|Start of the Monster Mash Half Marathon – Oct 13th, 2012|
Congratulations to all the Monster Mashers who got out there in the windy and slightly rainy weather last weekend! I’m not going to lie, that felt like one of the toughest half marathon courses I’ve done yet, although I’m not sure if it was because it was so hilly, or if I just hadn’t trained well for it. Probably a combination of both.
My one consolation, thank goodness, is that I was already familiar with some parts of the route, having run all over Kadena Airbase on numerous occasions. Also, I had done part of the course a few weeks earlier, to get some idea of what I might be in for. I remember thinking at the time that I would be a fool to run the race, given how I felt on that particular training day, and yet, there I was last weekend, standing at the start line wondering what on earth I was doing there!
What is it about races that they draw us to the start line, even when we are convinced that we’ll stay away? I had been telling myself for several weeks that I would not run the Monster Mash Half Marathon – mainly because a) I hadn’t been doing too well on some of my training runs, and b) I have only been logging on average, around 24 miles a week for the past six months or so (compared to previous training months where I would typically log a minimum of 30 miles a week).
So how did I end up at the start line then? Simple – I told myself I’d just run “for fun.” Who was I kidding? Who runs a half marathon for fun? Or any race for that matter? Okay, okay, some of you actually do run races for fun, and I envy those of you who do. But there are many of you reading this, who like me, don’t like to run a race without challenging yourself.
I don’t see anything wrong with a little self-competitiveness, but when we know we haven’t prepared well for a race, we need to be mindful of the potential to hurt ourselves if we set our sights too high. I’ll be honest, I’m all about visualization and telling myself “I can…..” but I also think that the scope of “I can“ goals should be realistic. A good friend of mine helped reinforce that idea when she suggested that I treat the race as a “hard training run.” It’s funny how words can make all the difference, but somehow those few words appeased my A-type personality. Essentially, what she was saying, is that I could run hard without pushing beyond my current capability. But more importantly, I could still run hard without injuring myself.
Still, after much back and forth debating, right up until the morning of the race, it was a tough decision to make. Should I run, or should I not run? Finally, with the advice I had received, tucked away in the back of my mind, I made the choice to run, but not “race.” Switching my goal from one which would have forced me to try and finish the race within an unrealistic amount of time, to one which instead allowed for me to run hard but finish comfortably, took an enormous amount of pressure off me. My adjusted goal still required me to “push myself,” but within a safe parameter. The outcome, I imagined, probably wouldn’t be great, but neither would it be disappointing.
My point, I guess, is that sometimes it pays to switch off the competitive button, and play it safe instead. With several other races lined up in the near future, was it really worth putting my body at risk just to try and chase another race PR that I already knew would not be possible? Definitely not!
Some races are worth putting out the all-or-nothing effort, but not all of them are. Practising a little self-restraint, and switching off that competitive button from time to time is not only good for the body, but good for a little character-building as well.
|Waving to friends on my way to mile 5
It occurred to me the other morning, while running alone in the dark, that it would be easy to trip over something unseen and seriously hurt myself. I thought about this because I had recently seen a Facebook post by a friend who, in the early hours of the morning, almost knocked himself out while shutting the hood of his car. I wasn’t going to name names, but since you said it’s okay Paul, I’ll go ahead and tell your story.
Paul was in the carpark of the Foster Pool at 4:50am, ready to start his Masters swim workout, when he accidentally closed the hood of his car on top of his head. Anyone who knows Paul, knows that he has an unfortunate tendency to injure his head. But that’s not where I was going (sorry Paul, couldn’t resist); the point I want to make is that his injury (shown below), could have been much worse. It’s possible that an accident of this nature could have resulted in unconsciousness, and had that been the case and no one was around to identify him, he would have been carried off to the hospital as “Mr Nobody.”
My husband has often suggested to me that I carry some form of ID on me while running, and while I know I should, I hardly ever do. Living in Okinawa has lulled me into a sense of complacency that’s fooled me into thinking I will never need it. In fact, the only time I ever carry ID on my runs with me, is if I know I will be running through one of the base gates. Otherwise it’s either my water bottle and house key that leaves the house with me, or nothing at all.
But lately I’ve been thinking; would it really be so bothersome to carry some ID with me? Wouldn’t it provide me (and my husband/family members) with a greater sense of security, knowing that I’ll receive a much more expedient level of care if I did happen to wind up on the side of the road, in need of emergency medical attention?
So here’s what I have decided – to purchase a RoadID wrist band:
If you think this might be a good idea for you too, please keep an eye on the WOOT/WOOP announcements, as the company, RoadID, has offered us a one-time 20% discount on any of their products. See the link below to their website:
Let’s be safe out there on the roads!
I received two great blog posts recently – one from former WOOT member (and previous contributor) Stephanie Ermel, and one from our regular contributor Anna Boom. The content and theme of both their messages is strikingly similar, so much so that I felt compelled to publish them together in one post.
Guest Contributor – Stephanie Ermel
As I go through this pregnancy, I’m constantly seeing how yogalosophy has taught me everything that I need to handle this period of growth and life in general. Today the importance of child’s pose was my lesson. In five years of being a yogi, I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve taken child’s pose. I’ve never allowed myself to go there because it meant that I was tired, and tired was a sign of weakness and for quitters. How could I practice yoga and not honor my body – what yoga is 100% about?
Just because I can push harder, doesn’t always mean that I should. Throughout these early stages of pregnancy I find myself thinking about the mom who finished a marathon just hours before giving birth. “Comparison is the thief of joy” and I, all too often, allow myself to be robbed blind. Keep your eyes on your own mat – that’s one of the hardest lessons in both yoga and life and the reason why I often practice without contacts or glasses. If I can’t see others then I can focus on myself, the only person that really matters.
Not in a selfish way but in a self-loving way, I have to accept and love myself before I can honestly do the same for others and model that spirit for my future children. During exercise when I get tired, I push myself through it and as I grow this life in my belly, I find it challenging to listen to what my body is telling me. Yoga taught me that life’s not a competition, but then I channeled that competitive nature into making it a competition against myself. Now, I have to know that the person that I am today cannot be compared to the non-pregnant me nor the younger me. I will go back to who I was: strong, athletic, and competitive, after my babies are born – or maybe not. And if I never do, that’s okay.
I must learn to accept that maybe I won’t, maybe things won’t be the same ever again and ask myself, what will I think of myself then? Will I still love me, even if I “disappoint” myself? As much as life rewards aging with experience and wisdom, it also forces you to trade a few things in. I’ve watched some older women, who scrutinize every wrinkle and age spot, but fail to acknowledge the many wonderful attributes that they have gained in becoming older.
Competing with yourself may seem like a better alternative than competing with others but it’s really not that different because it too, can often lead to criticism. Criticizing and judging yourself leads to self-loathing and saying things to yourself that you would never say to others. There’s just not enough room or time in life to do that, and I must constantly remind myself that where I am and who I am right now is exactly right.
Setting higher goals and raising the bar are wonderful qualities to have but it is often a slippery slope to the misconception that perfection exists. It does not and if that’s your measuring stick, you will never be satisfied in life.
For another great read by Stephanie, visit the following link:
When is the last time you hugged yourself?