Little voices in my head

It is now less than one week, – six days – until I do my best to run the Grim Reaper 70 mile event.  S e v e n t y m i l e s . . .  Despite that being a pretty long way and something I have never yet to attempt, I was actually more nervous about my race on Thursday.

Thursday night was our running club 5 mile BBQ race.  On the last Sunday in July each year, Wellingborough & District AC holds an annual 5 mile race, the Welly 5.  The Thursday before the club race is held, the club runners and their families are invited to run the route.  It is tradition that the runners chosen for Sunday’s team marshal the club members race and provide a water stop at the halfway point.  Then, once every runner has been cheered over the finishing line, we head to an enclosed area for a BBQ.  Every year we update our club website photo as all runners congregate in a group along with the banner before the race begins.

W&DAC at the Welly 5 BBQ runI felt a lot of pressure to perform well, and with all runners as members of our club it was difficult not to automatically ‘place’ myself as to where I felt I should finish.  I picked a target runner that I aimed to beat and ensured I passed her early on.

But before we passed the second mile marker, my head was telling me something was wrong.

“Wow, this is feeling really easy.  I’m running sub 9mm and I feel great!”
“You know this means you’ll burn out later on and end up having to walk.”
“But what if this time that’s not the case? What if this time you can maintain 9mm all the way to the end?”
“You’re lying to yourself if you think that can happen.”
“OK, I’ll slow down a little…”

“Told you you were going too fast.”
“I’ll be fine, I’ll just walk this little hill.”
“You know once you walk a little bit you’ll have to walk again.”
“That won’t happen this time!”

“OK, I’m going to have to walk again.  I’m such a weak person.  Why do my legs feel so heavy?  I’ve only run 4 miles so far!  I’ve got to run 70 next week!”

“At least the support at the finish is strong.  Oh look, see I do still have energy…why can my legs move at a sub 8:30mm pace for the last quarter of a mile?!  They lied to me earlier….is that the finish line?  Oh please let that be the finish line…Yes it is…there’s too many people around it!  Where am I going to lie down the second I cross that line?!”

Me at the Welly 5 BBQ run

As I crossed the line I flung myself onto the grass to the left in a dramatic fashion to lay flat out.  I quickly leapt up again though as I realised the weeds I’d laid upon were covered in tiny barbs which were now embedded in my skin and stinging as my sweat was pouring into the holes they’d made.  Perfect end to my awful race!

Entirely my own fault though.  It was hotter than I would like and I was too pig headed to slow down more at the start.  The lady I was aiming to beat strode out past me about 3.5 miles in and went on to beat me by more than a minute.

As is often the case though, a great run follows an awful one and I headed out on a lovely 6.5 mile trail run in Kettering last night with fourteen others from the club.  The weather was much cooler and we were out on a beautiful new route out around the water.

Running club nights are actually Tuesdays and Thursdays, but there is usually an informal road run on Mondays, trail on Wednesdays, trail ending in pub on Fridays, and early morning long runs on both weekend days.  As Dan was off on his stag do in Manchester this weekend I took advantage of the pub run (although this time, not resulting in a pub finish!) and made my miles up to 9 for the day, as per my plan.  Some horrific images of Dan wearing just an oversized nappy and a baby bonnet were circulating on Facebook last night…I think it’s best I stay away from Facebook from now until the wedding!

I won’t be racing on Sunday, but instead providing a road block at the start and marshaling on the finishing straight, just like last year.  But if you fancy racing a fun fast, flat 5 miler in Northamptonshire, then check it out!  Online entries are now closed but there will be entries taken on the day.

8 thoughts on “Little voices in my head

  1. I think this heat would play mind games with anyone. I admire you for running the crazy-long distances you do at any speed. I also admire people who run uber-fast short races. There aren’t that many people capable of doing both to the same degree of ability that they do their one strength. It’s very hard to run Ultras and also excel at 5 mile races! Don’t beat yourself up over slightly conflicting goals. If you do decide to focus solely on speed and shorter races, I have no doubt that you’ll blaze past every one of your goal target runners. For now, you have a whole lot of post-70 mile race glory to bask in by the end of next week :)

    Jess recently posted…Gym Junkies II (Hopefully With Comments This Time)My Profile

    1. Fingers crossed…but don’t jinx it! 😛
      Thanks Jess, I know I can’t excel in everything. I’d just like to be a middle-of-the-pack runner more than a at-the-back runner. I am feeling very inspired and enthused since my poor race though. Ultras is more my thing, although after Dusk ’til Dawn in October, I might give myself until the Spring marathon season off as a little break to bring my speed up a little.

  2. I can’t remember what book it is, but I remember reading somewhere about ways to deal with the mind during running, especially when doubts creep into your mind, it was really good, and all about practicing ways to deal with those thoughts when they come up and having a process in place to get past them. I’ll try and figure out what it was, and let you know.
    Lauren (@poweredbypb) recently posted…Ilu Fitwear ReviewMy Profile

  3. It’s funny because I had to do another one of those fitness test things at the university again last week – but this time just 3 minutes of running. Only 3 minutes. But 100% flat out max effort guns blazing sprinting. I was so nervous and really didn’t want to do it. Before I did it (and while doing it) I would have much preferred to be running a half marathon or marathon. That’s crazy right? That’s how much I hate sprinting and fast running. I completely understand your pain in running *just* 5 miles. It sucks. But I think you did a great job AND I think, more importantly, you’ll smash the 70 miler. It’s what your made to do! I like that we’re kindred spirits in our love for long distance – though you are far superior with your high mileage and ultras!! I want to be like that one day :)

    1. Thanks Anna. That’s a lovely comment. :)
      I am exactly the same. I end up so much more nervous before parkrun than any marathon or ultra I’ve ever run. Completely irrational but uncontrollable at the same time.

  4. The heat is horrendous to run in so I can completely sympathise! And flinging yourself down on grass is the natural end to any race so which evil git left spiky plants there? You can’t be expected to check everything!! 😉

    You’ll be brill in your ultra … you are GOOD at these! Can’t wait to hear about it. Have faith – we all believe in you. xx
    Sarah recently posted…Am I just revoltingly sweaty?My Profile

    1. Glad not everyone will be thinking I’m odd for flinging myself on the grass then! 😛
      Thanks for the faith in me…you were right! I am a 70 mile ultramarathoner now!!! 😀

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