I’m done with overthinking. Let’s just trail run!
Five months of sitting on the sidelines with no running has brought me a refreshed attitude. Taking a break from running was actually a huge positive for me because it has allowed me to refocus and to revisit my goals. Why do I run? Why do I train? What are my goals? Last summer and fall I ran and ran and ran. I raced a ton and the miles added up but I overloaded myself. My body and my mind were broken down at the end. I was physically hurting and probably overtrained. Time for a time out!
What did I do during those five months? I couldn’t run so I changed gears. I focused on healing my body. I tried new things and revisited things that I used to enjoy, I challenged myself in the kitchen with new recipes and new ingredients. I realized that not being able to run is not the end of the world. I can bee a “shape shifter.” I am the director of my life. I can be whatever I want to be and I can achieve whatever I set my mind too. Achieving those big goals at the end is always incredible but its the joy discovered along the journey that can be life changing.
Now I am back to running again but have rediscovered the joy of strength training, I have become a stronger swimmer and cyclist (albeit on my trainer Haha!). I spent time on my cross country skis and snowshoes. I learned how to climb to the top of a climbing wall and learned to embrace the adrenaline rush of climbing beyond my comfort level. I have to admit that my mind and body welcomed the break from running and the constant drive to be faster.
Racing has always been so stressful for me. It’s hard to find the ability to compete without mentally breaking yourself down. The perfectionist within me always wins. Taking five months away from running has brought enjoyment back to one of my most cherished sports. I plan to keep racing but want to quit my attitude of overthinking on race day. If you put in the training and do the work then race day should be a time to just run and enjoy the rewards of your hard months of efforts.
There is an amazing Ultra runner, DangerGirl in in the New Hampshire running community who inspires me with her constant positive and upbeat attitude about racing. even though I may never be as fast as she is I love her positive outlook on race days. She is there to run and to celebrate the experience while also dropping the hammer at the same time. On race day I want to stop overthinking and just run.
The Dirty 5K Trail Run
Yesterday on Mother’s Day I ran my first 5K since my back went out. I chose the Dirty 5K a fun trail race that is a part of the Western New Hampshire Trail Running Series. I joined my friend Olivia who is also training for the Timberman Half Ironman with me for some laughs and a little bit of running. We had a great warm-up on the course and talked about running, training, and life as a mom. The mood was light and I was ready to run. I wore my Tom Tom GPS Multisport watch just to get a finish time and course details to look at post race but did not look at my watch a single time during the race. My goal was to run and to let my body do its job. Usually when I race a 5K I am all hyped up and the nerves are crazy but this time I was relaxed and ready to run. I started out conservatively the first mile rather than going out way too fast and crashing and burning (this was a great plan!) The course was HILLY!!! I lost count but I think there were at least 6 hills and pretty big ones at that.
I always have a hard time feeling like I have settled in to a strong pace on a 5K as I am more of a middle distance runner. Rather than worrying about pace I thought about my breathing and focused on strong legs and good posture. To climb those hills I thought about using my arm strength and my core strength to carry me up and over. I slowly relaxed (as much as you can during a 5K) and just let myself run. As we closed in on about a mile left I saw the second woman up ahead and slowly worked to gain on her. I used the downhills to my advantage because I have learned to relax and try to let gravity help me do the work on the descent rather than wasting energy trying to slow myself down. At about a half a mile to go I pulled past the second woman and just ran. With half a mile left this is the time to not think and just run, a time to dig deep and to leave it all on the finish line.
I finished second woman, first in my age group in 26.21. A solid time, maybe not my fastest but the best part was that I had a blast. It felt so good to run and to be in the woods. I felt grateful to be able to be out doing something that I love so much. Being able to run is a gift that I am very thankful for. I was happy to cheer my friend Olivia in across the line. She is such an amazing and strong mom. I have so much to learn from her about the swim and the bike portion of the triathlon. We are going to have a great journey training together this summer! The day couldn’t have been more perfect as it was finished with a delicious brunch with our families.
It’s taken me awhile to find my big goal for this year but I think I have finally realized what it is. My goal is to not overthink and to just get out there and experience new things. I want to embrace life and just keep on moving forward with a smile!
Are you a perfectionist? Do you overthink when it comes to achieving a big goal? What are some tips for how you have overcome overthinking?
Just a side note as this is especially important to watch if you have been following anything about the Boston Marathon:
If you need strength, courage and inspiration, something to get you through you will find it here. What a brave young woman . . . Rebekah Strong. Rebekah you give me strength. #RebekahStrong
Have a great week going after your goals!
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VOTE HERE #224 Sandra Laflamme AKA Organic Runner Mom
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