“Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” – @Runningquotes
As much as I’d like to think that the physical training I have done in the past few weeks has been enough, running a race on Saturday reminded me that the mental training is far from good enough to get me through a half marathon. In fact, for most of Saturday’s race, that little voice in my head made that 10km race a very long and difficult run.
The race was the annual Liqui-Fruit 10/21.1km race in Irene where over 5 000 runners make their way through the Agricultural grounds. It is definitely one of my favorite races. Not only do you get a very colorful, bright t-shirt, but the race winds its way past the cows and sheep. I love cows. For me, it signaled my first official race counting down to the Two Oceans 2012 half marathon – a race I had entered on Wednesday.
Before I set off, I had calculated in my mind that I wanted to do a time of 1:18. seeing as though I had improved on my time quite dramatically since 2008. (1:18 – 2010, 1:26 – 2009, 1:30 – 2008) The field was massive and as the gun went off, it took almost 10 minutes to get through the first 1km. For those that know the route, as you get to the 2km mark and look ahead, you see a string of runners ahead of you in the distance and you realize just how many people are running the race, as well as how fast the front runners are. I was doing quite well and was at some stages running under the 8km/min mark.
Mentally, I have to do 7kms in under an hour. This is important as it marks the fact that if I can do that, I will manage to make cut off time of 3 hours for a half marathon. So as I past the 7km mark in 57mins, I was smiling.
The last 3kms of the race are quite hilly. This is where I started to struggle and where that voice of self doubt reared its ugly head. No matter how hard I tried, I kept wondering just how I would be able to finish a half marathon when my legs felt so tired after 7kms. The 21.1km runners had started to pass me by now on their way to the finish, and as I cheered them on as they passed me, I kept wondering how it was possible that they were doing double the distance than I was, and in half the time. Some of the super fit Walk/Run For Life ladies also started to pass me. You see, on the uphills, they are quite strong. *damn Walkers!*
I was never really good at Maths in school. But it’s funny how I am able to work out, to the second, how long it would take me to do 3kms and at what pace and whether or not I would be finished in under 80 mins. I started to get slower and slower.
Thoughts of Two Oceans were flooding my head and I started to remember the stress of it all. Standing at 4am at the start line, the congestion of the first km, the uphill of Southern Cross, the irritating Old Mutual pom pom girls near University Drive. But most of all, the thought that I was not yet strong enough to tackle long distances.
I don’t run well under stress. That little voice became too much for me and on the last km, I walked… I thought, stuff it. I’m not going to make 80mins. I am therefore not running in under 8mins/km. I am a failure.
My finishing time: 1:82. I was very disappointed.
That little voice in my head is so powerful sometimes. And the worst part is that I allow it to own me… Not only with my running, but also with my self-confidence in general.
Lately, having to make some big decisions in my career and all I can think of is that I am not good enough. I keep doubting my abilities. I keep making excuses. I find I am stressing myself out about making decisions because I am too scared that I will fail.
There are 142 days left until Two Oceans. 142 days left to train not only my body, but especially my mind into believing I can do it.
Because I know I can…(