April 19, 2018

The Pressure is Off!

Wow, I started writing this on Sunday, and just haven't had the time to finish it!

Despite the fact that I didn't run the half-marathon on Saturday like I'd planned (for 13 weeks!), I feel so good now that it's over. I had been putting SO much pressure on myself for months to be able to get back to the point of being able to run 13.1 miles.


Now that the race is done, I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders. This training cycle (well, 10 weeks of it--my longest run was 11 miles) taught me quite a bit about my new mindset as I get back into running.

Because I hadn't run in almost a year before I started training for this race, I was basically a beginner again. And that was fun! However, there were also things that I didn't enjoy so much. I learned quite a bit about myself as a runner over the last 13 weeks:

1. I don't like long distances. "Long" is all relative, of course. I know the half-marathon distance is a popular race, but I just don't like those long runs. I have always loved the 10K distance, and from here on out, I think that will be my max distance. I'm not saying I'll never train for a half again (I've learned never to say never), but I certainly don't plan on it in the foreseeable future.

2. Training for a half is hard on my body. I have chronic pain in certain areas of my body, and running long distances flares it up.

3. I like to run at a super slow pace. I no longer mind seeing 11:00's and 12:00's in my mile splits, and I couldn't care less if I never see a PR again. I'm not embarrassed to share my running times, no matter what they may be. It's nice, not worrying about it!

4. I no longer have a desire to sign up for races. Races always sound like a fun idea, but then I feel so much pressure during training. I do it to myself, of course--but I simply can't help it. Then, the closer the race gets, the more anxiety I feel over the whole thing. And the night before the race is simply the worst! Stressing over what to wear, when to wake up, how much time to allow to drive and park, packet pick-up, etc.

5. I love the thought of running just for the health of it. My friend Lance was here last week, and he mentioned that he goes to the gym before work every day and does 30 minutes of cardio. That's it--very simple! I was thinking of trying it for a little bit--running for just 30 minutes a day at an easy pace and see what happens. The simplicity and the lack of pressure sound perfect to me!

6. Following a running schedule has it's positives and negatives. I like the schedule because I don't have to worry about distances and days per week--I just know when I have to do them based on the schedule. On the other hand, it causes the pressure that I hate so much. I find that I dread running more frequently when I am following a schedule. So, I think the simplicity of what I described above would be a nice compromise.

7. Running with Jerry is something that we finally have to bond over! Jerry and I have NOTHING in common--and that is not an exaggeration--so when we started running together for our long runs, it was nice to have something new to talk about and plan for. We had some great conversations during our long runs, which made them much more enjoyable. I'd like to continue to run with him occasionally, giving us something active to do together.


Overall, I'm so relieved that I don't feel the pressure of the race anymore. It has helped quite a bit with my mood, too! While I'm not back to "normal" (I'm still feeling the effects of depression and anxiety), I'm certainly starting to see things moving in the right direction.

Have a great weekend!


13 comments:

  1. A few years ago I got pissed off about my A half marathon race and swore I'd never run another one. The next year I PRed in the 5K, 10k, and 15k. Last year I decided on a whim to run a half marathon and broke through a big PR by 3 minutes...I'm still waiting on a sub 2 hour half. I think taking time off the whole pressure of running races is a great idea, even if you never run another race. Good for you!

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  2. I'm a newish runner, and have my first 10k on Saturday. I signed up on a whim 8 weeks ago. Going from zero running to 6 miles has been scary, but exciting. The running hasn't been the hard part for me, It's pressure I put on myself to stay on schedule that had been driving me to tears. My toddler, weather, and farm life all seemed to conspire against me. (My husband works out of town so I usually don't have any help) So, one day I snapped. I threw away the schedule, and told myself I'm going to TRY to do 3 runs a week. And if I don't, I can always walk the race. It's been a complete game changer! I haven't cried once since then!! I am feeling confident that I will be able to run the whole race, AND I have seen a huge improvement in my speed. I now know that my daughter can only handle about 30 ish minutes in the stroller, plus, that's about I can handle. It's miserable pushing that thing 😜

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  3. Hey Katie, I am following your blog for a while (from Germany :)) and I also tried to become a runner. It seemed like something you have to do because everyone loves running and it is so "easy" to do. But I figured out it is just not my sport. I never have that flow and it is always exhausting. I decided that I can live with not becoming a runner, I enjoy doing other sports (hiking, Karate, Standuppaddling). The only time I love running is when I run as a guide for Achilles in my local club in Germany. I guide blind people and it is not about the miles or speed, it is just about having a good time together and adjust to the blind person. This is just an idea, maybe it would help you to shift the focus and learn to enjoy it again. Have a look if there is a local Achilles clup near by: https://www.achillesinternational.org/ Take care, you are doing a great job, Bel

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    Replies
    1. What a great organization and cause! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Congratulations Katie~
    I feel as if you are the butterfly who just broke through the cocoon. You should be so very proud of yourself for not placing so many demands and limitations on your life. You must be experiencing an immense amount of freedom being "you" ... absolutely phenomenal!!

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  5. I love this post <3

    I wont lie...the selfish part of me like the part where you want to run slower because that is my usual pace sooooo if we ever finally get to meet in real like maybe we can go for a nice short run together :)

    I am the opposite on one thing though...I need races to keep me running. I find solo running kind of boring and have a hard time motivating myself and when I do get out there I tend to go shorter than planned. With a race I have to show up and I have to run a set distance and even if I am not running with someone there are people around.

    XO

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  6. This is great news to hear! I know what you mean about signing up for races and the pressure. It can really be too much sometimes. Back in December I signed up for a half marathon in May but my training went so poorly :( I had minor knee pain but the biggest factor was no motivation. So now, my sister and cousin and I are going to do the relay half marathon instead! We each just have to run 4.3 miles and I am soooo looking forward to! Much more fun than the pressure of having to run it by myself :) can't wait to hear your date idea! Have fun!

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  7. I think that of all the positives to come out of this training cycle, it sounds like running with Jerry was the biggest! What a great way to be able to bond together as husband and wife instead of the demands of "parenthood" all the time.

    Congrats on finding the new freedom! You're welcome to run those "slow" runs with me this summer, since I will be doing SOOOO many of them, lol!

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  8. Found your blog just recently and love every post. I'm interested to hear more about you and Jerry, specifically how you deal with and grow your relationship having "nothing in common" as you say... my husband and I are the same way and I'd love to get some ideas. You've been together so long, whatever you're doing must be working.
    Thanks for sharing your life with us, and for being so YOU, so real.

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  9. So, I've read your blog for a VERY long time and even started at the beginning to "catch up". In this time reading your blog, I've gone from beginning runner to injured runner to recovering from surgery (stupid achilles) runner twice now. I have personally adapted the 30 minute rule recently. Now I am not in the gym every day because I also do Brazilian Jiu jitsu 2-3 times a week, but when I am there, I limit my cardio to 30 minutes...whatever I get, I get. I've had great (for me) 16 minute miles and then I've had 20+ minute miles. Thank you for keeping your blog real...even when it sucks.

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  10. Hi Katie! I recently had a similar epiphany after running a 15k. I am not loving the long distances anymore. I’m registered to run my 5th half in the Fall and then I think I’ll be taking a break and sticking to the 10k distance as my long weekend runs. I don’t want to dread my distances anymore... I’m kind of over it. :) glad to know I’m not alone! ❤️

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  11. Katie!! I love this post because I basically could write it myself. I feel the same about halfs. I haven't done one yet, only 10k but I think it may be a one time thing. I constantly get down and bug myself over 11 and 12 minute splits but I need to learn that's ok. I'm doing way more than a lot of people. I've also lost 90 pounds because of running.

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