I Bolder Bouldered yesterday with 50,000 of my besties. As a first-timer I was in awe much of the time. It was an awesome event to behold - from the costumes (including a dude wearing nothing but shorts depicting Michelangelo's David and a girl dressed like a gnome) to the skydivers to the elite runners (I saw freaking Shalane Flanagan run!) to the Slip n Slide.
As you dear and loyal blog-readers know I'm pretty hard on myself. I say this honestly though - yesterday I ran like crap. I crossed the finish line feeling like I could have run it again - an obvious sign that I could have pushed myself harder. Even so, I had a blast. I spent the weekend in Boulder with friends, ate delicious food, laughed a lot, had great conversations, got to partake in one of the best organized events on the planet, and, have I mentioned, I saw Shalane run?!?
After a few hours of self-hatred, disappointment, and soul-searching yesterday, here's what I know now: more than anything I need to work on my mental game. Why can't I trust myself to compete? I need to relax and remember that I train hard so I can race confidently and run smart when it counts. I don't need to stand at the starting line thinking of all the things that could wrong; after all, I put my time and miles in during the week, so that I'm prepared when the starting gun goes off. I need to remember that I train hard so I can fight my way through a race and cross the finish line feeling proud that I have nothing left to give. I need to remember that I am capable of blocking out distractions, cramps, and insecurities because I've done it before.
I'm trying to insert more fun runs and speed work into my routine to give myself more confidence and to just relax about the sport. Tonight my roommates and I ran Jack Quinn's (they would like to be referred to in this blog as "my cool new roommates"...anyone willing to go out and run is pretty cool in my book). Then while they drank beer after our run, I went out and did the route again as a speed workout. Even after racing yesterday morning and heading to the Incline in the evening, I ran my second Jack Quinn's loop at a much more Mary-like pace than I ran Boulder. It was a good reminder of what can happen when I just go out and run.
Even if I ran like shit, I looked the part - purple and gold pride all the way!