hard and heavy racing

“It can be hard and heavy, but still be right.”

~Vanessa Faye Foerster

Cliff Notes Version: I raced the Drake 1/2 marathon on Sunday! 💙💛

  • This was my first race of 2022
  • At the race start, the windchill was in the upper 30s with actual temps in the mid 40s, it was sunny, and SUPER windy (~30 mph sustained winds with higher gusts)
  • This is a hilly course
  • I felt “heavy” with pressure going into this race…pressure I was inflicting on myself
I am here for it! #LFG ⚡️

Longer Version:

After a shake out run to warm up, I made my way up to “corral A” shortly before the official race start. I barely heard the National Anthem (and I’m quite certain the people behind me had no clue it was being sung) due to the high winds and poor speaker quality/positioning. While standing there waiting for the race to start, I realized something was missing…excitement. The excitement I typically feel before the start of a race was absent. I felt “heavy.” I was carrying the weight of so much unnecessary pressure on my shoulders…pressure I was inflicting on myself. Pressure of needing to do more. Pressure of needing to be more. Pressure of needing to be somewhere I’m not yet. Pressure of thinking I should be…blah, blah, blah. I was in a state of discomfort before the race even started.

When the horn beeped to signal the start of the race, the “elite” + “corral A” runners were set loose. Having run this course multiple times in the past, I know the terrain, turns, etc. throughout the course, so I knew to take it easy out of the gate as the start is uphill with a right hand turn a few blocks into the start of the race.

I kept a comfortable (ish) pace in the beginning miles while looking for carrots…people to pick off in front of me. At around mile 3 there is a significant downhill that is about a mile long. I used this stretch to check in with myself…how is my effort? How is my fueling? How is my body temperature? What do I need in this moment? The emotional discomfort was still there…”I’m not enough.” I decided not to fight or ignore these thoughts causing me to feel insecure. Instead, I “sat” with them and tried to move through them. Why am I having these thoughts? Where are they coming from? How can I change the way these thoughts make me feel?

As I started the climb back up at mile 4, I removed my gloves and took in a gel. I was starting to heat up just a bit with the winds at my back, but decided to keep my long sleeved tech shirt on for a while longer. I kept picking off people one by one in front of me, but those thoughts of “I am not enough. I am not fast enough. I am not good enough. I am not strong enough. I should be x, y, z” were still plaguing my brain, so I continued to “sit” with them. Why am I having these thoughts? Where are they coming from? How can I change the way these thoughts make me feel?

Somewhere between miles 5 and 6, I was feeling really warm, so I took off my long sleeved tech shirt and tied it around my waist. I tried strategies I have used in the past to try to pull my brain back in the present moment and enjoy what was left of this race experience, but they just weren’t sticking.

At about mile 9, I took in my second gel. And then as I crested the last big hill at mile 10, I reminded myself that I GET to do this. Sadly that was a fleeting thought that didn’t stick and I was back to feeling the heavy weight of “I am not enough” shortly after. My legs toyed with the possibility of cramping multiple times from this point through to the finish line. As a result, I slowed my pace a bit to allow myself to continue running and avoid cramping which might cause me to walk (or worse…completely stop moving).

As I made my way back toward the stadium and the finish line, I had so many emotions…I was sad, disappointed, and humiliated with myself and my finish time. I had spent the majority of this race in a mental space that I don’t typically experience on race day; the discomfort was real.

The Drake 1/2 Marathon had loads of discomfort, burning in my legs, a pounding heart, heavy breathing, salty sweat in my eyes, exhaustion, emotional discomfort, challenges, learning, and growing, AND you know what?! I’m S O D A M N P R O U D of experiencing all of it because all of this helps me create the best version of myself! I am here for it! #LFG ⚡️

As I walked to the car, I thought about and processed the emotions I was feeling. I thought about what I had overcome during the race and found a whole list of things to celebrate:

  • I showed up to race despite feeling “heavy” the week before…therefore, I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH!
  • I was full of discomfort for the majority of the race (physically, mentally, and emotionally), but I didn’t try to fight the discomfort or put a temporary blanket over it to hide it…instead I sat with the discomfort and moved through it (and I continued to process the emotional discomfort yesterday at counseling)…therefore, I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH!
  • I didn’t quit…therefore, I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH!
  • I didn’t walk except for a few steps at aid stations to avoid spilling my water while drinking it…therefore, I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH!
  • I problem solved to fight off the possibility of cramps in my legs…therefore, I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH!

While this may not have been one of my best races (physically, mentally, or emotionally), it was the race I needed in this moment on my journey to my next level. And ya know what?! I’m SO DAMN PROUD that I allowed myself to experience all of it, to “sit” with it, and to move through it because I will be so much stronger for it. This experience will aid in my ability to create the best version of myself that I can be because I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH!

Finish time: 1:59:55 (9:09/mile average pace) AG: 7/30, Females: 121/360, Overall: 390/793
Gear: Coeur Sports fitted run shorts, Coeur Sports triathlon tank with shelf bra, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies

3 thoughts on “hard and heavy racing

  1. I know that you are disappointed regarding your results vs. your goals, but you finished! You did more than most people ever even try to do, and in tough conditions all around. I know a few people who would rather quit than have a “bad” result on the internet, and that is NOT your attitude. Most people can only dream of a 1:55 and that is your disappointment- that’s how GREAT you are doing!!

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