This is a guest post from Ryan of No More Bacon. If you’re not already reading his blog, do yourself a favor and head over there, it will rock your socks off!
Brandon has been doing quite a bit of running as of late and from what I can tell he’s been putting up some pretty decent numbers as far as running is concerned. Especially for someone who is so new to it.
I’ve run in two different 5Ks so far and will definitely be running in some more. I love the energy of the race. It’s so invigorating and almost guarantees a faster pace than what you’re used to running. The adrenaline just seems to really take over. At least that’s been my experience.
Speaking as a race veteran (tongue planted so firmly in cheek I’ll probably put a hole through it) I must say that each race was a very different experience for me.
My first 5K ever was a race that benefitted Autism Research and awareness called the Strides for Autism 5K. Now I have a son with autism so the race was really important to me. I wasn’t worried about any specific time. I did however know that my wife and boys would be waiting for me at the finish line. I finished in about 34 minutes. Not fast by any means, but it was 6 minutes faster than my personal best, and that was on a treadmill no less.
My second race was the Salt Lake City Marathon. I had a benchmark that I knew I wanted to beat and beating that time basically became an obsession for me. I was literally checking my pace at least every two minutes. That kind of tracking will take a toll on a dude. When I got to the halfway point I was at 16:30; on pace to finish a full minute better than my goal. Unfortunately the second half of the race had a HUGE (well huge for my “husky” frame) uphill section. I got a good start on the hill and I was feeling good until I got about halfway to the top. Then, I started to get sick. Whatever I had eaten for breakfast decided to play Montezuma’s revenge and I was literally choking back my own vomit. Sorry for the imagery. I stopped to walk to avoid tossing my cookies and I immediately looked down at my watch. I was slipping behind my pace. I walked a little longer and stared at my watch as I walked. I wasn’t going to beat my time. Because I had fallen behind my “pace,” I lost all self confidence. The last mile or so I was pretty much dogging it until I sprinted to the finish line. I still had a lot of gas in the tank but I let the watch dictate whether or not I was going to be successful. I finished in 34:30.
I can almost guarantee that had I been watchless that day, I would have bettered my time.
I’d like to say that this is limited to races but I find myself doing it all the time. On the treadmill, the bike, during my circuit training; I get so caught up in the time portion of what I’m doing that I lose all focus on the exercise itself.
In order to beat the watch I’ve done a few things. I’ll wear it backwards so that checking it is more of a chore. Somehow that helps me check it less often and I can just run for the sake of running. I’ve put electrical tape over the timer on the treadmill and the bike. I’m considering an all out declaration of war against all things timepiece. I wonder how my boss would feel about that.
Anyway, am I alone in this? Do any of you obsess over times? What do you do to combat it so you can just enjoy the ride?