Numbers can MESS YOU UP – Oh yeah and PLEASE VOTE!

Oh hey there, BLOGGITY friends!

Oh wow. I apologize (or maybe you didn’t notice), but I’ve been severely lacking in posts as of late. Life has been soooo busy ever since before Christmas that today is truly the first day I’ve had off with not a whole lot on the schedule to accomplish since then. I mean truly I’m getting my butt thoroughly kicked right now with responsibilities. It’s been killin me.

I hope you all had a fab New Year (I’m getting on that New Year’s Day race recap. I promise).

I wanted to talk to you all about something that’s been kinda plaguing me mentally for quite some time.  I am obsessed with my own expectations when it comes to running. And by that I mean I have numbers running through my head that go hand-in-hand with the expectations I place upon myself for every training run & every race. When I don’t meet those expectations, I beat myself up so bad and then the following runs are terrible. Oh and yes, I end up injured 9 times out of 10.

A lot of you have been following my blog for a while now and know my journey has not been an easy one. I’m just going to come right out and say it, while I am not necessarily a “fast” runner, I have pushed myself to the brink for a year now and every single PR I claim is a total sham and an utter embarrassment to me. Why? Because I have never once come out of a PR without some residual injury rearing its ugly head, or not feeling like death. I am not a strong runner. I’m insanely weak. Because I’m weak, I’m a total mess mentally.

This year is all about getting myself healthy and doing it in a way that is going to wreck me up inside for quite some time. While I’m still going to ramp up the cross-training and the strength-training with my coach, we’re removing the time expectations from my runs. There is a very good chance that PRs might not happen this year. If they do, so be it, but I am not making that a goal.

My husband said something to me last week that just hit me up the side of the head like a ton of bricks. He said “Courtenay! You were a much happier runner when all you cared about was adding distance. You came home so excited that you’d just run 7 miles. Now you come home and you’re all pissed because you ran 6 miles, but you did it in over an hour. I miss THAT Courtenay.”

He is so right. And it’s expectations that I have brought upon myself. I subconsciously felt I wasn’t working hard enough at running and training if it didn’t hurt or I didn’t feel like death. Like toning and building endurance and strength wasn’t going to happen if I didn’t want to crawl into a hole and die afterward. What?? Who thinks like that?

While I think Garmins are fun to have to see the data they provide, man can they REALLY screw you up.

My PR times are goals I hope to attain again in the future, but they’re not the end-all to my running experience. I want to hit those marks again, and I will, just in ways that I can be proud of and do as a much stronger individual.

I said this process is going to wreck me up inside for quite some time and I mean that. It will not be easy for me to put the watch away and not pay attention to my pace. It’s like a sickness, an obsession that I have to get out of my head. I’m thankful I have several people in my running “circle” who are gonna keep me level-headed and real about that. They know who they are. *cough*my coach*cough*my husband*cough*Dr.R*cough* (THE TRIFECTA as I call them) And it’s going to be a process. Sure I’ll still document a lot of runs, but I’m not going to throw a hissy fit if I run 7 miles in 1:07 or 1:20. Who the crap cares as long as I do it and can walk the next day.

I’m not competing with anyone, I’m not running for anyone but myself, and it’s time I started realizing that.

Do you struggle with any similar issues?

AND P.S. I found out last night that I’ve apparently been nominated for a #runchat blogger award for 2011!!! I am a HUGE supporter of all-things #runchat on twitter and have made so many wonderful friends through participating in those discussions a couple of times a month. I am honored and humbled, and not to mention totally SHOCKED to be nominated for this. Voting ends on Thursday night. If you would be so kind to vote, this link will direct you to the survey page. Thanks, guys! And check out #runchat if you haven’t yet! It’s such an amazing community to be involved in!

My twitter handle is @autopilotlegs

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8 Responses to Numbers can MESS YOU UP – Oh yeah and PLEASE VOTE!

  1. blondelovestorun says:

    I too have had some issues with numbers. But I decided like you to put all that behind me. I don’t really care how fast I run as long as I am doing it with injury. Last year I got a 3rd place finish in one of my races. I was excited as hell. My husband kind of set me back into reality a few weeks later, because I was killing myself again trying to get a better time each run. He said I knew when you got the 3rd place finish you would expect it every time, and he was right (I will NEVER let him know that!) I did expect to a better time each run, and to place each race…my thought was…isn’t that the point of racing…the competition. This year for me it is about the distance not the time. I am done with trying to kill myself to beat someone else. I just want to race, have a good time, finish, and do it with out injury. I am too old to recoop for from another broken bone. So good for you Courtney, I am glad you are stepping back away from the timed runs and focusing on just the run itself. I think you will have a lot more for fun, be suprised with the results, and will be injury free! Good luck!
    P.S. Congrats on the nomination. You deserve it.

  2. chelsea says:

    Ah numbers run through my mind constantly as well! I’m either counting down, pacing myself, counting how much time I have left, etc. You’re not alone at all in that aspect. But yes it can be upsetting when you know your PR 10k time is in the 50′s than you ran a 10k in over an hour…Been there done that =/ But we just have to remember we have “easy runs” in our training plan for a reason (to prevent injury!).

  3. Kathy says:

    I hear ya and echo your thoughts exactly! I let the numbers determine how “good” my run was, instead of the experience and fun – which is why we do it, right? :) Last year I put my watch away and focused on finishing an Ironman. My goals were: run the last 7 blocks, finish on my feet, finish with a smile, and walk the next day. And I did it! I should feel good about that, right?

    I kind of miss the numbers because they made me push myself – so this year my goal is to get back onto the numbers, without letting them dominate my satisfaction.

    Thanks for writing, Courtenay!

  4. Thanks for writing this. I too struggle with the numbers bit. For my supposedly “easy” runs, I still have a certain number in my head as an “ok” easy run.
    Good for you for identifying the problem and promising to run so as to not get injured. You’ll have lots more years of PRs ahead of you if you don’t overdo it :)

  5. Totally agree – we need to start thinking less about numbers, and more about how running makes us feel. Bring back the fun to the run! :)

  6. I completely agree, after discussing with you at the Polar Dash that I didn’t run in between half’s it was mostly because of a lot i just dont want to. Running has always been about the enjoyment and instead it became what is my interval set at on my Garmin. Tonight i ran with the boy, just for fun like we did all summer and it reminded me again why I run. Tonight there was no finish line just time limit of making sure homework got done before bed and 35 minutes with son doing something i enjoy.

  7. Heidi Nicole says:

    The numbers really can screw with you and most of my best runs happened sans Garmin. Lately I’ve been leaving the Garmin home more often than not and using an old school sports watch along with if I feel like I need numbers.

    Good luck falling back in love with running. It’s funny how a husband can make the simplest observation and basically explain away all of you angst…mine does it too!

  8. lifeisarun says:

    Good for you doing something about this! That has got to be hard having ideal times for even your training runs! I can understand the race ones, but I really in no one put expectations on my training runs just want to do them! And you are so right in that you are running for YOU! Good luck in this!

    Also, congrats on the #runchat nomination…totally voted for ya!

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