Goodbye GPS Watch. Hello Sanity.

May 7, 2013

My Running

So this weekend I went to complete another “resolution race”. The weekend ended up being a huge lesson in priorities. How does running alter my life in so many different ways?!

The last time I did this race, it was in 2009 and my time was 2:31:25. That was the time to beat and I had no doubt I would finish in 2:25. I was ready. My legs were ready. My mind was ready. My heart was ready. My smile was ready.

“Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” Ha. That quote just came to mind when I put it in words how ready I was for this race. I only thought I was ready.

The day before the race went very well. I picked up my packet. I bought a new running shirt. I was excited. The day passed and night came. It took me a while to find a hotel I could be comfortable in. But I finally found one. It took me a while to find a place to eat…but I finally found some food. I hadn’t eaten all day except for a bagel that morning and I hadn’t had any water. That, in hindsight, would be mistake number one.

In-n-out was my dinner at 9pm the night before my race. That would be mistake number two.

Drinking soda instead of water kept me awake. Tossing and turning got my mind working overtime. Finally I fell asleep. Around midnight. And then was awoken at 3:30am. The lives of other people are intertwined with mine and although someone was miles and miles away from me, her life coincided with my life and I was not able to go back to sleep for a few hours. It wasn’t until around 5am I found sleep.

And then my alarm went off at 5:45am. I was exhausted.

I woke up and got dressed. Eating my ClifBar. Packed and left the hotel room. Got to the race–parked the car–and got to the starting line with some time to spare. I told myself I’ve run before on very little sleep. All I wanted was to beat 2:31. Even if it was 2:30….I’d be happy!!

National anthem….gun sound….and we were off!!! And right before I crossed the starting line I realized I had forgotten my timing chip on my shoe. I hesitated for a split second wondering if I should walk to the car, get the chip, and then start the race. And then I thought “oh well”. And then I thought “but what if I get a PR??” And then I thought “oh well”. Yes, I thought all that in a split second. My mind was already in overdrive and I hadn’t even crossed the starting line yet.

At mile 3–I felt tired. I almost stopped and turned back. I didn’t have a timing chip anyway! . I looked at my watch–I was at a 9:30 pace. I told myself to slow down!. I was shooting for a 10:30 pace and I was way ahead of that.

It was hot. I stopped to take my long sleeve shirt off. And when I started to run again….I hit a mental wall. I thought again about turning back. By that time I was at around 4.5 miles. I could tell I was losing steam. I thought this might be the first race ever I wouldn’t finish.

I made about 10 phone calls. (My iPhone has earphones that I can call from without touching my phone. I just hold the button on my earphones and say “call so and so”. And it does.) Out of those 10 phone calls, I made contact with 4 friends. And one daughter. I wanted to quit so bad. . I couldn’t think of anything else. All I could think about was giving up. Saying FUCK THIS and being done. I was angry that someone else’s life could have such an affect on my stamina and endurance. Mentally–I was losing it.

I stopped to walk probably 50 times. There were times I could not run for more than 2 minutes. It was like the old days—when I never trained! Horrible. What happened to the runner who ran her 10k PR, with a 9:38 pace just a few weeks ago??!!! Where was that happy-floating-in-the-clouds girl?? I missed her and needed her.

I finished the race. In 2:40:54. According to my gps watch. There will be no official results. And that’s quite alright with me. In the end–my mother and daughter were there and I couldn’t appreciate that they were there. I sat in a chair and sobbed. 2:40. What had happened? This wasn’t the ending I had planned or expected.

We got in the car and headed home. We stopped to visit an aunt. And had a beautiful visit. And then went home. I showered. Ate dinner. And crashed. For 9 hours.

The next day I woke up feeling very emotionally hungover. I was “devastated” with my finish time. And I use that word lightly. I can’t find a more fitting word though. I packed my bags and got ready to come home. I decided at the last minute to stop and see my sister. The one, that was miles and miles away, who I felt disturbed my sleep before the run.

And what I was faced with was my own selfishness….self-centeredness…obsessiveness…immaturity…shallowness….

Need I go on?

Without going into any detail about someone else’s life…I will simply say I have decided that I am going to release myself from my obsession with numbers on the GPS watch. For the next thirty runs—I will not wear a GPS watch and I will not use Runkeeper on my phone. I have become too focused on pace times. My “tunnel vision” on my pace time prevented me from seeing the bigger picture. The bigger picture being Life. If I had only had one goal: to finish. Well then I succeeded. But my goal wasn’t that simple. My goal was to finish within a certain time–so for the entire race I felt like a failure.

I’m pretty certain this is not what running is supposed to do to me.

So for 30 runs—no numbers. For 30 runs I will look at where I’m running. I will think about what is great in my life. I will think about what great daughters I have. I will take a picture of one awesome thing I see on each run. I will remember to smile. And I will remember what I told my sister.

That she is more important to me than my running pace.


This is the river I threw my wedding ring in when I last ran this race in 2009. I used to “run away” to this race. I no longer need to run away–thank you God.

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Probably around mile 8. I don’t even remember enjoying this view.

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I’ve always done this race alone. This was the first time I brought family. My mom and daughter.

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I think I would caption this picture “Tunnel Vision”. :-/

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Me crying and talking on the phone getting some perspective.

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About rsouleret

I am a mother of two beautiful girls. I work full time. And I run. ILML.

View all posts by rsouleret

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