Race Mentality

After the varying critiques on the Monster Dash, I have been thinking a lot about Race Mentality.   Some people race for fun or to go with their friends, they like a big party and crowds to propel them forward, while others race for time or as a measure of their fitness.  Think for one moment about the types of races on which you choose to spend your $$, and ultimately why you register.

For me, I like to race alot.  I like to run fast.  I always want to run faster and am frequently disappointed readjusting my goals to a faster pace than I can possibly run my fitness will allow.  The race is a reward for every time I haul my butt out of bed in the middle of the night early morning so that I can get a run in without disrupting the family (too much).  Race day is the day that is all about me.  I don’t need a crowd, or a partner standing beside me at the start line.  In fact, I would prefer not to have a partner/friend at the start unless we have the “run your own race” agreement.  If you’ve been racing with me over the years, you’ve heard me say it, particularly if you were once a newbie……. Run your own race.  You probably think I am a total bitch  really competitive but that isn’t the case.  My only competition is me because I’ll never be fast enough to win.  And I just want to encourage you to run THIS race for you, to compete against yourself for your own personal reasons and at your pace.  Please don’t wait for somebody else unless you specifically registered with the intent to be a pacer/helper.  Don’t hold back because it is comfortable, will hurt less or because you’re scared.  Push your limits.

Running fast takes big balls guts.  Put in your miles first so you have a good base and then go out there and run your heart out.  Be prepared, be focused and be confident that you can run faster than is really possible did the work to reach your goal.  If all else fails, put your name/website on your shirt so you will be ACCOUNTABLE for your race. 

And probably the best tip I can give is DON’T follow me.  I run off the start like somebody is going to pay me $$ for a good first mile performance……and then I crash and burn in the middle miles, then put in a half-assed attempt to pull it together at the end.  I’m not good at this, just overconfident hoping that today is going to be the day that I can “hang on” and pull out a good race.  This might be the day, you never know………

I’d like to thank Bob H. at RaceExpressions.com for getting this shirt together for me on the fly….so that I can be accountable and so that you might spot me and kick me in the ass encourage me thru the middle miles.   If you see me, YELL!  This is actually the third shirt RaceExpressions has created for me, using designs I have sent to them.  Great local company who really goes the extra mile to help out their customers.  Now, let’s just hope I can squeeze myself into it cuz it’s a “little” tighter than I would like snug .  Of course, now that the weather appears to be pretty cool, who knows if I will actually get to use it.

What is your Race Mentality?  Do you race for fun, to get good photos or have a good story to tell?  Do you do it for your friends?  Or do you run balls out hard like me and just try to hang on for as long as possible?

Happy Running!  Be proud that you are out there getting it done, regardless of what motivated you to do it in the first place, and know that I too am proud of you!

Amanda – TooTallFritz

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5 thoughts on “Race Mentality

  1. TTF. A nice subject to contemplate and for the most part, I concur with you to “run your own race.” Unless you are fortunate to be a world or American class runner competing for 1st place and/or prize money, few of us have the capacity to race as competitors. We may line up with hundreds or thousands of others, but we do not compete with them, we simply run a race against ourself, and the rest are running alongside you, some behind you and others ahead of you. When you pass someone, offer them encouragement. When you get passed, compliment them. Ditto for those that are running your race and around you.

    I once saw this pic online of a tatoo on some dude’s outer thigh and it showed a male runner running fast and strong, then a ghostly image of same body just a step ahead. The tattoo was a metaphor that he was running a race against himself, and his spirit was winning. I like that and someday gonna get a similar, once my son draws me the design.

    Regarding liking “to run fast” I have different perspective. Fast is relative, but the fast you speak of I do not enjoy and it is always pure pain and agony to do it. It doesn’t mean I don’t run hard, but my brain (or my spirit) does not like to run in that 95-100% Heart Rate max zone, or attempt to run and hold that intensity for too long, as it does to run 5k distance at maximum capacity.

    Rather, my brain and my body like to settle into that speed just a little below lactate threshold, which usually corresponds to me as 80-85% HRmax. And, whatever my training and conditioning have built that may have shifted that threshold curve a bit more to the right, is what I end up running in the marathon. In other words I love to find that “cruising” speed that I call comfortably hard.

    But, there have been times in my distance running career that started with the Chicago Marathon Inferno in 2007, that I have dabbled with the concept of “running fast” and shoot for PRs in some 5k. The best I have ever done was a 6:48 and I didn’t enjoy it until it was over! And, I ran that one just like you describe, way too fast the first mile, start bogging down, then trying to find a way to hold-on.

    Later, after many more tries, I finally discovered I most enjoyed those 5ks where I started out conservatively hard, then by 1.5-miles started pouring it on, saving just enough to hold an even faster sprint the last tenth of a mile to the finish line. Even though it didn’t yield a PR, if I was somewhere slightly under 7-min pace and running hard and strong in the last mile, maybe even passing some younger ones along the way, both my brain and spirit were always happier.

    Then later on, reading books by coaching pros like Daniels, MacMillan and Pfitzinger, they seemed to advise a similar approach for shorter or middle-distance running and in the 5k, go out “controlled-hard” just staying with the lead pack (remember this is advice for world-class runners), then waiting to about mid-distance in the race to pour it on. Remember, one can only run anaerobically for a limited period of time, so I guess the rationale here is to save that zone for the last few minutes of the race.

    Anyways, right on – run a race against yourself and enjoy being in the race with your friends and fellow running comrades!

  2. TTF. Oh, nice race singlet too! You might try another version on your schema someday and on the back add in larger letters above your website logo, “Are You Ready To Run?” and then, “Let’s Go” as Warren Utes used to say!

  3. When I run (training or racing), I wear my Garmin and always have it set on my heart rate. I only monitor my pace at each mile. When I race, I try to start off conservatively, keeping my HR at the low end of my target for the distance, and push it up a little in the middle third and then push it even more for the end. Mentally, it is great, because even though I always get passed in the beginning by the people that start off too fast, I usually end up passing quite a few people in the end. Although I need to adjust things a bit because while I like sprinting at the end, I find that I leave too much in the tank. But, paying attention to my heart rate helping me to know how to pace myself so I don’t crash and burn before the end.

  4. Nice shirt!!!! Love it!

    Boy..it’s easy to figure out who the real runners are, sis. I must be a total imposter cause I have no desire to keep a pace, “go out hard” or beat my best time. I’m more of a Forrest Gump runner. When he is asked why he’s running he responds, “I just felt like runnin'”. Yep, that’s me! I do it for nothing more than I love to run. I know that must totally drive most of you nuts. I just like to lace up my shoes, smell the fresh air and push myself a little past my comfort zone. I don’t enjoy pushing myself so hard that I damn near crawl across the finish line and ask myself why the hell I run. I like to sprint across the line (cause I have l been saving up for this very moment) and enjoy the rest of the day with my family and friends. I also HATE injuries. I would rather just cruise along chatting with a friend than end up on crutches for a job well done! Run Forrest, Run!!! Ha! Regardless of how or why we do it, the important thing is that God has given us the ability to just go out and do it! Amen!

  5. I generally don’t do things for fun. It is just not me. I do things to get better. I have played a ton of golf in my life. So much that if I am not shooting around a certain score I am not having any fun. I know what I can do and if I am not doing it then I need to get my act together. I currently have a 2012 goal of breaking 21:00 in a 5K. Crazy to think that because 12 months ago I was 100lbs heavier and barely could run a 11 min mile. I have it in my mind to put in the work to get there. I don’t plan on racing too much in July or August as I want good weather to hit 21:00.

    After seeing my daughter swim for a long time I realized that the actual race is not important. If you do the work to get better the results will come. I have seen plenty of swimmers not go to enough practices and try to race their hearts out only to come up short for a time. To me anyone that has raced in anything long enough knows where their fitness level is at. They know what they will be able to run/swim/bike that day. They know in their heart how much they have worked. So to me the race isn’t important. The time improvement is just a result of all the hard work put in leading up to the race.

    I have gotten pretty good at gauging my daughter and some other swimmers. Like for the summer season myself and my daughter hoped she would attain more regional times. But when I saw her sitting on her butt more than not during the 5 week break between winter and summer seasons I knew it would be very unlikely she would hit those times she wanted. Maybe she will learn her lesson and the break from Summer to winter season coming up will be different. Only time will tell. I do know I can’t make her put in the extra work nor do I want to do that. The motivation has to come from within herself. As a parent we are much more a spectator than we would like, but it is what it is.

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