In theory, any time you race a new distance you get a PR; so today's 7K race was a PR for me. But not really. It was a hard race - mentally and physically. Let me start at the beginning.
I always sleep in my zensah calf sleeve the night before races. Last night, shin felt good, so I didn't.
DH and I arrived at a local elementary school at 9:25. It was 43 and sunny - perfect weather. The parking situation was horrible - I am very picky about where I park my car - so we ended up several blocks away. We were meeting a group from work - two other couples and another guy, none of whom we've run with before. More than 200 people registered for the race, and were crowded into a gym waiting to move outside for to the start line. Pre-race conversation makes it obvious that everyone else from work is super-speedy, and I start to get nervous.
The race started down a straight away, and I was able to keep pace with DH for the entire first mile (9:51). The second mile went up a 60 degree hill, which I walked, losing DH who was able to run the whole hill, Finished mile 2 at 22:01. The race was an out and back, so by mid-mile 2, the speedy people were coming back towards the finish. I saw the whole work group, DH leading, at about minute 24. I was hit the turned around at 25:30. Mile 2 was up a slight incline, and at around 30 minutes, my shin just went "boom" - pain. Shin splintly awfulness. I walked 3/4s of the next mile, and can't tell you where I was timewise at mile 3. I was really struggling mentally at this point - lots of mental "why do I bother running all the time if everyone is still faster than me? I'm not a runner. This sucks." By the time I hit mile 4, I had regained some confidence, and ran the whole last .25, finishing the race in 50.25. Which really isn't a bad time.
What makes this race disappointing is #1, the shins splints I'm dealing with that came from too much speedwork this week (mile repeats, tempo run, and race) #2, the fact I mentally was not tough enough to run my own race and not worry about what anyone else would think about my time. I am super shy in person, and sometime running, especially with other people, makes me feel like everyone is secretly pointing and laughing about the fat girl who calls herself an athlete. I need to be stronger than that.
The good news: Husband finished in an awesome 42:02.
What are your strategies for mental toughness?