Feeling: frustrated

I went to my first race expo yesterday for the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K (I am participating in the latter…). Yesterday from 4-8pm was the first day of the expo, and I decided to head there early, thinking that 4-5pm on the first day would not be super crowded. But with 100,000 expected attendees, there really isn’t a moment when the expo would not be crowded. So after picking up my packet smoothly, I decided that I was there already and I would wait it out. Being a newbie blogger, and attending the expo alone as my friend isn’t able to go until Saturday, I did not take any pictures 😦

I guess being there made me feel like such a wannabe runner – I wear the same shoes to run, to lift, to crosstrain, and to trek across foreign cities in; I only wear free t-shirts and booty shorts for all active situations; I own no headbands, don’t know what compression anything is, and carry my keys in my hand when I run. So I picked up my race shirt and some free lotions and gels I had no idea what to do with and headed through all the vendors selling things I really had absolutely no use for but wanted badly to purchase!

I felt like I needed everything – from The Stick (which is actually quite awesome), to a belt to store my crap when I go on a run so I can bring keysphonechapstick and not have to choose one of the three, a water resistant jacket for Sunday when I run a 10K during a hurricane, a headband so sweat doesn’t drip into my eyes and hair is out of my face, the list goes on! I ended up talking myself out of buying anything because 1) I am very very very indecisive and like to compare options and prices, 2) I felt like things were overpriced at the expo because it’s a giant arena full of runners excited for a big race, and 3) I really didn’t need any of those things.

But do I? I’m also frustrated because I’m not feeling 100% before the race. Cardiovascular-wise I could run for ages, but parts of my body keep aching in the you-should-really-stop way. My knees for example, hurt after I tried jogging a few miles today. I stopped but still needed to struggle and limp home to post-run yoga and ice. I don’t understand why my physical body isn’t able to handle what I can cardiovascularly.

I have a complicated relationship with running – it’s a little more than just love-hate, because I never hated it. It just never loved me back! I ran and ran and poured my heart into it, and only came out injured (stress fracture, shin splints) and disheartened afterwards. I gave up and kept it as just a hobby, only to want to be the runner I was more and more. So I was smart this time (or so I thought) and slowly increased my mileage by 10-15% each week, cross trained, strength trained, and befriended a foam roller. Still my knees hurt! Still my goals of just running a measly 10K are being tested right now. I ran an 8K untrained, after running less than 50 miles all year last December and did it after standing in the freezing cold for 30 minutes after a late start. Why is this time so different?

I’m frustrated. Do I need those expensive toys and gear to become a good runner? Do I have to love oatmeal and carbs and sweets (things I never crave: carbs and sweets)? I just want to be myself – my meat loving, weight lifting addicted, booty short wearing self – and be physically able to run! I was tempted during the expo to sign up for longer races, because I was so drawn into the supportive, friendly culture, but I’m not sure I’m ready. Spending all Saturday icing my knees in hope that they’ll cooperate on Sunday.

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2 thoughts on “Feeling: frustrated

  1. Good luck with your 10K. If it helps I am the complete opposite – I buy the gear and do you know what it makes very little difference to me. The headband gets warm and stifling, the compression stuff is only really good on very long distances and a banana can be just as good as a gel. The only thing I can’t live without is my Garmin but that’s because I’m results orientated. Like you I am plagued with aches and pains but listen to your body and do the best you can, if your knees aches maybe concentrate on getting round comfortably and finishing. Anyhoo good luck and all the best, I’m sure you will do better than you think xx

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