A lesson from Hood To Coast

So I’ve been struggling a bit lately switching gears.  All summer I’ve been in maintenence mode with my running.  Now I need to be in racing/marathon training mode and I haven’t been able to get there.  Then, we went to Oregon to run Hood to Coast.  The most fun I have ever had in a race…by far.  If you ever have the opportunity to do this race…drop everything and go.  Be prepared for thousands of smelly runners, more porta potties(aka honey buckets…yea, you read that right) than I care to ever see again, and  compression socks galore.  All that to say, I feel like it was just what I needed to kick my bootay in gear for this next round of training.

While Hood to Coast was a great kick in the pants,  it also has me thinking about a major mistake I made while I was running.  I played it safe.  Really safe(for more on how I became a runner…click here)  I have this problem on race day.  I get NERVOUS.  I do.  Butterflies, shortness of breath, the whole 9 yards.  I’ve been competing in different sports all my life.  I’m 32 years old…I need to get over it.  I need to feed off the race day adrenaline and those endorphins that kick in when you run.  I need to feed off the crowd and the energy.  Instead, I shut down.  I run “slow” out of fear that I’ll hit a faster pace and not be able to maintain it.

I don’t want to be a conservative runner.  I want to be a brave runner.  I want to be faster.  To do that I need to stop selling myself short and go for it.  I need to trust the ability God has given me and stop seeing myself as a “slow” runner who can only go so fast.  Not because I think I’m amazing.  I’m not.  Not because I believe deep down I’ll one day win one of these dadgum races.  Nope.  It’s all about goal setting and I realize my goals have cheapened my abilities.  I can learn to run faster.  I can teach myself to really race on race day and not be afraid or hold back.  I’m sick of holding back.

When I was racing at Hoot To Coast I had one of the best 5 miles I’ve had in a long time, and the fastest mile I have ever run….ever.  It was at 3am..on no sleep or food.   I know I wasn’t hydrating enough or doing all the things you do to prepare for a normal race.  This wasn’t a normal race.  So, if I’m capable of doing that under those conditions, whose to say I can’t do it when I’m fresh and training and racing in my normal life.  It gave me a taste.

A taste of what it feels like to run fast and leave it all on the road.  When I train I usually get more risky during training runs because no one knows if I fail.  Isn’t that terrible?  I’ve always known this about myself.   I always tend to perform better in training or behind the scenes when no one is watching.  I don’t know why.  No pressure I guess.  I can fail or succeed but it’s really just for me.  I always envied people who peak under pressure.  I’m ready to change that.  I’m ready to train harder, push myself just a bit more and really put it all to the test on race day.  I’m ready to be brave.  I’m ready to really race.  Whose with me?

Do you experience race day jitters that keep you from putting it all out there?

What are some things that have helped you race well and race hard?

7 comments on “A lesson from Hood To Coast

  1. I know what you mean about being so nervous. I guess I do get pumped about all the excitement at races and my prob is that I go out too fast and then crash.
    I am trying to learn to pace myself and I think, for me, it’s to watch my Garmin and stay at a consistent pace. I know the “killin’ it” pace and I know the safe pace. 🙂 You are doing great!
    Oh and I second the running group for motivation. It helps me so much. Sometimes I run with a group and most are 10 years older than me and faster!

  2. Walter, I agree. Amazing scenery and atmosphere during the entire race. By far the coolest thing I think I’ve ever done. Next year I’ll just know I can push a bit harder=) We got stuck in that horrible back up too. Hopefully they have it all sorted out next year!

  3. Todd!! It was so fun racing with you too!!! Yes, lesson learned and I’m still proud of our crew. I think we all did awesome especially under those crazy circumstances=) Keep in touch!!

  4. That was the most amazing and scenic race I’ve ran! I was a bit flustered by the traffic situation that messed up our times but ruled it out at the fun comraderie and atmosphere.

  5. It was a pleasure to run Hood to Coast with you. I also felt like I went slower than I should have on my 2nd and 3ed leg. I tried to slow myself down on the first leg. Everyone kept telling me to make sure I keep my pace slow. As this was my first race without obstacles I didn’t know what to expect. I did feel I played it safe, as I wasn’t really sore afterwards. I was tired and fatigued, but still felt I left something in the tank. Lesson learned and time to start training for next year.

  6. Annie…I know what you mean! I run solo but my hubby keeps telling me I need to join a run group. I think it would push me beyond what’s comfortable. We’ll see!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I can totally relate! When I ran my first full three years ago, I didn’t even want to tell people I was doing it…just in case I failed! I’m training for my 6th full now, and have found that making myself run with others helps me push myself. I used to run alone most of the time, but now I look forward to seeing what my run partner and run group will push me to do next!

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