Racing a 5k: Mental Chatter
Those who have met me in real life know that I never stop talking while running.
Not even when running alone.
My mind just talks to itself and comes up with interesting/boring dialogues (Is it still a dialogue if it is the same person doing both sides? Maybe it IS a dialogue because it feels like my mind is two different people. I digress …).
So of course, when I was racing a 5k by myself, mental chatter was plenty, even in that short period. Here’s some of the thoughts that were dominant in my mind for those 34 and odd minutes.
1. Be Mentally Strong!
I tend to take a quick walk break when “I need to” mostly because I do run/walk intervals, . I am usually able to make up for the loss in pace, so I don’t bother about it too much.
But today, the whole mantra was – it is part of your training. Don’t quit on yourself. And I made it stick to me. When that last mile was refusing to move on quickly and the discomfort was growing, the only thing I had in my mind was – Don’t Quit. (Thoughts that I might be asked to do this all over again also crossed my mind – fear and apprehension are great motivators!)
2. You. Talk . Too . Much
(to be read in gasping breaths as you are running your hardest)
During my long races, my mental chatter is actually fun to keep up with and see where my thoughts lead me (I ran a whole lot of my first marathon to the tune of “I could’ve
run danced all night”, ran a picture perfect marathon where I PRed with negative splits and pushed through my ill-fated marathon with promises of an Ice Cream Sundae).
But a 5k – it is intense! Too short and intense for coherent ideas, but my mind still throws out thoughts at me. Thoughts that are often hard to manage because my entire body, except the treacherous mind, is focused elsewhere!
“Can’t I take a teeny walk break?”
Because I said so!
“Or just slow down just a little bit”
No way! It is not painful, just uncomfortable. Just . keep . running.
“How much could things change anyway if you slowed down?”
Shut up and let me run!
3. Not all miles are the same distance.
No, my math is definitely not off. That last mile was decidedly farther than the first mile. None of the mailboxes/trees I’d spotted equalled it – it was always *just* this further off! The perfect real life example of Zeno’s paradox with trees that moved (Ents maybe?! Mind was wandering way off!).
I also learnt that a 5k is actually 3.10686 miles and so better rounded off at 3.11 instead of 3.1 . Who moved the finish line!!
4. F this
I don’t usually swear, unless the extreme situation warrants a swear. And this was extreme. It needed a swear repeated over and over those last few minutes. I was oblivious to everything except the one swear word. There was no music, no mental chatter, no other runners/cyclists, nothing else.
In my defense, it was either the swear word or puking.
5. Everything is Awesome!
This wasn’t during the 5k, but afterwards and until 4-5 hours later (I believe it would’ve lasted longer if I didn’t have to be at a million places all at the same time, chauffeuring kids!). The racing was horrible, but it was awesome at the same time. My time of 34:32 was 2 seconds faster than a timed 5k in January that I raced (valid even though this terrain was flat and easier).
When I asked a Facebook group on how to motivate/push myself on a self-supported 5k, they jumped in with suggestions and one was to make it a Virtual 5k that anyone who could “join” me. And so the idea was born and I was overwhelmed by the number of people who took on the 5k! I also had people start with me and of course, my Dopey buddy, who stayed with me for the first two miles. It was a real race feeling in this interconnected social world!
Even the donuts I made at the end of the day turned out to be absolutely awesome!
If you raced a 5k with me, how did it go?
How do you push through tough workouts when you don’t have anyone else pushing you?
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