|Stacie and I after the race. It was her second of 4 halfs in June and a new PR!|
Sunday, June 12, 2011
My Own Worst Enemy: A Race Report
I am not going into mile by mile detail about the Helvetia Half yesterday. The race was very well organized. I was able to meet Stacie of Impossible is Nothing and saw Amanda of Runninghood as well as a couple of other friends. The course was even more hilly than I expected, but absolutely gorgeous. My goal was to run strong and hopefully finish another half under 2 hours.
With my recent difficulty in racing, I tried some new things this week. I hydrated very well, ate cleanly and didn't even think about a PR. I had no dairy later in the week and very little sugar. My GI system felt great. I was sure this was going to fix my running runs issue.
I can blame pollen or asthma or hills or anything else. Yet it comes down to one thing--anxiety. In addition to my struggles with depression, I have GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). More information than you may want to know, I realize. I seem to be able to train through anything without too much trouble--well, except the occasional running runs... However, put me in a race and I need more porta-potties than a race director can possibly expect. Put me in a race and my lungs tighten up and I cannot get a deep breath. Leaving me with a tendency to severe side stitches and asthma attacks.
Yesterday brought home that it is not my training. My recent racing issues are clearly mental. All the positive mantras cannot seem to get me past the fear of being surrounded by people I do not know. When it is just me and the road, I can run forever. Me, the road, lots of people and a finish line and I cannot relax. Things were going reasonably well until someone talked to me. It was a long hill during mile 7 and I was doing my regular race breathing--heavy and shallow. A woman simply said, "You can do it. Try to breath deeper." I smiled and thanked her. Just that interaction made me emotional. I tried her suggestion as my side was in bad shape from breathing too shallow. Just a couple of moments and I had a pretty bad asthma attack. Enough that I had to sit at the side of the road to try to catch my breath. I was so grateful for the two people that stopped and checked on me. Both were so kind. I finally caught my breath and began to walk. In and out, slow and easy. Mouth wide and relaxed. The attack was easing, but I truly thought I was going to have my first DNF. My breathing eased so I decided to run walk to the end. If I started to struggle, I would walk.
The biggest frustration was that my legs were not even the slightest bit tired. Those hills were just dragons to slay. My sword plunged into the dragon's back with each step. The hills did not beat me. I was my worst enemy. I was conquered by my own fear. That is the reason I feel the most defeated. The course was not my enemy. I was.
Official Time: 2:12:36
Age Group: 104/262