What’s My Problem?

Today I ran a local 10k as a fun run rather than racing. I’m only 2 weeks past my marathon, and my legs have that not so fresh feeling. I noticed after my first marathon that I felt relatively spry the week after the race, but two weeks later more fatigued. Anyone else have this experience?

Anyway, I ran this race last year and had a lot of fun. There are a ton of bands on the course. The weather was perfect — sunny and low 50s.

My legs were feeling heavy for the first half. My splits were 8:04, 8:07, 8:20. During that third mile I entertained the thought of walking, which was silly. I was thinking: “Hey, it doesn’t matter because I’m not running for time.” But then I redirected with: “If you can run a freaking marathon wanting to puke for the middle 10 miles, you can soldier through this, you wimp.”

The second half of the race includes a significant hill starting just before the mile 5 marker. I run it on a regular basis, and my best time up it was 10 days before the Nike Half Marathon last month. Today was my second fastest time, but slower by a good 13 seconds. I positive split the race a tiny bit (25:25/25:33). My splits for miles 4 through 6.2 were 8:08, 8:14, 8:45, 7:17 (.2).

3rd place in my age group of (as MaybeMarathoner says) 40-44 she-beasts.

All-in-all, I am happy with my run today. I felt comfortable through most of it except the hill and the final .2. I managed to PR the distance in a race by 7 seconds, which considering this course was much hillier than my previous PR and I’m still in recovery mode from the marathon, I consider a win.

So, here’s my issue: I never perform as well in races as I do in training runs. And when I am happy with my race performance, it’s almost always because I ran it easy rather than race. My best 10k time is 48:13, which I ran at the end of a 15 mile training run.

In other words, I have mental issues. WTF.

Granted, I clearly need to spend more time warming up before shorter distance races because it takes my body a bit of time to get into a pace. But honestly, I know it’s a psychological crap out that ruins my races. Suddenly paces that usually feel alright feel too hard to sustain. I panic that I will run out of gas. I become convinced that I suck and shouldn’t bother trying. I cave to the pressure I put on myself for a certain time. I wouldn’t be shocked if half my stomach problems in both the Disney Wine & Dine half and the Providence Marathon were due to nerves.

I’m not sure what to do to make me mentality stronger. I guess keep racing until I stop psyching myself out. I’d just like to live up to my training for once.