Saturday, July 07, 2007

Not a dumb runner

I spent today's run talking positively to myself to counteract all the negative thoughts going through my head. Sharon is away backpacking this weekend so I was on my own for my last long run before I tapered for Mt Hood. Last weekend I did two back to back runs that totaled 35 miles, but felt I needed another single long run. I was hoping to go over 30, but as the weekend approached I was really dreading it. Ever since I returned from FL, I haven't been feeling that great about my training. And I was starting to think that time was running out and I hadn't done enough.

The alarm went off this morning at 5 am and I grudgingly got up. I was still tired and coffee didn't help much. I took my time getting ready and arrived at Forest Park at about 6:30. I normally prefer my Nathan hydration pack, but since I'd need more than 2 liters, I carried my Gregory pack that can hold up to 120 oz. As I was strapping it on, it was twisted and I absentmindedly hooked one chest strap into one waist strap. Well wouldn't you know that the clips aren't the same size and I had jammed it so it wouldn't unclip. Dumb runner! What an excuse for canceling a run....trapped in a hydration pack! Fortunately I soon discovered that I could still tighten it such that it wasn't perfect, but stayed on and didn't bounce too much.

But the first few miles I couldn't get over the dumb runner mentality and all I could think about was everything I had done wrong in my training and how bad this run was going to be....and how dumb I was to clip a waist strap to a chest strap! I finally decided that if I was going to get through this run I needed an attitude adjustment NOW! So I literally told myself over and over again that I was NOT a dumb runner. And I gave myself permission to walk all the hills (meager as they were) if I wanted to and to just generally enjoy myself.

I don't run with music so I had 5-1/2 hours with my thoughts. I thought a lot about strategy and how I want to feel during the race. I think I've decided on a mantra: Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional. I have no illusions that it won't be painful. But how I deal with that pain is up to me. By the time I was done with my 29 miles I felt a lot better about myself.


Backofpack said...

Oh, I like that mantra! Good job on the attitude adjustment - it makes a world of difference when you pull out of the negative spiral. Good job!

Bob Gentile said...

Sarah Said: trapped in a hydration pack!
LOL ya things happen to mess with OUR minds... just a test and U passed:-)

Love the Mantra too: Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional.

Keep that Focus, Ur Strong and rebuke those negative thoughts are going to have a great race!

olga said...

Sarah, you did awesome going solo on 29 miler! And what a fast attitude snap, good job, next time come over to me:)

Joe said...

Great post, Sarah, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

This is one of the amazingly wonderful things about distance runnings. The story of the "wrong snap" illustrates many bigger and more important things. Glad you worked through it. 5.5 hours on the trails will do that for you...way to go.

This is also why they call it "taper madness"...we play all sorts of wierd games with ourselves!! Your training is sound and a solo 30 miler is nothing to sneeze at.

You are getting set for the race!!

rick said...

Great Sarah, that's the kind of mental awareness and versatility that gets you through the really hard stuff. To be able to realize what's going on and then do something about it, that's huge. Have a good taper, if you feel sluggish or crazy during the taper you are probably doing it right, come race day you will be a-ok.

Ryan said...

I like to call it pain management!
Sounds like some good training mentally and physically! Almost there keep it up!

robtherunner said...

Well done, Sarah! Those long training runs are difficult to do by yourself. You came up with a plan and got yourself through it. You'll be ready for PCT 50.

stephruns said...

Really well done...pushing through your negatives thoughts like that. Mantras are great and often work for me, too.

Journey to a Centum said...


Dumb is good, it prepares you mentally to adjust when things go south on you during a race. Remember it takes one to know one so I speak from experience. For example: When I went through the AS at mile 18 of WS I got my hand carries filled with ice,Gu2O, and water. I then proceeded down the trail. Oops! forgot to eat. I had some food on me and goo so I didn't let it bother me but that used up my reserve food.

I look forward to seeing you at PCT! I'm not quite sure what I will be doing when I get there but I did request sweep. Michelle and I will both be there!

rick said...

Hey, back again. You were asking how sure I was about Firetrails. Sent in my entry last week, got the confirmation entry email yesterday.

wendy said...

Way to go, Sarah!

Running is so mental, and you've got mental toughness for sure!

I read that quote in Dean Karno's book too - even he used it! You're in good company. ;-)

Great job, can't wait to hear about PCT!

Jack said...

Good job taking control of your thoughts and way to rock the 29 miles!

Ginger Breadman said...

what a great mantra - it's all about choice out there. Your hydration pack story is hilarious. good job for feeling cranky and getting yourself out there anyway!

Darrell said...

I'm glad to hear that it takes more than a couple of messed up clips to keep you down. Way to stick with the run. You'll be ready for the next big one, I'm sure.

Addy said...

wow awesome job on that run and the attitude change (I'm catching up on blog entries, in case you can't tell :) ). Sounds like this was a good mental toughening run, a necessity for your race.

And I'm definitely someone to misclip a hydration pack...though in my case it'd probably take me a good 3 or 4 miles before I'd realize it ;)