Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday's Meditation: The Runner's High

It's said that after a certain amount of mileage the "runner's high" kicks in and suddenly you don't mind running as much.

Some people say that they never feel this high, and others swear by it.

The runner's high has a very fickle relationship with me. Sometimes it likes to show up, and a lot of other times it ditches me and leaves me at an all time low.

The past couple Sunday runs, the 8 and 9 mile respectively, I got stood up by the runner's high. Apparently it thought about it, saw me, and high tailed it out of that length of road. The last couple miles were brutal and throwing myself off the bridge or cutting off my legs seemed to be excellent ideas. Trust me, running for that long your mind has a lot of time to consider all sorts of options for self mutilation. It's a healthy mental thing for sure.

This past Sunday however, it showed up and I was forever grateful that it did! I had 10 miles to put in and I was a bit freaked, buuuuuut I was able to keep my pace below 10 min/mile and I stopped twice to stretch out my knees... talk about major crampage.

I think another factor was Jon biking behind me for the last little bit, giving me some amazing encouragement. I'm seriously considering finding a way to get him in the 1/2 marathon on his bike to cheer me on.

I'm not sure why the runner's high doesn't want to stick with me, or feels that it needs to bow out when I most need it.  I hate that it's not consistent and that I'm not sure how I'm going to make it through 13.1 miles without it.

When I started to think about running, and how to get myself through the run I realized I was afraid of not having Jon or the runner's high for absolutely no reason. I was letting fake fear affect me. My friend Laura put up a post about fake fear awhile ago, and I've realized that I totally let my perfectionism and my negative thoughts get in the way when I run. 

I somehow believe that if I stop, or if I walk I will die. Ridiculous... I know. But I seriously think that somehow I'm failing myself if I don't run the entire thing or if I don't run it in a decent time. And I'm pretty sure that's why my running hasn't been as fabulous lately (other than the amazing 10 miler).  

I need to let that fear go and realize that it's going to be ok. Even if I walk some of the way, I'm still accomplishing a goal of making it 13.1 miles and it doesn't make me any less of a "runner" if I don't run the entire time.

I really need to start thinking more positively and allowing myself a little grace. I'm praying that this run on Sunday will be easy, and that my runner's high will decide I'm worth showing up for.

But in the off chance that it doesn't, I know I'll be ok, and that either way I'll finish and be proud of accomplishing this goal!

So here's to thinking positively! Life is too short not too realize how fantastic it is and that time shouldn't be wasted on the negativity and doubts you may have. We are capable of so much more than we even realize and I think if we thought more of ourselves we would be able to accomplish so much more!

What do you do to stop negative thoughts and encourage more positive thinking?? I need some tips people :)


Laura said...

Love the photos here, Sara. The composition of the last shot is fab. I'm glad the "Fake Fear" post touched you too - it is something I have to remind myself of daily.

Melissa said...

Okay, so I don't run often, but when I do, I encourage my body. Like "you are doing a great job legs...keep pushing hard." I go through many body parts, ie, lungs, heart, mind, etc. I know this sounds really silly, but it sorta pumps me up. Ha. p.s. the pictures are so great!

Fallon said...

Remember that you're going to be racing and you can trust to adrenaline to help you through some of those miles...

As for positive thoughts, when I start to get down I try to think of what an awesome thing I'm doing for my body. I picture myself being able to do anything because I'm strong and fit, and picture myself confident to wear anything I want because I've exercised and eaten healthy foods. Sometimes when that doesn't work, and I'm really struggling, I find a song on my mp3 that has a great beat that I know all the words to, and I just put it on repeat and try to drown myself in it. But I like the first option of positive thinking better.

The Stainbrooks said...

Thanks for the tips lissa and fallon! I really appreciate it! And thanks about the comments on the photos... all right out of the camera for a fun walk the other day :)

Rebecca said...

Hi Sara,
In my former life I used to run. I remember I learned that I performed better when I trained 4 or less days a week. I know this sounds odd, but I felt better and ran faster in my training runs. I also took it easy the week or two before any big race. Usually the week before I wouldn't run more than 5 miles total. My body must respond to rest.
My most successful racing strategy is to start very slow and allow your body to really warm up - it's a good way to work through whatever nervousness you have. It's a good time to look around at all of the interesting people and feed yourself some positive thoughts. It can be a huge high to pick up the pace in the second half and slowly "catch" people as you work your way to the finish. Last 1/2 marathon I did this and I ran negative splits the last 7 miles and felt awesome. I totally surprised myself.

Also, you were asking for pre-race food advice a long time ago. I always eat toast with peanut butter and bananas (just sliced, not smashed like mom does it). Sometimes I add lots of honey too. Bagels, oranges, candy bars.. it's all good.

Eric's advice is to "sit on the toilet for as long as possible before the race. Even if you don't have to go, keep trying"

Good Luck!

Big Sis

The Stainbrooks said...

Thanks for the advice becca and especially yours eric :) It did help to rest my legs quite a bit the week before, I think I did a total of 6 miles ahead of time. And I made an oatmeal/breakfast cookie type thing that held me over perfectly for the race:)

Overall it was a good race and I'm looking forward to my next one... which will be a little less hectic as it will be in the states!