random things & running reflections

 

It always happens that I have a few thoughts about a race after I write the recap. I write the recaps fairly quickly which doesn’t always give me time to reflect completely but before we get to running talk, a few random things first.

Thinking-Out-Loud

I bought Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice K-Cups last week. I am finding this coffee so crazy strong for some reason that I can barely drink a cup, at least not too early in the morning.

I found these slip on New Balance sneakers in my closet. They are probably ten years old but I am loving them all over again. They are perfect for this time of year when you aren’t quite ready to give up flip flops but need a more covered shoe on your foot.

new balance

Not that I am packing away the flip flops yet, or the summery polish colors for the toes.

flip flops

I am also not ready to give up Hello Kitty. At the age of 37, I am pretty sure this means I will never give up Hello Kitty.

hello kitty

I never leave the house without my Lululemon Vinyasa scarf. Great purchase last year. It’s a staple in my purse just like my Hello Kitty hairbrush. I should do a what’s in my purse post one of these days.

Time to talk running!

*** I can’t help but reflect back on my PR half marathon (MAY 2013) and think about how clueless I was then in terms of finish times. I was just trying to emulate my previous race, not realizing that finishing 1:45:24 was a big deal because 1:45 is often a specific goal runners set for themselves.

I obviously had no idea that this would remain my PR for over two years and that it’s not so easy to repeat or beat.

Back then, I ran a whole lot less. Back then, I didn’t do Pure Barre and barely strength-trained. Back then, I was just recovering from a randomly still unexplainable hope it never happens again injured shoulder. Back then, I rarely ran a routine run under 9:00 minutes per mile.

So, when I say I don’t know how that race happened, I don’t know how it happened. I do think that there’s sometimes truth to the theory that you can actually run better when you run less since your legs are less fatigued, but still, it’s interesting.

***Around mile 9 of the half marathon last weekend, I thought to myself, THIS IS HARD.

This is CHALLENGING.

It doesn’t matter that I routinely run 13.1 miles, running the 13.1 miles during a race is totally different.

It was at this point in the race where I truly understood why we must train ourselves mentally. Running requires our strength physically but it most certainly needs our mental strength on an equal, if not higher level.

It was at this point when my brain considered taking over, making me think it was okay to slow down a little bit because I knew that slower would be more comfortable BUT I also knew that pushing myself, which was going to have to come from my brain, was what one needs to reach their PR goals in a race.

When you run distances often, you are fairly good at going and going. You know how to find that comfortable pace which allows you to just run endlessly. Because of this, you need that extra mental power in order to pick up that pace and move faster, to get uncomfortable, realize that your legs can certainly do it, and finish strong.

It would have been so easy for me to run this race at a comfortable pace without challenging myself mentally. That’s not why I run a race though, you know?

It’s like we have a split second sometimes where we need to interject in those moments of wanting to slow down, wanting to stop, where instead we tell ourselves, YES, we can do this. Do not stop, do not slow down, just keep going strong.

Easier said than done, right? I like to think though that just by realizing what we need to do, we are actually one step closer to making it happen.

Random things and running reflections #thinkingoutloud @runwithspoons #running #halfmarathon #fitfluential Click To Tweet

Be sure to check out what everyone else is thinking about today 🙂

***********

Who is running a marathon or other race this weekend?!

Anyone else finding Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice coffee really strong?

Are you still wearing flip flops?

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I have a half this weekend, and I’ll definitely have to remember “THIS IS HARD!” I hope one day to get that 1:45, but right now I’m working on breaking 2 hours! I know that I can do it (heck, I’ve done it in training a ton of times and hit that split in longer races) but for some reason I have a block during the actual race. I wore flip flops to take out my dog this morning..along with a hoodie and sweat pants 😉
    Gretchen | Gretchruns recently posted…Thinking Out Loud: Truly RandomMy Profile

    • says

      You can totally do it! During the race, try to take the pressure off by telling yourself you can run this distance and it’s your race. Remind yourself that you have done it in your training and can do it again. Easier said than done, but try those words in your head!

  2. says

    My first half (NYC Half in March 2014) is also still my PR. I keep running halfs where I know beforehand I won’t have time to train, or that will be part of a race challenge, or are just for fun – but I would love to somehow break that initial PR, set just one year after I started running. It will take commitment to a training plan for the first time in my life, but it is interesting how many people that happens to, where the first half is the best they do.
    Alyssa @ Renaissancerunnergirl recently posted…On Being an INFJMy Profile

    • says

      i have run a few halfs too since that one in 2013 that weren’t half marathons that I could go for a PR in but I would like to work on that now for the next one! My PR half was my third half, I have run 8 in total now with only one of the last 5 a real PR opportunity race! Crazy when I think about it.

  3. says

    SO true that miles in a race are challenging no matter what – and runners with experience understand that and keep learning it over and over! It’s really not just the distance itself, there is just so much more.

  4. says

    Lady… I’m wearing BOOTS over here — my feet would fall off if I tried to wear anything less. Flip flops around the house, but mostly boots and sneakers if I’m going out. And so much of running depends on the mental aspect of it, which is why my runs tend to vary a lot depending on what kind of mental state I’m in. I find that a lot of my best runs actually happen when I’m angry or frustrated with something — then it becomes easier not to think about how difficult it is or how much it hurts.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. thinking out loud #151 .My Profile

  5. says

    I totally had those New Balance shoes back in the day. Several pairs, actually. I was such a cool kid haha they’re super comfy! I had the exact same thought about half marathons recently. My first one was in 2012 and I cruised to a 1:39. It was “effortless” (I was dying at the end, but compared to the halves I’ve run since, it wasn’t that difficult). At the time, I was running high-ish mileage for the first time in my life but I didn’t overthink it and I wasn’t training specifically for the race. So I have no idea how I ran that time either because I haven’t been able to repeat it despite actually putting effort in these days. It’s amazing how much easier things are when we don’t overthink them and we just relax. I feel like that’s when the PRs happen.
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Why I’m Running the Newport MarathonMy Profile

  6. says

    We used to watch Hello Kitty, and I love seeing memories of my childhood. I love that you are still young at heart. I guess that would lead me to admit that I do still have stuffed animals on my bed at 22. 😀
    Emily recently posted…How I Stopped BingingMy Profile

  7. says

    Racing is SO MENTAL. I used to joke about how a marathon is 10% training and 90% mental because that’s really what it feels like out there. I have a super strong will. I’m a fighter and this really, really helps me on race day. My bf Lora is a skilled runner, an experienced track and field star in University yet when it comes down to race day, I leave her behind. ONLY and only because of the mental aspect. She’s a gentle soul. Not that I’m not gentle, but I’ve definitely got a few sharp edges. And just because someone is gentle doesn’t mean that they can’t develop that iron will, either. They can! It takes time and experience and practice. Anyway sorry for nattering on here, but I love talking about the whole mental aspect of running because it DOES play such a huge part. Huge.
    Suzy recently posted…Boob Job: Amateur HourMy Profile

  8. says

    I definitely agree that there’s a huge mental part to racing. Miles feel so much harder in a race and I feel like the brain and body don’t always agree on what 100% effort is. It’s been too cold here to wear flip flops for a while, but I’ve been all about Sperrys and am really excited for boot season!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Thursday Things {October 8}My Profile