Turning a So-So “Grape” of a Race into a Fine Chardonnay

ChardonnayFinish2I know, I know, the saying is really “turning lemons into lemonade,” but since I’m referring to the Chardonnay 10-Miler I ran last Saturday, I’m going with the wine analogy. You get the idea.

It wasn’t my most spectacular race, but since a lot of good things came out of it, I’m choosing to dwell in the positive and “make wine out of grapes.”

First, let me backtrack a bit.

About three weeks ago when I was pushing it a little too hard doing 800s at the track, several ribs popped out of place in my back and strained my intercostal muscles (the muscles between the ribs). That probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you’ve ever experienced this, you know the piercing, knife in the back, can’t breathe feeling. No fun. And no sleep for days because every time you move, it’s like being stabbed all over again.

Training came to a halt just when I had planned to do my longest and hardest runs to get ready for this race.

It wasn’t until last Wednesday, four days before the race, that I could finally breathe deeply again and run in an upright position without pain. Thank you Stephanie and Larry for working your magic!

When I showed up to the starting line, along with 376 other runners, I was both happy to be there, and apprehensive, knowing I hadn’t trained like I had wanted, and worried that my back might blow out again. To add to it, of all stupid things, I had a knot in my calf that I could not roll out.

Waa waa waa. Yes, you can hand me some cheese with all of this whine-ing.

That morning before the race, I kept trying to get myself fired up, but wasn’t feeling an ounce of race day adrenaline. Normally I’m wired and ready to go, but I just wasn’t “feeling it.” AT ALL. Not even after a big slug of coffee.

I gave myself the old “Suck it up Buttercup” pep talk several times, but finally decided that my body was trying to tell me something. So instead, I gave myself permission to “just run” instead of “race,” listen to music, enjoy a beautiful 10-mile cruise along our gorgeous coastline and see what happened.

So what did happen?

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Stick a Sock in It, and Other Words of Advice for That Annoying Inner Critic

Dear Self,

Stick a sock in it, will ya?! That’s right, stop being so hard on yourself and start treating yourself like you treat everybody else.

You know how you practically hang out the car window cheering and ringing your imaginary cowbell for nearly every runner you see on the road–whether they’re blazing past or shuffling along?

Photo of giant cowbell

Photo source Google

Do that for yourself.

Instead of lamenting that you’re only running “so far” or “so fast,” ring your own damn cowbell. That’s right, ring it loud and ring it proud because you are out there, too, my friend.

Instead of criticizing yourself for not running as fast as you’d like, celebrate that you have the guts to set your goals high and the tenacity to chase after those big dreams.

Focus on being in the moment and running where you are, and not where you want to be. Keep working at it consistently, and have faith that you will get there. Because you WILL get there.

Instead of beating yourself up because you missed a workout, remember that while running is your passion, your joy, your everything, taking care of a sick child or elderly parent will always trump your tempo run. That’s what makes you human.

And because you missed your run yesterday, there’s no doubt you will make it happen today, even if you have to get up at o-dark-thirty. That’s what makes you a runner.

And one other thing, you know that extra little bit of…ahem…fluff, which loves you so much that it doesn’t want to let go? EMBRACE IT! It doesn’t define your athleticism or your will power or anything. It’s just one tiny part of your strong, beautiful body–the body that’s going to carry you through mile after mile and help you reach your big goals. When that fluff knows you’ve had enough, it will suddenly disappear and you probably won’t even notice it because you’ll be too busy focusing on more important things.

So listen up, Self: no matter what kind of day you’re having out there on the road, track or trail, no matter how tired or sore you are, no matter what your race pace or place, remember that you are a runner, and being a runner is a gift–an outrageous gift that deserves nothing but celebration.

‘Nuf said.

Love,
Me

What do you tell yourself, fitness friends, when self-doubt or negativity creeps into your mind? Do share! How do you tell yourself to “stick a sock in it?”