Your Race Is Your Reality: Adapting Your Running Mindset
I had a professor in graduate school who, in class and at supervision meetings, would always randomly throw out the phrase “your perception is your reality.” As a natural overthinker, I would constantly look for a deeper meaning to something that is very simple: we see and believe what we want to see and believe.
I once said that on a first date and surprisingly still landed a second one. You think things get weird in the late stages of a hundred miler? Try dating a psychology student.
So how does this fit into running?
I recently ran a half marathon with about 3,000 others in a medium-sized town. The weather wasn’t warm, but the weather wasn’t frigid. The course was dyed a nice shade of gray, draped in a fog that would not let up. Welcome to Texas winter, y’all.
The course itself ran through my alma mater, Texas A&M, but other than that, it was pretty unremarkable. I ran a very good race here last year and put in another solid effort again, but not without working through some adversity. Adversity that came post-race.
Given how much I love the running community, hanging out post-race is something I enjoy doing– both catching up with running club members and meeting new people.
Following this specific race, a lot of conversation naturally had to do with the course, the weather, the day itself. But I was thrown off by how different everyone’s interpretation of their race was. It was like we all ran something different.
I kept babbling about how much I loved the downhills while another guy was asking where all the downhills were, only noticing the uphills. Seriously? I mean, there were hills on the course, but what goes up must come down somewhere.
Others kept talking about the conditions: this was both a ‘great’ day and a ‘humid, tough one’ at the same time. One woman called it ‘easy’, while another called it ‘brutal.’
Didn’t we all just do the same thing??
Sure, like any race, there was a variance of ages and fitness levels. But everyone’s interpretations had me shaking my head a little (I also heard a similar spectrum of discourse regarding this year’s California International Marathon as well…).
So which was the reality? The answer is all of them, but also none of them. One thing is for sure— what we believe is our reality and our belief in how we adapt can affect our performances a great deal.
Here are some thoughts I came away with, concerning this particular race and how I was able to adapt to have a good day:
Thanks for reading and remember that in a world that is so objective nowadays with advanced GPS watches, carbon fiber-plated shoes, and Strava, your race and pace are what you make of it.
Believe in your run.
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