A Lesson in Going Out Too Fast
I've been chasing that magical moment where things fall in to place and I prove to myself and others that I am on my way back. I've been training hard. Eating and sleeping right. Doing Jasyoga, keeping my blood levels in check with InsideTracker, believing in myself, the whole package. I knew going in to this season that I wanted to race and race well. By all means I should be but I think maybe I am wanting it too much. I am out of practice in racing and I am beginning to realize that it's showing. I build up each race so much hoping "Today will be the day" and toe the line knowing that I can but that is there the breakdown starts. I am getting to the line wanting to run fast so badly that I become over confident.
The first mile always feels relatively easy. My coach told me it would feel hard and when it didn’t I thought I was going to have a great day. That was the adrenaline talking. I should have held myself back a bit because even deep down I knew 16:15 was more my speed. I went out with the leaders at 5:02-5:06 pace aka 15:40-15:50 pace and it felt great but with my current fitness I think that the lactic acid built up too quickly and I hit a wall. Your body just can't recover from going out that much faster than what you are capable of.
I have been struggling for a while now to just be where I am and had I just listened to that voice in my head that said "Don't go out with the leaders, stay relaxed" things could have turned out differently. I know that being over confident typically comes from a lack of confidence and in my case it was. I want everyone else to know that I really am better than it may appear. I am not giving my current level of fitness a chance to show itself.
The hardest part of trying to race the way I have been is the pit in my gut that forms each and every time I try to force it and fail. I walk away with a depressed sinking feeling that makes me want to run away and hide. It adds another hole in my already broken up confidence. I leave knowing that I wasted a perfectly good opportunity and I can't go back in time to fix it. Now I have to go back to work with a race in the distance. I have to try to stay positive despite my brain only knowing how it feels to fail. I went to sleep last night feeling hopeless. Unsure if I could continue to train hard and deal with this kind of disappointment.
After sleeping on it, I know what I did wrong. Like every good hypochondriac I woke up this morning and started googling. I feel like I woke up thinking about what happened as if I was subconsciously still thinking about it as I slept last night. I googled “going out to fast and lactic acid” and the description of what happens was literally what happened to my legs last night and at gate river.
Moral of the story I have to start being okay with where I am. I have said this before and yet I still haven't let myself fully accept it. If I had just been where I was, I would have raced yesterday like I wanted to. I would have walked away super happy with my performance. I know that being where I am right now is far better than it was last year, I just have to let it happen.
I’ve talked through this with every person who will listen. I’m thankful for the wonderful support system that makes days (or years) like this manageable. I’ve tried to soak in what everyone has told me but, then I begin to let what people are probably thinking about me pull me back down. I am in all honestly having trouble coping. I know it happens but it’s the cumulative feelings of getting beat down that are getting to me.
My plan is to leave it all behind and run a smart race at Penn Relays (please let me in!). Start conservatively. Finish hard. I’m forgetting how it feels to get to the end of a race with room to kick. I know I was capable of running better than I did yesterday (and I know I keep saying that) but I also know I what I did wrong. The next 3ish weeks will be more work, more focusing, and less worrying. Glad I booked that trip to Boston! I’ll be needing all the good energy I can get!