Tag Archives: race anxiety

Race Recap: Indy Mini-Marathon!

6 May

What a weekend!  Wow – it was one of those busy, running-around, packed full, but truly awesome weekends.  I had such a great time at the race but also had friends in town visiting, a wedding, and plenty to do in between.  Don’t you just love weekends like that?  I must admit I’m pretty exhausted from all the excitement, but it’s definitely ‘good’ exhaustion.

This Saturday I successfully ran my second Indy Mini-Marathon.  And a true success it was –  in every way!  Friday night I managed to have a relaxing evening at home.  I ate my traditional meal of spaghetti – yum, yum, and yum.  I laid out all of my clothes and supplies (knee tape, inhaler, bib, etc.) on the dining room table.  I drank plenty of water and did the X-Stretch video (from P90X).  It is a relaxing, slow video that just focuses on stretching.  It was a great way to do something, but feel calm and ready.  After icing my knees I headed to bed (nice and early – score!).  Adam was a doll and waited up for friends coming to stay at my place for the weekend.  They were running the race as well.   I had a full apartment with many inflatable beds and it felt like a slumber party.  Thankfully I snoozed right on through their arrival and didn’t wake up until morning.

The Preparation

4:45:  Hmm… I’m awake, but my alarm doesn’t go off for another 40 minutes.  I guess I’ll just play with my phone to start waking up.

5:00:  Well, I might as well get up at this point because I’m not going to be able to fall asleep. I’m early!  I like extra time :)

5:00-6:00: Very quietly creeping around the house. Everyone was still asleep!  I made some tea and had breakfast to get that process going nice and early.  The tea I drank was caffeinated.  I read that drinking caffeine the morning of a race can boost performance if you don’t regularly consume caffeine.  It also is a diuretic and I was hoping it might help get things through my system faster.  It was a delicious breakfast and the right amount of food (though probably too much beverage with 2 cups of tea and a cup of water).

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My race day breakfast.

6:00-6:45: Everyone else starts waking up and getting ready.  At this point I’ve had lots of water and already was able to go to the bathroom – great sign of success.  I’m feeling relatively calm, but excited too!  I finish getting ready by taping my knees with KT tape.  I followed the instruction videos on their website and felt pretty good about my tape work :)  Before heading off to the start we take some group ‘before’ pictures and make our way outside!  My nerves start kicking into gear at this point.

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All taped up. I guess I went for the rainbow look? Clearly I’m super into running fashion.

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All set and ready to go!

7:00-7:33: I did a half-mile warm-up jog over to the start line.  I started doing this before my 10/15K and really liked the habit.  It allows me to warm up my lungs but also check to make sure my shoes aren’t too tight and everything is ready to go.  I’d highly recommend this practice – though I used to be against it as I wanted fresh legs.  It’s been really successful for me and I will probably continue it for all the races I can.  With my friends in a different corral, we said our goodbyes and I made a beeline for one last stop at the porta potty.  The line wasn’t too bad and was moving.  Soon it was my turn and afterwards I quickly made my way to Corral D – woah, so far up!  Volunteers checked my bib for the correct corral placement and I lifted up my throw-away t-shirt and proudly displayed my “D”.  After getting accustomed to miles in the 10’s, moving up to corral D was hugely exciting as a runner in the 8’s.  I felt like I joined the big kid club.  It was one of  many moments during the race where I paused and thought back on how far I have come!  Such a neat feeling.  I made a friend while anxiously awaiting the start.  We chatted some, and having that distraction really helped to keep my nerves in check.  Up to this point I was certainly anxious, but a more normal level of worries/nerves.  I had trained for this moment!

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At the start. I look so calm and collected! Hah!

7:33: And we’re off!  It took me about 2 minutes to cross the start line and I focused on remembering that number in case I needed to do some mental math later (not my running strong suit).  The music at the start was pumping, and I couldn’t help but smile as I crossed the start.  This was it!!

 The Race

Mile 1 (8:40): This is fun!  I’m feeling great.  I love running.  Hmm… usually I start out way too fast (in the low 8’s) – I’m kind of surprised at my pace.  I should probably start kicking it up a bit more?  This is so great!  Not too crowded up here – I could get used to this ;)

Mile 2 (8:38):  That’s a little better.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Keep it under control and you can fly at the end.  Hmm… I kind of need to pee.  And wow – is that hip pain?  That’s a new one; kind of early in the race for pain.  Just keep swimming.  Ahh water!  Don’t talk about water.  I really think I need to pee.  Why did I have another cup of tea??

Mile 3 (8:43):  Well shoot, I guess I’m just on the slower side today.  Goal #1: Have fun!  Should I stop and pee?  What is going on with my hip??

Mile 4 (8:23): That’s more like it!  Let’s just ignore the knee and hip stuff – I feel GREAT!! (If I say it enough times it will be true, right??) I’ll get to see my cheering squad soon!!  Just one more mile until I see Adam.  I guess I should start moving to the left side to see them better.  Should I pee?

Mile 5 (8:36): Adam!!  Hi!!  Feeling great.  No knee issues, body is cooperating.  It’s almost Speedway track time – bring it on.

Mile 6 (8:24): Track time.  Hey almost half-way there!  Feeling strong and so far so good.  Maybe I’ll stop to pee at the next one?

Mile 7 (8:16): I actually really like this track.  Let’s start picking up the pace and passing a bit more.  Feeling a bit emotional.  Don’t cry!  So much relief, excitement, and happiness that I’m here running.  That’s a beautiful thing.

Mile 8 (8:22): Track is almost over – then it’s all just heading back downtown.  It’s almost go-time!  You can start safely picking up the pace.

Mile 9 (8:10): All I have to do is run home and run to Adam.  Time to start picking it up.  I’m right on track to beat 2 hours.  If I push it, I could be in the 1:50:00s. This is one of my last times to enjoy running for awhile.  Soak it up!

Mile 10 (8:12): Excellent progress – keep pushing it.  Almost there.  Maybe I’ll just wait to pee??

Mile 11 (8:04): Wow!  I’m seriously almost done!  Now it’s really time to kick it.  I will be done soon.  (A little mental math) Holy moly – is it possible for me to get in 1:49:00s??  Okay it’s time to chase down that goal.  Unleash the beast!

Mile 12 (7:55):  Chase that goal!!  Moving as fast as my little legs can go.  Roads narrow, congestion of people.  Start my “On your left!” campaign.  I’m flying!!  Cruising by people.  Where’s Adam?  He’s supposed to be around here somewhere.  I’m on a 1:49:59 mission people!!

Mile 13 (7:42):  Heaving, breathing heavily, starting to feel pain. I think I’m being the annoying heavy-breather runner now.  Oh well – don’t care, can’t breathe.  Must finish fast.  I’m really not used to running in the 7’s.  I should probably do some training runs with these paces.  Wow this straight away is deceiving – I still have a while to go.  Push it!  Focus.  My muscles hurt!  My muscles never hurt while running – only after.  I must really be pushing myself.

13.1: Make. It. Happen.  You’re almost done!!!  (See time clock not close to 1:49)…well mental math is not my strongest skill – still I’m in the low 1:50s!!

Finish:  1:51:05.  Wow!  Am I seriously done??  That went faster than I thought it would.  Let’s let breathing return to normal.

Phew!  It was an awesome race.  Shortly after I finished it dawned on me that not only did I break two hours, I crushed my old time by about 15 minutes!  What a feeling.  I knew I could be faster than 2:06, but wow!  1:51!  Holy P90X!  I’m still taking it all in days later.  After I finished I collected my medal, goodies, and stood in line for a finisher’s picture.  I left the runners’ area and met up with Adam and his Mom.  They were both ecstatic!  They watched me cross the finish line and said they had an awesome time out cheering.  I was the first of our friends that finished (woah, you read that correctly), so it was nice just having a bit to chat with them.  Hearing about the race from both perspectives (runner and spectator) was fun and we traded stories.  I was still feeling pretty decent and stretched out.  Soon our friends started coming out and we had a great time taking pictures and sharing congratulations.

Finishing this race makes me happy that now I’ll be able to just relax for my next half in two weeks (yeah… who had that brilliant idea??).  The course for my next half is quite a bit hillier and I likely won’t be fully recovered from this race, so likely won’t be seeing the low 1:50s for awhile.  It’s a good feeling knowing I can just relax for that one.  But…this race also made me question – how much faster can I go??  It really has me inspired to incorporate speed work into future training to see what my full potential really is!

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With my beautiful sign

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We finished :)

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With my #1 fan

After hanging around the post-race festivities for about an hour we headed home.  At this point I was really starting to not feel well.  My body left everything out on the course, and it was starting to catch up to me.  After slowly walking home I rested, ate a bit, and took a shower.  I felt better, but honestly for the rest of the weekend I definitely didn’t feel amazing.  Thankfully I’m feeling a bit more myself today.

The rest of the weekend was wonderful with a friend’s wedding, birthday lunches, time with friends, and lots of excitement.  It was a non-stop couple of days!

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All cleaned up for the wedding Saturday night.

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This was the fanciest wedding I’ve ever attended. Absolutely gorgeous!

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The three runners! We still managed to get on the dance floor.

The wedding was absolutely gorgeous, and it was fun getting all dolled up after such a sweaty morning.  Three friends there also ran the race and we were out on the dance floor a few times during the night. I was impressed our legs held up!  It was pretty hilarious – when we left Adam was helping me down the stairs (okay practically carrying me) and I wanted to shout to the few people staring/judging me: “I’m not drunk!!  I just ran the mini!”  Alas, it gave us a couple chuckles.  Nothing like a 1:51 half to really put you in a great mood!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well!

Happy running!

-Kelly

Did you race this weekend?

Race Rematch!

3 May

Well, tomorrow is the big day.  Tomorrow I will run my second Indy Mini-Marathon.  My stomach hurts just typing that!  Right now I’m a bundle of excitement, nerves, confidence, worries, and anticipation.  This will be my first half marathon in a year (I pulled out of one in October), and I can’t wait to see what happens.  My goal is to finally hit sub 2 hours.  My two other half times were 2:06:00 and 2:06:01.  I don’t think I could’ve done that if I tried!  I hope to finally break the 2:06 streak.  This time the race is different.  I am more prepared.  I am more fit (thanks P90X!).  I am healthier.  And most importantly, I am more confident.  My outfit is picked out, my bib is picked up, my knees are iced, and I have my game plan for tomorrow.  Indy Mini – Bring it on!!

This race holds a special place for me because it’s the first race Adam and I did together.  It also holds a little anxiety-filled piece of my heart because it was one of my worst races to date (excluding my Columbus full marathon…  no training = wanting to die).  The Indy mini is the only race I’ve ever cried during and sobbed hysterically afterwards (yeah drama much?).  I am determined to create better memories of the Mini tomorrow.  I am determined to overcome what happened last year.

Why am I so anxious for this race?

Well, that’s just it.  Last year, anxiety literally killed me during the race.  I was excited for the race – I had high hopes that I could help guide Adam to a sub-2 first half marathon.  After all – I was the experienced runner.  I was going to be the rock for him.  We would laugh and run, make great memories, then run through a field of flowers and rainbows.  Early in the morning we were suited up and ready to go.  Even then, I knew something wasn’t quite right.  My stomach wasn’t really taking to breakfast, and I hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom.  The anxiety started setting in.  What if I couldn’t go to the bathroom before the race?  What if my stomach doesn’t stop hurting?  Well as you can imagine this sort of thinking just made my stomach hurt more.  I tried to stay calm as we made our way over.  After a quick successful stop at the porta potties I had a renewed sense of hope: maybe this was just pre-race jitters!  We hopped into our corral and remarkably ran into our two close friends running the race (in a sea of 35,000 people).  This was a huge boost and we had a great time before the gun went off.  My stomach wasn’t doing great – but I did feel more confident I would recover.

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Our fake “finish-line” photo taken at the start line before we began the race.

Soon we were off!  The beginning of the Indy race is pretty congested, but also incredibly thrilling.  Adam and I dashed and darted around runners trying to navigate as politely as we could while staying near each other.  Mile 1 and 2 came and went, but by Mile 3 I knew this was truly going to be a battle.  I told Adam I really needed to stop for a bathroom break.  I kept going back and forth and finally he said “Kelly, just stop!  You will feel better and then we can just continue.”  I followed his advice.  But alas, no luck at the stop.  I couldn’t go!  What the heck, body??  So on we went.  The miles kept dragging on and my posture kept hunching over my stomach the farther we went.  Miles 6 and 7 are around the Indianapolis Speedway (the race track of the Indy 500).  I hit my low point on the track and kept urging Adam to leave me.  I wanted him to have a great run and I was a sandbag pulling him down.  He cheerfully kept encouraging me and telling me he was sticking with me.  I started to get a bit grumpy towards all his perkiness, and after a not-so-nice exchange of words and some tears we continued on in silence.

My stomach was still killing me and I was a black hole of negative energy.  I felt so guilty that I was ruining the experience for Adam.  Around mile 10 I knew I’d be able to finish and I started perking up a bit.  Just a bit.  We kept painfully and deliberately pushing towards the finish and soon it was within sight.  Adam grabbed my hand and literally pulled me across the finish line.  Some days later I could watch the finish line video and chuckle at how pathetic I looked.  Adam holding my hand like a sick child dragging me behind him.  At the time I was happy to be done, but heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken.  We collected our medals and started walking a few feet back.  I just started sobbing.  Not only did we not get the sub 2-hour race I desperately wanted for Adam, I ruined it.  I still hurt and I ruined the day.  I was pretty inconsolable for a few minutes.  Let’s just say lots of running and pressure can quickly take you to an emotional place.  Soon Adam was able to get through to me and I started feeling a bit better.  We stilled managed to get a “B” in terms of what we were hoping to attain time-wise (We had a sliding scale of goals set). We grabbed some food and ended up meeting with some friends at the end of it.

Even now I’m not 100% sure that I didn’t get food poisoning or Montezuma’s Revenge as I dramatically titled it in the days following the race.  But in my gut I know a big factor was my anxiety.  I put too much pressure on myself and either made myself sick or exasperated an existing stomach issue.  Either way, I let my disappointment get in the way of positivity and making it a great day.  It was a good lesson to learn.  As much as pace is important and it’s wonderful to have goals, I never want to let myself get so down for doing something so great.  For goodness sake I ran 13.1 miles!  That is an accomplishment, whether I shaved those 6 minutes off or not.  And the reality is: we didn’t train for a sub-2 hour race.  I should’ve stuck with more realistic goals based on my training (Another important lesson).  Last year during this time my asthma was causing a lot of trouble and I was traveling weekly for work.  I just didn’t make my runs a priority.  It makes sense – you get what you put in.

What about this year?

Fast forward to today: the night before my rematch.  My chance to have a happy and successful race.  Yes I have time goals, but I will not let myself get on the train to negative town.  My most important goal is to enjoy and have fun.  That was my biggest lesson from last year.  Because after all –  I’m running a half marathon tomorrow baby!

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Getting ready to head into the Expo!

Yesterday I went to the expo and had an awesome time.  I grabbed my packet easily and sure enough my bib says Corral D.  Crazy.  Still convinced that’s an error.  Adam and I wandered around the expo and I picked up some tape for my knees, new bottles for my fuel belt, and an awesome sparkly headband (score!).  It was a great success and not too crowded.  I could feel my heart pounding when I was heading into the expo. I’m hoping I can stay calm and anxiety free tomorrow.  I trained for a successful race – I just need to remember that.  I made a game plan for fueling/water stops so that’s all decided as well.  All that’s left is running!

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Red circles are water stops and blue stars are 1/2 Gu.

If you’d like to track my progress you can sign up for that here.  The Indy Mini has race tracking available for all participants.  I love it – my family across the country is already signed up to get updates.  How sweet is that?  Additionally you can follow me on Twitter (@racesrepsramble) as I signed up to automatically tweet my splits.  You’ll see the tweets here on the homepage too.  Isn’t technology amazing?  Enjoy the weekend!

Wish me luck!  And fingers crossed my knees hold up!

-Kelly

Do you get race anxiety?  Have you ever wanted a race rematch?

15K In the Morning!

5 Apr

Tomorrow’s the day!  The day I hope I can just cross the finish line! :)  The I Run This Town 15K is a part of the mini-marathon training series and takes place tomorrow morning.  I participated in the 10K about a month ago and had an awesome experience.  My pace was fantastic (like unprecedented-for-me fantastic, see my post here) and I felt strong – I was thrilled I had decided to do it.  I picked up my packet today for the 15K distance and I’m ready to go!  However, I have good news and bad news.

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Do I look ready or what?

The Good:

I’m happy to report low to no race anxiety.  That’s fantastic news for me.  Normally before a race I get so nervous that I make my stomach upset and affect my run.  This has happened for the past couple half-marathons (particularly the mini-marathon last year) and I’ve been trying to combat it more lately.  It’s super unpleasant (take my word for it) and takes a lot of the fun out of racing.  I’m happy my stomach isn’t churning tonight!  Unfortunately the low race anxiety is due to the fact my mind knows I won’t be performing in peak non-injured condition.

The Bad:

I have an ice pack on each knee and will be thrilled if I can finish the thing!  Never mind any pace goals!  My knees are back to giving me trouble.  I pulled out of a half in October due to knee pain, and it is back to haunt me again.  I’m doing my best by icing, hydrating, and taking some pre-race advil.  This evening I’m staying in and having a quiet night to better prepare for tomorrow.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed and just hope for the best at the race.  Send me your positive vibes in the morning as I could use all the help I can get!

Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend!

-Kelly

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Yeah, this is a bummer.