Kristen R: How Do You Break Down the Walls on Race Day?

My next race is this Saturday (April 27) and it’s a new one for me: the Waynesboro, Virginia Park to Park half marathon. Here’s what drew me in:

“Gentle rolling hills, mountain vistas and beautiful serene river crossings make this road course a must-do spring race.”

Sounds lovely, right? Well, I may have romanticized it a bit in my head. I imagine a lush  mountain setting: stunning views — vistas, even; trickling creeks; winding mountain roads; and a foggy Virginia morning to start the day.

I’m sure once I’m actually out there, you’ll hear me saying a select string of curse words about what they consider “gentle rolling hills” and what I consider torture.

wallsDo you find that you create the same kind of build-up to race day versus running the actual course? I have this tendency to build it all up, then when it skews from what I imagined — or, really, when I have that “off” day that every runner experiences — I get frustrated. Frustrated that maybe I didn’t train well enough. Frustrated that I’m not as prepared as I planned to be. Frustrated that, oh I don’t know, I’m not wearing better socks.

I think as runners we have just enough Type A in us that those little nuances of what makes a good and bad run really seem to get to us when it matters most, like on race day.

But in reality, they are walls. Walls we build up and can certainly break down ourselves. They are mostly mental blocks and if we can just push past them, we will succeed. I probably start to see the bricks of that wall at the beginning of any run. I always find the first one or two miles to be the worst because it takes that distance to sink into the right rhythm.

After that, maybe that carefully chosen playlist  takes over, or you just sink into the cadence of your footsteps and your breathing begins to level out.

For me, this lasts for a while, but during a longer race, I struggle just after the halfway point. I feel fatigue and start questioning if I went out too fast or if I got enough sleep or if ate enough that morning. It’s a mental game: a mental wall I can sometimes push past, but sometimes not.

So how do you push down this wall on race day — or during any run or general bad day, for that matter?

Gotta run!
Kristen R.

2013 mileage: Will pass the 300-mile mark this week. How awesome is that!?

2013 mileage. What’s that? Oh, it’s the 300-mile mark coming — and soon to be gone! Woot!

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚KHP Art Below˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚

KHP - The view behind Matt's work.  I am doing a job on Friday for his company and I was scouting the light when I took this shot.  This is not the time of day that will work.

KHP – The view behind Matt’s work. I am doing a job on Friday for his company and I was scouting the light when I took this shot. This is not the time of day that will work but it made a nice image of this crazy structure.


About Kristen R.

Counting down to 40, while juggling motherhood, marriage, the corporate grind & middle-of-the-pack running. It's OK to point & laugh.
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3 Responses to Kristen R: How Do You Break Down the Walls on Race Day?

  1. wwwmama says:

    Walls…ugh, it feels like they’re everywhere right now as I return to work after vacation. I wish I had advice to give. One step at a time, I guess.

  2. Kristen says:

    I think running with friends is the best way to push past those walls. A little competition, trash talking, a laugh or a supportive comment, “your fine, you look strong, it will pass” means so much. I think more than anything you are more distracted from the pain you feel because you are with people you love and are grateful for the time you get to spend time with them. If that is not an option, music or day dreaming about another sport that increases my adrenaline. I think about soccer or climbing a lot when I run and I notice that it helps me get my game face on:)

  3. Pingback: Kristen R: Waynesboro Park-to-Park Half Marathon Recap | Making It Daily

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