The Negative Mental Train

Last Weekend I ran the “Last Chance Half Marathon” in Calgary.  The day was cold cold cold and snowy.  I wasn’t too worried about the cold, but I was super nervous.  Regardless, several challenges did present themselves.  The following is a depiction of how I dealt with said challenges.

I was nervous- oh so nervous.  My heart race was already way too high lining up before the start gun even went off.  I tried to focus on deep & relaxed breathing….. it helped- a little bit.

The gun went off and I shot out to the front- literally the front.  I was in first place overall for about 5 seconds- it felt great.  I knew it wouldn’t last, but it certainly helped me keep track of my placement in the race.  That was beneficial mentally- knowing where I stood at all times.

Within the first 300 meters it was myself and one other female running side by side at the front.  We ran steady and strong side by side for awhile.  Then I had a clem coughing fit and my heart rate shot up.  I struggled with breathing and therefore my pace slowed down a bit.  Sharon was in the lead.

Now here is a critical point in the race.  The thinking process that occurs after something undesired happens.  I kept telling myself the race is young and I can still catch Sharon.  Which for awhile this was going well. But then more distance was put in between us and I started on the negative train.  I felt bad for myself and was disappointed that I still wasn’t closing the gap.  The result- my pace slowed even more.  I played the “woah is me song” for a little while.  But then eventually I decided my pace wasn’t fast enough and that I wasn’t expending enough energy on running- instead wasting it on the negative train.  I picked up the pace again, but still not fast enough.

Once I hit the turn around spot and saw other people behind me, then I stepped it up.  I got serious.  I zoned into my body, my breathing, and keeping my pace strong.  There was one lady, Allison, who was right behind me.  I kept pushing and digging deeper, but so did she.  The snow made the traction hard to run on and the cold weather was nipping at my ears.  But I knew my abilities and I knew I could keep going strong- so I did.  I didn’t allow any room for any negative thoughts or any worries about Allison acting catching me and passing me.

And she didn’t.  The last km I opened up and as I approached the last 200-300 meters I dug deep.  I passed a few men and I ran with all my might.

I placed 2nd female and 18th overall out of 331.  Im pretty happy with my results- and glad that I ditched the negative mental train….. as who knows where that would’ve taken me over 21km!


The starting sprint
The starting sprint
Showing off the silver
Showing off the silver
Ahhh- race is done
Ahhh- race is done

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