Tired legs and mind games

I always say that my best runs are done when the weather is abysmal; snow, sleet, gales, rain.. Somehow I seem to run faster and stronger. However, we had a glorious weekend of warmth and sun and I was excited about my long run on Sunday. Not least for the prospect of getting some sun on my paler than pale face. For the first time in months (MONTHS!) I got to run in my capris and a short-sleeved t-shirt. In fact I found myself wishing I had worn my sleeveless top, that’s how hot it got. I even brought my water bottle! It was great to ditch my warm winter tights and expose my legs to some air and sun but on the downside this meant there was some emergency leg shaving in the morning… (Joke, no joke).

Not sure it was a good idea to do almost two hours of legwork at the gym the day before – I felt like I was running in treacle. I did have to play my usual mind games to keep going; if people could listen in on my thoughts when I run I would probably be committed. I sometimes literally have to coax myself to “just keep going, just one more step“. Or “you only feel tired now because you are running up a hill” – ok so it’s a very slight uphill that you can’t see with the naked eye but nevertheless.. And my most used tactic is to trick myself – when my body gets to the point that it wants to turn back I distract it until I have run past the turning point (there a few places in the run where I would return home when doing a shorter run). If anyone said “good girl” to me I would thump them. I cannot think of anything more patronising to say to a grown woman but yet I find myself saying this to myself whenever I either pick up pace or managed to keep on going… Bleurgh!

Another thing I like to do is to watch the other runners. And as much as I know you should never (ever) compare yourself (you have no idea of their fitness level, what distance they have run or are running, injuries etc), I can’t help myself. I don’t do it in the sense of “they are better / I am better” but I look at the way they run, their kit (uuh, I like those tights!) and try to figure out what “kind of” a runner they are. It does make me wonder what I look like to the outside world. What do people think when they see me running? Do they look at me and see the slight limp that I can feel that I have? Are they laughing at the fact that my hair is up on two high ponytails making me look like Pippi Longstocking? Does my bum wiggle and wobble? Even though, I feel tough as nails when I am doing a long run but I have a feeling people look at me and wonder whether they should call an ambulance – there’s a runner about to collapse. What can I say, I am a mix of arrogance and confidence, wrapped up in the impostor syndrome.

Ok, maybe a little teenie weenie part of me thinks this… 🙂

However, I managed a 21km run in 2h 4mins and was pretty happy with that. My leg was pretty sore again afterwards, especially the next day but hey ho – it has felt worse.

7 thoughts on “Tired legs and mind games

  1. Love the point about how you’re perceived when you’re running. I like to think they’re all looking at me whispering to one another, “look at this guy, he’s so fit, handsome and cool!” When in fact they’re probably saying, “why does that bald man have such a red face? And why’s he breathing like that?”

    1. Wouldn’t it be great to see a clip that someone had filmed of you in secret when you are running? Just to see what you look like when you’re into the 15th kilometer and distracted by thoughts of a cold drink and trying not to trip over your legs? And when I say “you”, I obviously mean “me”. 🙂 It’s the whole thing of feeling like a badass superhero when you run a distance run, so you think you look like one and that others automatically are in awe of you. Totally ignoring the fact that to them the sweaty reality of you huffing and puffing is comical. (Again – “you” = “me”) 🙂

  2. Heh … sometimes when I am running and I go by people …(normal walking people, not athletic running people) … I try to calm my breathing so I’m not huffing and puffing like I’m on the verge of vomiting.

    The funny thing is that it seems to help me really calm down and breath easier. Why in the world I don’t do this just in general I don’t know.

    And … damn, you run far!

    1. I do that too!!! Haha, how funny. And I pay more attention to my form and try to look like I am not in all the pain that I am. 🙂 But you are right that it would be helpful to try to calm the breathing just generally rather than hyperventilate your way through the run.

      I still don’t run as far as I would like to. In my dreams I will be doing a marathon distance once a month but I am still a loooong way off. 🙂 But thank you for saying that!

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