This is the first time I am not doing the Shamrock Run in three years and it looks to be a gorgeous day for it. Instead, I am going to take my truck in for servicing and then meet Mike for coffee, maybe hit the mall. A lot of you have written, spoken to me or wonder why I am not running the Shamrock Run.
The truth is no matter how physically prepared you can be, if you are not mentally ready it can be worse. Three weeks ago, I did the Lockport Y10, a 10 miler that runs along beautiful but hilly country roads. The weather was perfect. I started out slow because I wanted to pace myself and determine how prepared I was for the upcoming running season.
By the time I got to mile 3, the Checkers members of group 30 were already passing me. I am in group 25. By the time I got to mile 5, one of my dead rabbits passed me. I had to stop to catch my breath and get water. At mile 7, my legs were spaghetti. And at mile 9, the big hill, I was dragging my feet…so glad there was a lot of gravel on the road to act as rollers. By the time I crossed the finish line, I felt like I had been to hell and back more times than anyone cares to know. No matter how good I felt physically, my mindset simply wasn’t there.
Mornings of treadmilling and weight lifting simply does not have the same effect as preparing oneself mentally. We had one of the coldest winters in history so outdoor running was rather limited. Cabin fever settles in and before you know it, you lose all interest. And having issues of my own only compounded the problem. Life is funny sometimes…it can play a joke on you but along the way, it can deal some severe blows to your ego as well.
Four years ago, I was over 30 pounds heavier smoking almost 2 packs a day – enough to make a monthly car payment. My first race in 2000, 29 minutes. My race in 2005, 27 minutes. My current personal best – 21:15 in 2007. All in all, 117 races. But if the mental challenge is not there, its all for naught.
For someone with an extreme competitive fire, it is very unbecoming of me not to join the masses of over 3,000 runners in one of Buffalo’s premier races. I am just simply not prepared mentally. And by running the race, forcing myself to do it, I run the risk further injuring my pride. That is no worse than a hamstring pull, shin splints, or a stress fracture.
Racing is a challenge to see who is prepared physically and mentally. You need both just like you need both ears to hear, both eyes to see, both legs to walk…without both, its more demanding. Just like you have to be in the mindset to want to do it, to fuel that competitive fire. Many of you who get my e-mails or see my favorite quote here and there will know what it says and means. Those of you who dont’, here it is.
-Pre (Steve Prefontaine)
I shall be back…….