Monday, December 3, 2012

Adventrageous Day 3...Wheeee!

It'll get REAL old if I link back to every post of this series. At this point, though, two links isn't excessive, right?

If you missed the excitement of days 1 and 2 of this Outrageous Advent Posting Marathon (Adventrageous), you can get caught up here and here.

Today's Topic: Shutting off the right part of your brain when running. I was reminded of this elusive (to me) skill during my 12-mile run, yesterday. The plan was to run the first 8 miles at my easy, long run pace and the final 4 at my goal marathon pace (gmp). It was a bit warmer than I would've liked and at an odd time of day, for me. Due to it being a Sunday afternoon, traffic was also heavier than I'm normally used to.

Stopping and waiting for cars is a big, giant pain in the butt, btw.

Despite my seemingly endless list of complaints, the run actually felt just fine.

After I hit the 8-mile mark, I sped up to what I hoped was a pace I could maintain for 26.2 miles. I wasn't wearing my watch, so I couldn't actually see what my pace was, at the time. I had my phone with me and was tracking it using this app. The phone was strapped to my arm, though, and I had my music on loud enough to drown out the split announcements. (on purpose)

lalala. Can't hear you, robot lady...

Approximately 15 seconds into the 9th mile, the previously dormant, and ever-so-nasty part of my brain jumped to life.

"Whoa-ho, there, pal. Lets slow it back down"

"Why are you attempting to run over a minute faster, per mile, when it's 80 degrees out and you've already run 8 miles?"

"This is JUST a training run! Did you think it was a race? You can slow down...SLOW DOWN!"

"Ohmigosh. Is that a blister? That's definitely a blister. You should stop immediately"

"Ok. I didn't want to have to resort to this but you don't seem to be paying attention : "

"you will never be able to run a marathon at this pace. why did you ever think you could do this?"
"you. are not. this fast."

Allow me to introduce all of you to JerkBrain. The part of my mentality that provides enough doubt and mental anguish to actually affect me, physically, during an intense portion of running and racing.

Sometimes I'm able to drown it out. Sometimes I'm not.

The problem comes in when I drown out the ugly thoughts with, basically, zero thoughts at all. It's known as "zoning out" and it's my achilles heel, in races. I end up shutting off my brain to the point that I'm no longer focused on my pace or goals. I settle into a feeling of comfort, which shuts off the JerkBrain, but also slows down my body.

It generally happens during the middle miles. Towards the last few miles of the race, I realize what's happened and desperately try to salvage the race. At that point, though, JerkBrain morphs into to PanicBrain when I attempt fuzzy math and learn the amount of time I'll have to make up is just simply not possible.

Bottom line : I need to figure out a way to keep my mind sharp, but positive.

The good news? I acheived that, yesterday. I'm happy to report I triumphed over JB and ran those last four miles about 5 seconds faster, per mile, than my goal marathon pace.

And I didn't even die from the aforementioned blister.

Today's recommendation: Amanda's blog is dear to me because it was the very first running blog I ever read. I'm pretty social networking inept so finding something like that, online, opened up a whole new world, to me. I lurked, there, forever. I eventually followed some of her links and starting lurking on those blogs, but hers was the one I read, regularly. (I'm recently a reformed lurker, btw)

She pours out her thoughts and insights about everything. I wish I had the ability to put my feelings and life into words, the way she does. The ability to run as fast as she does wouldn't hurt, either. Hers is a popular site, but if you haven't had the joy of visiting Runninghood, I encourage you to do so.

Just don't be a lurker...

Care to guess what was in my kids' Advent Calendar, today? I'll give you a hint : It wasn't chocolate.


  1. Aww jerk brain; cleverly labeled;-) Good for you for triumphing; you'll rock this marathon and YOU ARE SUPER FAST!

    1. thank you so much for your confidence in me. It means a lot.
      For real. :)

  2. LOL! Jerk brain... hilarious! I have many of these mental conversations with myself. Gotta occupy your mind somehow! Great job on your training!!

    1. thanks! I need to figure out how to be as triumphant over my jerk brain as you are over yours, though.

  3. I call mine Under Achiever. She's a non-believer, a whiner, a brat sometimes. The best way I have to drown her out is simple: I just start counting steps- either "1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4" over and over or counting from 1 all the way as high as I need to go to shut UA off.

    1. that's a good idea! I try saying the alphabet...backwards, sometimes, too.

  4. One of my goals for Saturday's marathon is to not let jerk brain take over. My brother and friend are going to pace me the second half, so I think that will help. As long as they aren't jerks.:) Kidding, they're nice sometimes.

    1. Here's another goal : If you go ahead and BQ, then I'll do it, too, and we'll meet up in Boston 2014!!
      Great job scoring pacers, too. You're going to have an amazing marathon!

  5. I'm so glad I'm not the only one with a (big) part of my brain trying to convince me that I'm not as good as I think I am. I hear from the Jerk Brain and the Underachiever, but mostly, I just hear Big Fat Lies. "You won't be disappointed with your time" or "You'll be sorry if you keep running, but happy if you walk." Big. Fat. Liar.

    1. Yes! Thank you for reminding me of Big Fat Liar Brain. I've met that guy, too.
      "Turns out you never really wanted that PR, after all."