Morning, and welcome to a new week!
I am pretty sure I say the same thing practically every Monday, but goodness did the weekend go by fast! I meant to study as much as I could on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and err… the need to procrastinate was quite overwhelming, and alas, I gave in. Now the pressure is on, so I am going to bust out this post as quickly as I can, because I do want to talk about my race.
If I really just wanted to tell you about the race and not really go into much detail… well it would not take me too long to write about it. But of course, there seems to be underlying issues rearing their ugly heads all over the place in the context of this race.
You may or may not be able to guess from the somewhat somber opening is that well, it was not the greatest day. I ended up adding nearly 8 minutes to my PR from three weeks ago at the Wicked Half in Salem. I realize that 8 minutes is not all that bad, and I cannot expect to run a best time in every race… I understand this. But there is something else that is irking me, causing me to question some things, while I try to understand if this is my disordered brain talking or actual reality.
Let’s start from the beginning!
The race started promptly at 8:00 am, it was about an hour away and I wanted to be there by 6:30 to secure a parking spot. Therefore I knew I had a rather early wake up call ahead of me.I know most of you are probably wondering why the heck I would get up about an hour and a half before I have to leave… Well I have a certain routine that must occur before each race- basically an hour to have coffee and get things moving (sorry TMI, I went there), go on the computer and simply tune out for a while. It calms me to say the least and then I feel more ready to (hopefully) kick some butt. I arrived at the race at exactly 6:30, found a parking spot and ate my usual pre-race meal: bread with almond butter and a sliced banana, consumed in the car! My gracious Fasha (dad) was coming to support me at the race, so we met up and made our way to the starting line. During the time we were waiting around, I was trying not to think about how fatigued my legs felt (as I mentioned on Friday ), and made a decision not to dwell on such concerns… the only difference it would do now is cause me to become even more anxious than I already was. I have been quite a few races at this point, some with a small number of participants, and others much larger. However, the number of runners on Saturday far exceeded any amount I have ever experienced…. around 22,000 people! You had better believe that makes for some major cluster f*cks, especially around the bathrooms and porto-potties, how lovely. I had been trying in vain to meet Cait before it began, but the lines for the bathrooms took much too long and I had to rush to the start with only about 5 minutes to spare. I was quite disappointed as we had talked so much about saying hello to each other… the moment does come later though! Oh and I did have to sneak in a quick pic
P.s. I ALWAYS race in those shorts... that's why they make an appearance so often!
It was dad’s turn to take over the camera, and he got some great visuals on just how many people were participating that day.At 8:00 am, we were off! I shall just give you a brief overview of the entire 13 miles… I started out feeling quite energized as a matter of fact! The first two miles went by quite quickly and I was staying around a 6:55 pace for both. Another new-for-me feature of this race was the pacers that ran with the participants. They had yellow shirts on that marked what time they were aiming for so you could choose to run with them to maintain an understanding of your time. I saw a woman with a 1:35 yellow shirt on and thought great, all I have to do is keep her in my sight! Yeah… that didn’t happen. It was only about 3 miles in that the exhaustion set in- dead legs, light-headed, a bit out of breath… classic feelings of doom, the ones you really do not want to experience knowing you have nearly an hour and 20 minutes of running ahead of you. Initially I tried not to freak out, and hoped the fatigue would pass as I became more warm. Nope. I simply felt worse and worse as the miles went on- the 1:35 pacer had pulled away quite some time ago, the 1:40 was long gone too… It was at mile 5 that I knew this was not going to be a successful race. I will be honest with you and say that it was the first time I had every really considered stopping and dropping out of the half. But no, the thought came and left just as quickly, my obsessive, controlling brain would never allow such a thing to happen, and I pushed on despite feeling like I was running with a bag of bricks on my back. One of the major issues I was dealing with involved my feet. After all of this time, you would think that I would know basic “rules” of running, you know the ones that you read and should never break. Well how about the one that many of you are aware of, Do not run in new shoes on race day. Guess who didn’t listen to that rule? Me. Guess who figured it would be totally fine as they are the exact shoes I always run in (just new)? Me. Guess who suffered because of her stupidity and should have listened to her mom when she suggested wearing my old pairs? ME! Basically it felt like my feet were numb the whole time and being chafed near the pinky toes… quite a distracting sensation if I do say so. The next 5-11.5 miles was a blur- a tired, frustrating, feeling-like-I-am-going-to-die blur. I stopped checking my watch, no longer caring about my time… rather I just kept telling myself this would eventually be over, the pain is going to stop, everything will be fine. It was during the remaining 2 miles of the course that I gave it my all to the finish… as my competitive drive was put into action. Nearing mile 12 I was suddenly surprised by a familiar face, but it was someone I had never officially met, Cait! We exchanged a few words (me telling her that I was “dying”) while sucking wind at each other while my “feeling bad for myself” feelings temporarily deceased. I am rather thankful I saw her at that moment I did because she was the one that gave me the motivation I needed to crank out the final distance. It was nothing against Cait at all (seriously lady I mean this) but I could not let her beat me. I blame it on cross country where you find a target ahead of you and beat them to the finish. I picked up the pace, practically sprinted down the hill (loved that) to the end, tried to ignore my screaming feet and legs, and finished with a time of 1:44.1. I was smiling and full of joy.. because it was over! And I was able to chat with Cait a bit more too Congrats to her, she got a PR! After the race, I refueled a bit, managed to get a free massage without having to wait for an hour, and spent some time with dad before departing. So as I said in the beginning I added just about 8 minutes to my time from three weeks ago and yeah it bothers me, but there is more to this frustration. As I talked about on Friday, I went hog-wild at the Expo- sampling everything and anything I wanted, and honestly not giving a hoot about the number of calories I was taking in… and on a rest day! Well that’s not true actually, I was aware of what I was doing, but I hoped the extra fuel would replenish my body to keep the fatigue at bay that I had been experiencing all week. I continued this attitude for the remaining part of my day- not stuffing myself or anything, but having what I truly wanted and know would benefit me for the challenge next day. Well despite the efforts I have made recently- the extra rest days, much less exercise than I used to push myself through, continuing to eat the nutrients and calories I need to, I still had a crappy race. That whole day I was thinking mehh this isn’t fair, I don’t deserve to have a bad time today! Body, I have been treating you right, why are you doing this to me? I am aware of how bratty? this sounds, so let me try and explain. I know that one of the main reasons I was never “sick enough” (physically at least) to be diagnosed with Anorexia, is because my love of exercising and being in-shape fueled me to at least consume minimal amounts. The athletic ability that I have is so important to me, and I honestly don’t know what I would do if I could not exercise. When I realized the damage I was causing my own body to have, slowly allowing it to deteriorate while still demanding extreme amounts of physical work, I knew I was heading down the path toward an injury and other serious medical issues… Ones that would leave me unable to workout. The past two races I have participated in have been wonderful success, clearly indicating that I am finally “doing things right.” We all have bad races, and I am aware of this…. so why am I dwelling so much on this particular one, when I was did so well just a few weeks ago? Although I sure as heck didn’t used to be, I hate to admit that I am a half-empty cup kind of person. I focus on the negatives in situations whenever I can, without even realizing it. I know I have discussed this before, talking about my attention to flaws, but that does not mean I am over this type of behavior. When it comes to this event, it’s hard for me to just move on from it, my disordered self has to linger on how I terrible I felt during it and the less than stellar time. I will admit to some pretty harsh and honestly just unintelligent thoughts in the past few days- well you must be gaining weight, that’s why you’re tired. You ate all of that food AND you performed badly? Well what was the point of that then? I mean I didn’t even consume Gu or anything like that during the race because I just said to myself, “ehh screw it, you don’t need the extra calories anyway, you are already not going to PR!” <– Yes, that happened… I didn’t take in any fuel during the race. Afterwards, similar ideas of restriction were popping into my head. I felt kind of sick anyway, so it was “easy” for me not to eat too much, despite the knowledge that I KNOW I had to refuel asap. I just didn’t think I deserved extra calories when I so graciously provided my body with a surplus the day before and still it didn’t help. I did eventually eat food, but I was on high-alert mode, counting what I was eating and making sure not to have too much. I honestly could easily see myself continuing down this destructive path... slowly but surely eating just a tad less, exercising just a bit more, losing just a few pounds so I can feel comfortable with myself again, instead of a bloated pudge. Because in my mind, this recovery is not really working anymore, I am not performing how I want to, and I am getting fat again! Okay wow… time to knock some sense into myself. When I woke up yesterday the disordered thoughts were quite clearly still there. I was not going on skipping breakfast or anything extreme like that, but I was making plans for myself to get the gym at some point that day… just to burn a few extra calories to make up all of the extra I have been having lately! No rest day needed, I took one Friday after all! Or nah… I don’t think I will put walnuts on my salad today, I don’t really need all of that fat... and so on and so forth. How about SCREW THAT, I don’t make a huge mistake and take up my old habits again! Goodness it is so easy to be persuaded back to a routine that once caused my life to be a living-hell. Perhaps I would not get back to my worst point immediately, but it could happen over a long period of time. A dark hole that I slowly but surely fall back into, and the grasps of an eating disorder take hold of me once again. I know what you must be thinking, she is crazy… she is like this after ONE BAD RACE?! And you’re right, I am… but this illness does that to you I suppose. As I said early, I am quite “good” at focusing on the bad stuff, the things that make me unhappy. I have no idea why this is, knowing perfectly well that maintaining a half-empty view point is a cynical way to live. But it’s so hard sometimes to understand that in reality, I would be so much happier if I could just let this eating shiattt go. I refuse to allow a race that I didn’t even add that much time to, to be the starting point of a destructive path. What I always remind myself when I experience those oh-so-comforting feelings of intensifying my focus on food and my body, is how mad, frustrated, pissed off, and miserable I used to be. That is the motivation I need to continue this recovery business, because deep down I know how terrible life used to be, and I was the cause of this contempt. Honestly, going through the motions of my typical day, where I would deny, restrict, deprive…it wasn’t really a life at all, and I was a shadow of the lively and fun woman I used to be. Understanding why I think such things allows me to clearly see the irrationality that is playing a starring role in this situation. So yes, back to the plan that I truly believe leads to regain myself again, both physically and mentally, and live a life where I thrive. I also went to a rather awesome concert on Saturday night, but more on that later… this post has gone on long enough 1) I first want to ask, overall, how was your weekend?! I had a really great one after the race was over! 2) How can you tell that your body needs rest, and one day off is not going to cut it? I believe I have reached that point. 3) If you had a race this weekend, how did it go? 4) Have you ever broken a “rule” of running or any other sport? No new shoes ever again! 5) Do you ever let one negative aspect in a situation take precedence over everything else? *Sorry this was so long… word vomit at its best! Have a good Monday everyone