I had a revelation while running this morning.
I've heard that happens sometimes, but I usualy have such a hard time focusing on just one thought in my head as I run, that I've never experienced it before today. I was struggling through a short 3 mile run- pounding headache, upset stomach, tired legs and back- it was awful. And all I kept thinking to myself was, "I suck at this.", "I can't keep a pace and I can't run more than a mile before I have to stop.", "Why am I trying to run a half marathon? I'm never going to be ready." It was like this the ENTIRE run. Just one negative, berating thought after the other. I finished my run and moped back up the hill to my house, kicking myself all the way for not having done better.
And, that's when I realized why my training has been SO horrible this year. I've lost the joy of running. I am the reason I haven't been running- not work, or family, or weather- just me. I've been so critical and harsh on myself that I just can't enjoy my runs anymore. I mean, Wowsers! Talk about a negative rainstorm on my running parade!
If we look back at my runs this year; the ones where I went out with no mile or time goal were my best runs. Why? Because I just let myself run and enjoy it. I wasn't focusing on time, or pace, or ratios, or anything else. I just popped in my Yurbuds and ran for the sole purpose of running. On my shorter runs, where I was trying to make myself go faster or farther, I self-sabotaged. I became so focused on making myself run and run and run, all while being negative about it, that I got in my own way and created a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I have to try and break myself of this habit. (Especially before my half marathon in 30+ days.) I need to relax and find my joy factor again, otherwise I'm going to self-sabotage myself during the big race and I definitely don't want that! How can I do this though? How can I go out and just enjoy my runs again when all I can think about is how unprepared I feel for the upcoming race? It sucks. On one hand, I know that my finishing time doesn't matter, just the fact that I finish. But, on the other hand, I'm so competitive with myself that I'm going to be so distraught if I don't meet or beat my finish time from last year.
If I can just get myself to stop obsessing and stressing, I might be able to meet my finish time from last year. But, honestly, I just want to be able to go out there and run and have fun and enjoy the race. I don't want to have to worry about time and pace and all that stuff. So, the big question is- how do I make all the noise in my head stop? (Besides turning my music up louder.) I wasn't planning on running tomorrow morning, but I think I may go out for a short run, with no watch on, and just run. It's finally started to get cool out in the morning, I even had to run with a jacket on this morning, and I love this kind of weather, so why not go out and enjoy it, right? However, I'm still open to suggestions on how to combat that big-mouthed, negative voice in my head.