Mind Over Matter: Canada Army Run Race Recap
Another year has gone by, and I’ve learned over and over that the body’s limits are (mostly) in the mind. I’m the type of runner that is constantly thinking, adjusting, focusing, using my run as both a chance to tweak my body to perfection while zenning out. I have learned not to berate any ache or pain that comes up, just accept that something feels wrong and work to find a way to make it feel right – without stopping. Doing this through everything from running 8km with a stitch in my side to completing 21.1k after feeling a sharp pain in the side of my knee at the 5km mark (and finishing strong!) has instilled a deep belief in the power of mind over matter.
You can go farther than you think. Every long run that takes you one mile past your PR is proof. Crossing the finish line each of your first 5k, 10k, half, full, or more is a feeling you will never forget – you DID it.
You can go faster than you think. A precarious end to a 16 miler, watching a storm roll in behind me, wind gusting to 50km/hr. I thought my legs were dead at 15 miles, but then the hail started to fall. I had so much more left in the gas tank than I thought, I felt like I ran a 6 minute mile! Just ask anyone who sees the clock at the finish line and busts out their fastest 100m sprint to make it in under their goal time.
Your taper can be drastic and longer than you think it should be. After my 10km race my knee twinged. I tried a run two days later and still felt a little pain. I went for ART, and my next run I felt it twinge again. I switched to my other shoes and ran a mere 3 miles once every three days…for the week before my half marathon! The story ends with a PR finish, and goal time achieved!
Your body is stronger than you think it is. I raced the whole half marathon with a bum right knee. I was sure that with my adjusted gait I was shredding my left calf muscle and straining my right hip, and putting my hamstrings at risk. I thought my right shoe was full of blood, and that my feet were so blistered from the other shoes that I’d be limping for days. I crossed the finish line red faced, exhausted, tight everywhere…but not a single blister, and after an epsom salt bath 48 hours later I can honestly say I’m fine. (Except the bum knee, that’s going for a checkup.)
but.. Your form is never as good as you think it is. The last thing you want to do is get too comfortable in your mind about how you run. Consistently look for ways to be more efficient. Always relax your arms and legs and use your core more. If anything hurts even the least bit ask why and be willing to adjust. And never, ever, EVER leave your tailbone behind. EVER. I blame my knee on forgetting about my tailbone in the 10k.
I’m taking October off running. I’ll get the IT band and knee worked out, do some yoga, relax, eat fattening food, and enjoy a time of rest. My next goal is to run one race per month in 2014, and base training starts November 1st. I’m going to use the form lessons I’ve learned and start from the beginning. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m going to get faster and stronger, and finish next season without any aches or pains.