner about making sure you are running your own race to your own abilities (and if your body is telling you something bloody listen to it).

I woke up this morning at 223 pounds and was hoping for between 1:45 and 1:50 for a race speed – frankly I look huge compared to other runners shooting for that time frame and it can confuse or sometimes even upset other runners.  It shouldn’t though – I’m still not quite back to where I was in 2002 (1:46:11 personal best on the half at 215 pounds) but I have done some really slow and awful races since then – I have been near the 3 hour mark on a half and closer to 6.5 hours for a full – so I have been the guy getting passed before and while I might not like it I understood in those races that I hadn’t trained properly and I learned that you can never judge how well you are doing by what you see someone else doing – everyone is different, everyone has trained different, everyone had something different for breakfast, etc – You can’t be concerned with other runners – maybe you can be a bit envious if that will help you train harder but in a long distance race like a half or full the whole deal is about what you can do in that moment on that day.  I learned that lesson pretty solid back then and now on race day I can actually appreciate when someone passes me – it is either another lesson for me to learn or highlights something maybe I can improve.  It is all about getting better now and I will take just about any source for info (even if it stings a little sometimes).

So all that being said I saw a runner today that I think might have learned that lesson rather harshly right beside me.

This was a pretty small race with the majority of the runners lining up to be a bit slower (something like 130 halfers in the race) so there weren’t a huge number of people lined up in front of me.  Being a bit of people watcher I took note of folks who really looked like solid long distance runners that I could watch on the course to see if I could learn something.  I noticed this one gentleman who definitely looked like a long distance runner who quickly distanced me at the start – I took notice of him though because he seemed a bit twitchy or nervous and I wondered why someone who obviously looked like a long distance runner would be so nervous at the start of a half.

I did see him again later on the course when he was on a bit of walk break and I passed him momentarily and I figured he might be a high speed run / walk interval runner or he might be partially hurt pushing through the race.  But either way he easily distanced me again – this was probably mile 8ish.

I saw him walking again around mile 11 and almost caught up with him but he started running again but was definitely moving slower and he took a water stop around mile 12 which I bypassed and I was probably ahead for about 10-20 seconds before he was running again and was out ahead of me.

From here we were going pretty close to the same pace with him about 10 strides ahead of me – I could tell he was struggling but still moving so I thought “good for him” and then put him out of my mind as I wanted to steel myself for a final hard push.

I like to push hard and finish races hard (it just feels better to sprint across the finish line instead of staggering like I have done in the past) – it is never about passing anyone or anything like that – when I do this I am usually just solidly in my own head and I’m not looking at anything but the finish line.  I rarely even notice the other runners or the crowd lining the home stretch when I do this.

So with about 0.1 miles to go I pushed – which put me close to this gentleman but he looked over his shoulder, yelled something at me (it was passionate whatever it was – I had headphones on and did not understand – it could have been a shot at me or it could have been an encouragement to push hard – I will probably never know) and then he really unloaded – at this point his top speed was way higher than mine and he was easily pulling ahead of me.  I just kind of shook my head and kept going with what I had.

Just before the finish line though he started jumping up and down on one leg and I thought maybe he was doing a bit of premature finish celebration but he crossed the first timing pad and collapsed on the ground grabbing his leg.

I registered this as I was slowing down as I crossed the line (when I get moving I have a fair bit of momentum and it takes me a bit to stop safely) so I started asking him if he was ok and he wouldn’t respond.  A volunteer nurse and then some course paramedics came to help (seemed to take longer than I would have expected) and the gentleman was swearing loudly and was in obvious pain.  I think he might have damaged something in his thigh.

I watched to make sure people way more qualified than me had him and I wandered out of the finishing chute and got my medal.

I had to ask myself the question – “did this runner really just hurt himself to cross the finish line ahead of me?”  Even just looking at him it was obvious he was a long distance runner (you would never guess that looking at me) but as an observer I could tell he was having trouble – so what made him push himself over the edge instead of letting a stranger pass?  Why was beating me more important than his own physical health?

I don’t know the gentleman and I will never know the mindset he was in when he made his push or why he singled me out to compete against.  All I can do is think about what happened and try to make sure I don’t make that mistake myself.  I can never forget that as long as I am pushing myself to my limit then what others are doing doesn’t really matter on a long race.

A long race is the me built by my training versus the miles.  Nothing else matters – other runners are not my adversaries they are my allies – those slower remind me where I was and faster show me that is possible to be a better me.

In all honesty I hope the gentleman is ok – he obviously was pushing through something physical or mental and he finished his race – there is honor in that.

Do I need a new challenge?

I have done the Goofy Race and Half Challenge 3 times now (one of those times I was actually in shape) and judging by some of the stuff we will be doing this year I’m not sure #4 is in the cards for January 2014.  I may have to shoot for 2015 for my next one instead….but what to do to get my motivation back and get myself over the plateau I seem to be stuck on right now.

Since I finished the Goofy in January my weight seems to be sticking in a 5 pound band and I appear to be having trouble focusing on getting my training runs in for the WPS Half and the Manitoba Marathon.  I need to drop another 20-30 pounds (at least in my head) and I want that weight off going into the Manitoba  Marathon – I would love to take a shot at my personal best and bringing the weight off would play a big part in that.

But I can tell I am getting bored with the constant training, or at least with the constant pressure to train.  I need to find a way to break out of the feeling of pressure and get the miles in and the weight off.

I see a few things I need to do:

  1. Get the protein breakfasts working again – I still haven’t gotten myself back to adding the eggs in so I need to get that rolling regularly
  2. Take a better lunch to work – back in October and November I was taking ham or turkey wraps with me along with other snacks like fruit to work but I have backed off now to basically cheese and fruits.  I think I need to start bringing wraps again as well to give me more small meals during the day so I don’t eat too much at supper.
  3. As above stop eating as much at supper – impacts how I am feeling on the runs and makes it more likely I will skip scheduled runs.  Plus if it is too much I feel a bit dopey or tired after and I end up having more Coke than I should to try to stay awake.
  4. Cut down on the Coke – a little isn’t too bad as it is how I get a bit of caffeine in my system but I have been drinking too much of it lately.
  5. Ensure all the weekly runs are getting done as they should.  All the runs are getting longer now and getting them in will be essential to getting me to where I want to be in terms of endurance and speed (and weight).
  6. Start doing some resistance exercises – I will write more about this separately but I will trying to do daily chin ups, dips, arm curls, shoulder extensions and pushups – this will be to try to help kick in more motivation and get more energy as well as try to head off too much loss of muscle mass with the hoped for weight loss.
  7. Get more sleep
  8. Get running outside – looks like the weather is finally going to turn and I can start doing my weekend runs outside – that should help things out a bit.
  9. De-clutter and clean the house – if I can do this regular it will cut down on any perceived guilt in my own head of not doing my part around the house and exercising instead.
  10. Plan out backyard work for the summer – we have a pool going in this summer and this will require redoing of a bunch of our landscaping in the yard and I would like to have a plan of what we want to do to cut down on any distractions worrying about what we want to do.  It will be interesting to see what the landscaping work does to my training and my weight – it will all depend on when they are able to get in to do the pool (supposed to be early in the spring).
  11. Start hitting the hot tub more – stiff and sore legs and back lately – the hot tub should help with that.
  12. Look at the weight loss plan again and get myself excited about it – own it and work it – new goals are set now I need to make them happen
  13. Start looking at other challenges – should I look at something bigger for the next running challenge?  Triathlons probably won’t work for me as I really don’t float and the swimming portion of the races would not be good.  Maybe I can see after we have the pool to see if I get better but I suspect not (if I can get the weight to come off I will be even less buoyant) – I can swim ok but I am not efficient and that would probably kill me before I even got to the biking or running portion of the races.  Tough mudders?  I don’t know about these – they would definitely be tough but I run against the obstacles in my own mind not against the obstacles on the course and I hate the idea of maybe getting hurt and getting derailed on my training (one of the reasons I don’t like trail running).  Does an ultra-marathon make sense?  The only one in Manitoba that I know of is a trail run and is in late May – there wouldn’t be enough time to train for that starting now and it is only a few weeks prior to the Manitoba Marathon and the risk of injury is too high.

I have to think about this some more.