Monday, September 21, 2009

on being a bit of a perfectionist

Running has really been "good for me" when it comes to my perfectionist-like tendencies. Running is something that I will never be really good at. I like to do it, I keep getting better, but I will never win a race. I'll never win my age group (unless maybe I'm running at 80, and at that point you just plain old deserve a prize for still being able to do it) and I probably won't ever crack the top 5 at any point (I'd say the top 10, but I freakishly did that in July on Canada day), but I do it. It is something that helps me set goals, go farther, feel uncomfortable, it helps me push, it helps me push even farther... oh, and it helps me stay in shape and feel pretty good once the exhaustion is over.

Even though I know very well that I'm never going to win, I always want to do my best. I want to get out and run as hard as I can on the day and I definitely get disappointed when I feel like I "fail" myself. The bad runs make me feel bad, the good runs make me feel like I'm on top of the world.

Yesterday was a little of both. On one hand, I felt really happy for finally* getting in under 2 hours. On the other, I just squeaked in (1:59.17) and thought that I had a faster time in me. And maybe I did. Maybe with a little more toughness, I could have pushed through the nausea, lack of sugar (due to the nausea...was trying to stave off the puke by not drinking too much or taking any more gel), and jelly legs. I don't know. What I do know is that the last 5k felt terrible and mile 12 was one of the most painful "I'd do anything to stop running" type miles of my running so far. I wanted to quit so bad. I wanted to walk, I wanted to sit down and cry, I wanted to do anything but keep running. Not so coincidentally, it was also the slowest "race mile" I've run in a year. I look at that mile (and a few others, but that one in particular) and think "why didn't I push harder?", "why couldn't I have just sucked it up a little more?", "seriously? what happened?" But at the same time, I was spent. It really was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

So the "normal" person in me is really happy with getting it done, but the perfectionist in me is a little angry and disappointed that I didn't finish strong and that I didn't pull through with a little bit of a faster time.

So yes- a little insight into the inner workings of a quasi-perfectionist. Running has helped me to let go of always feeling like I have to be the best...but every so often, my own best doesn't always feel good enough for that little voice inside of me.

I'll post some pictures of pre, during and aftermath later this week.

*I guess by finally, I mean that I wanted to go under 2 hours last September, it didn't happen and I had to wait a whole year due to winter, injuries and trying to come back slowly. So really, it was just my second try at the sub-2 hour so I'm not sure if finally is the right word.


Anonymous said...

Remember that those of us who can't even bring themselves to run a kilometer have an incredible amount of admiration for your you had a crappy mile - sounds like you still had a great race overall!


Lulu said...

That was awesome, I love reading about your running, good work!