Doubts Are Undoings and the Margin of the Unknown

Well are we ready for a running fueled posted? I’ll start out with the big guns. For anyone who doesn’t know, this weekend are the USA National Champs going on at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The town has fittingly been named Track Town USA and does everything it can to live up to the name. Not gonna lie it does well, the facilities are insanely awesome and the warm-up track alone is cool in and of itself.

I’m lame and haven’t made it there myself much but have fun the times that I do. There is also Track Town Pizza that’s been there for decades and because it’s just off the campus it has naturally been supplying coeds their late night munches fix for just as long. It boasts that it also serves up plenty of the track greats before and after some pretty fantastic showings (maybe even during…jk on that one) and has pictures of all of the U of O heavy hitters. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re around and their pizza isn’t too shabby either from what I recall.

Back on track, tonight kicked off the first day of events and was mostly prelims. There were some finals for field events but I’m not gonna lie I’m more of a track geek so the BIG draw for me were the 10k finals. Women’s first and there were plenty of big names on the starting line. All three of the fine ladies who represented the USA in the last Olympics, and the ones who went 1-2-3 in the Trials last time were there, along with plenty of other previous Team USA members and Olympic participants.

Though everyone comes to the tarting line as ‘equals’ in the sense that on any given day you never know what the body is going to give. I think anyone who’s raced or run long enough knows that there is always that little question mark going in, will it be one of ‘those’ days. The ones where it seems everything goes right, all is clicking, the stars align, and you feel ‘on.’ Or one where you have an off night and it seems like you’re lugging bricks from the gun. Then there’s everything in between those two extremes. The truth is that you put in all the work, do the whole tapper thing, training guide, race plan, rest, refuel, hydrate, etc before and prepare in the best way that you can. You do that because that swings the odds in your favor, it sets you up for the best possible outcome and hopefully success, but in our sport there is always the little margin of the unknown.

It’s the unexpected injuries. It’s the workouts that seem to feel much harder than they should. BUT it’s also the workouts where you blow it out of the park, the ones where you reach another level. The races where you run out of your mind and the whole way you keep thinking, ‘This can’t be ME running out here, MY body hitting those splits!’ The unknown is sweet, it’s cruel, and it’s everything in between. I think that’s one of the things that makes our sport the best. Ya, I’m partial I admit that. 🙂

The unknown is also scary, it can mess with our minds. It can implant those doubts, ‘Am I ready for this? Do I belong here? I didn’t do my warm-up right, will that mess me up? My prerace pizza had too much cheese on it. Should I have run one last hard workout? One last long run? Did I do enough?’ All of that. But we all think that to some degree. And not only during races, it’s in everything. In training, in just regular fitness working out. In life. Doubts are everywhere.

It’s also the times when you don’t really feel like going out and putting in those runs. Skipping a workout because you feel tired, stressed, or just plain would rather do something else. You wonder why in the world you keep doing this whole song and dance anyways. But we all have those times. Sometimes we don’t like to admit it because it makes us fear that we’re weak, wussies, complainers, excuse-makers, and at least for me I’m afraid it means that the day will come when I do just cave, throw in the towel, toss up my arms and delve into the world of slothdom.

But the reality is I won’t. I love this thing too much. Ya, maybe a day or two goes by and I don’t bust my sweat (and I mean these are FAR and few between…lol), but I get back into it. So eff that doubt because I know myself and I know this is what makes me happy. Running in circles is fun to me. Ya, I’m not fast or racing, but I like it too much to let it pass me up completely.

Wow, sorry for my long@$$ ramble there, where did that come from?!?! So the results are in, are you ready for the envelope to be read? Hehe. Shalane Flanagan won the 10k in 30:59.97. Kara Goucher took second in 31:16.65 and Jen Rhines placed third in 31:30.37. On the guys’ side Galen Rupp won in 28:38.17, Matt Tegenkamp got second in 28:39.97, and Scott Bauhs rounded out third in 28:40.51.

I think my point was that I keep reading about people who are nervous about their first race, or the longest race they’ve yet to do. They worry that they’re not doing things ‘right’ and have all these doubts. I think they are afraid they’re the only ones who have all these worries, like it means they aren’t ready for the challenge. But EVERYONE has doubts, so my best advice is to put in the work, do all the planning you can, and recognized that yes, there is always the little margin of the unknown. It CAN be scary, but it’s a good kind of scary. It doesn’t only mean you might have a bad race because it also means you could have an awesome race, the one of your life. It can also be a mediocre race, a funny race, a race with memories. Everyone races for different reasons but don’t psyche yourself out from starting and giving it your all because of the unknown.

Wrapping up my epicness, I think I’m trying to talk myself up too. Not just in running but in life too. I’ve got some stuff I’ve got to figure out there and have plenty of doubts. With the running though, I’m trying to do some more harder workouts and I do still get stuck in the comparing old times and how I felt then to today’s efforts. But that’s not doing me any favors, it only robs me of enjoying the present. So I did have fun out there today in my workout; I ran outside again and managed to stay vertical the whole way…haha! 3 miles warm-up to the track, 6 mile uptempo, 2.5 mile cool-down. That cool-down was butt slow, but I was pleased I averaged 5 secs/mile faster this week than last week on the tempo part. I even had some company out there, these blasted squirrels kept scurrying around on the track!

Alright, enough from me, hope all’s well for you guys! 🙂

1) Favorite pizza topping?

Cheese and lots of veggies.

2) Last challenge you did that scared you?

Lame as it sounds, today running outside because I thought for certain I’d fall bad again. haha.

3) What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

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9 thoughts on “Doubts Are Undoings and the Margin of the Unknown

  1. Great post!! Are they broadcasting this anywhere?

    You are keepin' me up to speed on the track news :).

  2. I love how your "fun" workouts are almost half marathons. Honestly girl, I need you in my life.

    Who in the world runs a 10K that fast?! Honestly, these track people are superhuman.

    I'm the same with pizza – LOAD THE VEGGIES! I love green pepper, spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, jalapenos, olives, you name it! Everything except for mushrooms!

    The last 5K I ran was a bit scary, not going to lie. I'm not a balls to the wall sprinter so the short distance really scared me. I tend to like longer races where I can pace myself and go slow and steady. I got through it though and my time wasn't too bad!

    I'm looking forward to MORE RUNNING! Maybe I can squeeze in longer distances like you. I really get ADD these days though. If I don't have a long race to train for, I tend to crosstrain SO much more because I know my knees will hate me if I just stick to running!

  3. What a GREAT post! Sometimes, in our moments of doubt at a starting line we think we're the only ones because everyone else can look so sure and ready. It's nice to be reassured that everyone experiences it, even though logically I know that, sometimes I can get irrational when it comes to that!

  4. christina…haha, u crack me up! ya, those are some smoking fast 10k times those ladies threw down, ummm, pretty sure i'd be lapped a few times on that one. 😉 also totally with you on feeling TONS more comfortable going long and feeling more controlled with the pace in longer races. i much prefer the slower build of pain versus being slammed with it right from the get-go! haha, oh ADD, i've got it myself but really crosstraining is great stuff especially since it saves your knees and you can still get in all that cardio benefits. and you seem to be rocking in that regard…there should be some sort of elliptical marathon race for you to enter. 😉

    melissa…that's so much for the kind words and glad u liked the post! you stated it perfectly, i know that when people line up for a race it's not exactly the place you want to show any weakness or doubts. you want to put up the front of confidence, but trust me everyone is nervous and thinking the same thing…it's only natural, but we can't let those fears or insecurities stand in our way. 🙂

  5. I love Track Town pizza, but we have not made it over there yet this trip. The drive was long, but we got to listen to Bob Schul (1964 Olympic gold medalist in the 5000m) talk most of the way. His daughter lives in Boise, so he was there to visit her and we're giving him a ride to and from Eugene.

    The meet is going well so far. It was cool to see Shalane and Kara run the 10k, but Jen Rhines deserves some props for sure. She has had such a long career so far and over a range of distances. Teg was awesome in the men's 10k. We were secretly hoping he'd kick down Rupp at the end, mostly because Rupp was expected to win (have to root for the underdogs).

    After the meet, we went to the Boulevard Grill, which has replaced Villard St. Pub as the place to be after the meet. The VS Athletics guys host the social events there. The best part was that we saw Shalane Flanagan there drinking beer and eating fries. That must be her secret to running fast 🙂

    We're about to go for an easy run right now, then racing the Hootie 5k tomorrow morning. Having fun so far!

  6. LOVE this post. Thanks so much for writing it and sharing your experiences. It is so true…I constantly question myself and compare myself to certain days or races…I just want to feel like "that" again. It was SO hard after I came back from being injured because I just kept comparing myself to my pre-injury times. That only frustrated me more, left me calling myself an injured runner and made me feel like I just should not keep trying so hard. I am still not necessarily back to where I was in January…but I stopped comparing so much and just try to think of races or runs as new moments in time. How can I stay present with this run and make it the best possible without comparing it to a past one? Thanks again for the post…it was a good reminder that having thoughts like that is okay and normal!

    Love pizza…all kinds. Especially lots of veggies!

  7. wow, SUPER cool you got to carpool down with Bob Schul! ya, i hate long car rides so i'll bet having some awesome company, of course dave is included in that, def helps pass the time.

    i so wish i could be there to watch, but i'm super happy to those ladies make the 10k team. and while i was hoping amy could rally off her injury, jen rhines is a beast and deserves some MAJOR props. i think she gets overlooked a lot and it's cool to see her double back in the 5!

    sweet that we've now established beer and fries as the go-to performance enhancer, hopefully now all those loser dopers will clean up their acts. 😉 keep having a blast down there and do feel free to stop by and recount often. 🙂

    julia, i'm so happy to hear that you liked the post. trust me, all you feel and have said are things we all battle with. our mind certainly has a way of getting in our own way sometimes…but it's SO great to hear you caught what you were doing and are allowing the 'today' you be happy with where she is. you have the confidence that you CERTAINLY will get back to feeling on your top game and trust me PR's are just waiting for you in the future. keep it up! 🙂

  8. Pingback: Gawking at Fast Runners: We all have doubts, but you can choose whether to let them stand in your way or not |

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