Well my 2017 season opened almost two weeks ago at the UW Indoor Preview and I still haven’t written a post about it, whoops.
I spent a lot of time reflecting back on it, probably too much time in retrospect. With the help of my very awesome sport psychologist, I figured out how to embrace the awesome and let go of the suck.
I was meant to open with both a mile followed later with a 3000. But my ‘spidey sense’ went off and all of a sudden I had a really uncomfortable fourth toe while warming up for the 3k. You know the one beside your pinky toe; the one you think ‘what do you even do?’ It was really painful. But the voice in my head questioned me, it asked ‘is this real? or are you just making this up so you don’t have to hurt?’
One of my weaknesses is discomfort. You know that thing you probably refer to as ‘pain’ when you get towards the end of a race or big workout? That fatigued from demanding so much from your muscles? I’m afraid of that feeling sometimes and I have in the past not been good at working through to push through that discomfort, the ‘hurt.’
My mind was questioning if I was making up an injury to avoid reaching this discomfort in a race?
And it’s funny, because at other times, that deep ‘lactic’ feeling you get from ‘going into the well’, I crave that feeling.
Fear, how does this all relate to fear? It’s fear that would have stopped me from running the 3000. Fear of the ‘hurt.’ Fear of losing. Fear of embarrassing myself on the track by not running fast enough. I have these feelings sometimes, and I have to use my strength and my confidence to work through them.
But it wasn’t fear, it was an actual injury, one I was able to identify by listening to my body, not my gut, and doing what it told me to do. It was rationalizing what was real from what was not real.
For days I was dwelling on this 3000, did I miss an opportunity? Did I wimp out? Talking about the decision-making process, and how both my body and brain felt after, helped me see that it was not fear that made my decision.
It did remind me that it is important to deal with fear. At some point it will creep into my mindset; it is only natural. We all have fears about our training and racing, but it’s our past experiences, our wisdom that we carry that will help us work through our fears. The worst mistake you can make is to pretend that you have no fears, because when they creep up you may not know how to deal with them.
What did looking back on January 14th tell me: my season opener was outstanding, it is the fastest I have ever opened my indoor season in; it wasn’t necessarily a stellar time, but it was stellar tactically, I sat in, worked tactics and had an awesome kick; it was a ‘W,’ which is always a satisfying feeling, though not the most important; and it was so much to get out and race an event I absolutely love; and most importantly, I made the right decision not to run the 3000, not because I was afraid, but because it was not a goal race and being healthy is so much more important.