Don’t Call it a Comeback…yet

Yeah, it’s an LL Cool J kind of morning. You’re welcome for the earworm!

This week, I restarted C25K in preparation of a race next month and eventual half marathon training (11 months, holy…). Typically, my C25K starting point is actually the C/couch, where I have been perched for several months. And it’s hard. It’s so, SO hard. That first one minute run feels like an hour.

This time around, I had only been out of commission for 2-3 weeks, so that first one felt… good. And the pace was… pretty decent, actually. And immediately upon finishing, I made plans with my running pal, Sara, to go running again.

And then we did! Last night, I did my Day 2 run and it was still good. Pace was slightly slower, but still well below my usually Week 1 pace. And yeah, I was out of breath. And yeah, my calves hurt (I blame the wedges I was rocking at work yesterday). But it was just… good.

I like good. I would like to keep having it feel good. Because good feels good!

Here’s the thing. I’ve never made it past Week 6. I think this is because Week 6 sucks, but it could be because I am a habitual non finisher*.

And this time, week 6 coincides with my first race since the October, in which I finished last in my age group.

Last.

Yeah.

That was not a great feeling.

This journey has been full of plenty of great feelings (the first time I ran a full mile) and a whole lot of not so great feelings (last year’s Diva Dash). But it is always full of feelings. Always.

Right now, the feeling is anxiety. Not a lot, but I can feel it growing. I get ridiculous race-day anxiety, every time, to the point where I panic as soon as I start running and can’t continue (I can walk, and I always finish the course, but I CANNOT run). And it happens most days when I run at all, although not at the same level. I’m always anxious that I’m not going to be able to do it. (I’m not sure what my brain thinks happens if I can’t do it, but it is definitely scared).

Clearly, anxiety does NOT feel good. And I need to learn how to work around it. Which, in fact, is actually the point of the race I booked next month – to start getting used to it again so that next April, I don’t have a heart attack on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and run into a casino to hide.

I haven’t really found a way to get rid of the anxiety yet. Maybe there isn’t one, but I have to believe there are at least ways to make it more manageable. And once I get that under control?

I’m gonna knock you out πŸ˜‰ **

*Please note my not using the word quitter. I don’t want Meri to give me the look.

** Please pardon the cheese. It’s early and I’ve given up coffee. And cheese.

So, help a girl out? Tell Bec she’s not alone in the race anxiety. Tell her how you work through it. Tell her to suck it up and stop crying like a little girl with a skinned knee.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Call it a Comeback…yet

  1. My DH suffers from terrible race anxiety. He’s up all night the night before, he can’t eat, he needs numerous pit stops… and he runs a sub-1:40 half marathon. Can you just race to have fun? Or back off from racing for a while?

    I have a new mantra for this year. Do Scary Stuff. It hit me after the Boston marathon bombings and the subsequent “warnings” that we should all hide indoors to avoid any future disasters. I blogged about it here: http://healthydisneyguide.com/rundisney/do-scary-stuff-the-experience-is-always-worth-it/

    • That sounds very familiar! I think it’s something I’ll just get more used to as time goes by. I hope so anyway!

  2. No, really, all joking aside, you’re not. My first 5K, the second I was out of the sightline of the friend who came to spectate, I panicked. The first time I ran outside, I panicked. When I run at my dad’s house, I still panic every time I round the corner and can’t see their house anymore. I don’t get pre-race anxiety (except fear that I’m going to sleep through my alarm and miss the race) because I’m not nervous about the actual race. I will finish, and I will be slow. No pressure, man!

    I get the “all alone in a crowd, you’re gonna die” anxiety, though. The best thing I’ve found for dealing with it is just…examining it. I think fear is this very primal, basic thing. When fear kicks in, it’s our lizard brain’s job to just GET US OUT OF THE SCARY THING. But in this case, there’s nothing to be scared of, so it’s our big girl’s brain’s job to point that out to the panicking lizard brain. I also am not allowed to stop running just because I’m scared. I can stop running and move to a walk if it fits in with my plan, or if there’s something concrete I can tell myself is concerning to me (I think I just twisted my ankle) but for “Oh, I can’t breathe!” Yeah. You can breathe, and keep running till you get to the chorus. A couple rounds of “I’m scared!” and “Suck it up, Fancy” between my lizard brain and my big girl brain, and I settle into the run pretty nicely.

    Also (because hey, it’s already the longest comment ever, so just keep talking)…someone has to be last in every age group. seriously. It’s trite, and stupid, but…there’s no reason to let that be the thing that holds you up. Run against you, not other people in your age group. The dynamics of a race can be so different from race to race, and if you’re always worrying about how fast everyone else is going to run, you’re going to be chasing a moving target that darts and weaves. It’s an impossible task. But you always know YOUR last pace, and that’s the only pace you really need to worry about beating. I mean, unless you’re actually Flo Jo, in which case, yeah, other people’s paces are relevant to your life. =)

  3. Suck it up, you big baby! πŸ˜‰ I kid. That’s my army training coming out.

    But you know what? Even though you felt awful about coming in last in your age group for that race last year, you still ran a race. And that’s a heck of a lot more than you can say about most other people you know. So, be proud! You’re no racing against the other runners, you’re racing against you. It’s an amazing accomplishment just to get out there and be actively changing your lifestyle. <3

    As for the anxiety, I dealt a lot with it all growing up because I was so involved in music performance, right from the time I was 4 until I finished my undergrad degree in piano. Instead of fighting against the nerves, I try to let it fuel me, especially for running. I take that anxiety as a little rush of adrenaline to kick my butt into gear.

    I think you're doing such amazing things for yourself, so even if you slip up, even if you don't get to where you originally wanted to be, it's all progress. <3

    I'll stop typing now haha.

    • LOL. No need to stop typing! Thanks, love. I think it will ease with time and practice. So I’m just going to keep going πŸ™‚

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