A New Attitude

I already forgot about that race that shall not be mentioned. Amazing what a few days and a lot of beer can do. Thanks, beer.

I’m already formulating a plan for my next race in January. I’d tell you what that plan is but then I won’t follow through because, well, I’m a quitter. That’s why part of this new plan (that I will tell you about) involves an attitude adjustment.

Once my mental state goes downhill, it’s over for me. I can’t get it back. I read all these blog posts about how people tough it out and dig deep during a race, and I wish that was me, but it’s not. This basically means that I’m the least competitive person you’ll ever meet because I give up so easily. I find it really easy to stop caring.

So if you like to beat your friends in races – or in anything really – I’m the girl you want to hang around. I’d be like the old lady that Finnick carried on his back in Catching Fire, except I’d be completely able to walk and 30 years younger.

If I was a dog, I’d be this dog.

So, goal #1: Attitude adjustment

I’ve had several people tell me that I get inside of my head too much when I race. Not sure how I’m going to go about fixing that but I guess I have a month to figure it out. So here’s to not being a poopy pants anymore. Also, here’s to not actually pooping my pants anymore. Why not go for two goals?

I’m already excited about my next race, so I think that helps. Plus, you know my attitude is starting to change when this doesn’t get me down:


Pretty sweet place there.

What do you do to keep up your morale during a race? (If you tell me you repeat mantras, I’m going to delete your comment. haha. Just kidding. Maybe.)


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29 responses to “A New Attitude

  1. What keeps up my morale during races is that I don’t want to have tell people that I acted like a little bitch and gave up. I’ve had races when I’ve honestly had a flashing desire for a car to graze me or something so I’d have a really legit reason to stop the pain.

    So peer pressure. That’s what keeps me going.

  2. Melissa

    If that Patti LaBelle video doesn’t cheer you up, we can’t be friends anymore. Here it is again in case you thought you could get away with not watching it: http://youtu.be/QWfZ5SZZ4xE

    Related: let’s get those pastel outfits for the Celebration half. I’m sure Michelle will be down.

  3. Verlin

    I’m with Kara – peer pressure. We all need our attitudes adjusted once in a while, but most people just don’t realize it, so look, you’re ahead of the game! Good luck with the self-bitch-slap.

  4. Honestly, just getting to the finish motivates me. If I want to give up I just think about how much longer it would take to get to the finish than just running the damn thing.

    I am apparently competitive – or maybe just excited to see people I know while racing – because I really wanted to find Katy on Saturday. I didn’t, but just thinking I could find her kept me moving fast(er than usual).

    • Rachael @ Happy Healthy Runner

      I do this too! I tell myself I’ll get to the finish line much faster by running than by walking. Usually that will motivate me for another three steps or so, wherein I have to re-tell myself that I am a faster runner than walker. And I break races down into “just run one more mile and then reassess where you’re at”… Once I hit that mile I’ll re-tell myself that until (if it’s a half persay) I reach the 10 mile mark and then I tell myself I’ll die before I walk in a 5k again (because I have in fact walked during a 5k and it was very demoralizing for me).

    • Paula

      You are definitely competitive! I give up keeping up with you during the first two miles of every race. Now if you could just get pregnant again, I’d be set.

  5. First of all, you are my new best friend for the Hunger Games reference. 🙂

    Secondly, I’ve had two ‘long’ races to date-a 20K and a half marathon and my mental strategy for when I got bored or tired or wanted it to be over with was completely different for both. In the half, I started listing everything I was grateful for, every single thing I could think of, no matter how silly or trivial (i.e. the ice I shoved down my shorts is really cooling things off). For the 20K, the temps dropped by 20 degrees during the race and it started raining so I ended up in a really funky head space. So I thought about my dogs-all rescues-as I’m training for a marathon and raising funds for the rescue organizations we got them from. Their trials and their stories and the memories I have of getting them back to health is what I focused on-even though, I can tell you, that was a much darker head space than thinking about stuff I was grateful for. But it seemed to work.

    I am still fairly new to running and to getting into longer distances so I figure I’ll just have to figure out what works at the time-I probably won’t have one thing that does it for me when things get tough.

  6. David

    You have it all over #2506 and especially over #3114. You can be all like “My mother could have beaten you in that race! (That may or may not be true, I don’t really know. That might be an epic trash-talk fail!)

    I’m sure you’ll be back and lovin’ life in the next one! 🙂

  7. The only thing that helps me really zone out is running with someone or listening to music loud enough to drown out my own thoughts. It’s really hard to get down on yourself while fist-pumping through an entire race.

    What if you listen to a podcast or a book? I know it’s not pump-you-up material, but it might get the ol’ brain fixated on something else.

    • Paula

      You know, I’ve been meaning to get an audio book and try that out for awhile now and keep forgetting. I’m definitely trying that.

  8. If I were a dog, I would definitely be that dog also. He has life figured out actually.
    And I obviously have no input as far as the race morale goes considering I give up when I try to run 3 miles. But i DO wish you the best of luck and I’m sure you will figure out a way to pump yourself up and feel better about the next one! I think sometimes shit just happens and such is life.

  9. Laura WL

    I tend to zone out on music or a book and just focus on looking around me at the landscape or whatever (this is easier in the country obviously) for halves. Also just smiling when you run helps (I know it sounds stupid but it does.) I honestly enjoy running as long as it doesn’t go on forever bc I get into a rhythm and my mind sort of blanks out. (For marathons its totally different and I try to dedicate each mile to a person I love and think about them for inspiration bc those are mentally taxing on me.) Also, my PW was when I was literally poopy and was just like eff this and ran really slow and just enjoyed the weather and day and other people, and it ended up being a race that I wasn’t dissappointed in. Sorry you didn’t enjoy your race. 😦

  10. Listening to a good playlist helps. But I think you just have to plug along. In NYC I ran a great 22 miles. I enjoyed the crowds and felt good. The last 4 were hard, but I was not going to walk and see and amazing PR slip through my fingers. I just keep going like the energizer bunny.

  11. Amber K

    Hey at least you compete in races. I won’t even do that!

  12. kathleen

    You know that scene in Rudy where the coach is yelling at them during practice and he says something like, “if you don’t want to work hard then you should leave” (obviously I’m paraphrasing and his words are a tad bit more poetic)… Well, whenever I see that scene I think- yep.. outta here.
    I’m a quitter too. Sometimes, when I only have a couple of blocks left on a run, I walk. Just because it’s so close to the end. I mean, new music and new shoes can only get me so far. Maybe a whole new awesome outfit will help?
    I have yet to figure out what’s going to motivate me to not quit. I feel like if I try and raise money for a charity or something maybe that will help me run faster or just not walk during a race? I don’t know…usually it’s just the beer at the finish line that does it for me. That, and when they have pizza.

  13. Is it bad that sometimes I think about the great food I’m going to eat when I finish the race?

  14. Allyssa

    Hahahaha! We have the same race attitudes. I do the exact same thing! I can never get a mantra or competitive strategy to make me keep going.

  15. Rob Runs

    I tell myself, “there are two ways back to the car, the slow way or the slower way.” And honestly I just let my negativity out – I grumble, I curse, I scowl. If anyone’s (un)lucky enough to be running with me they get to learn a whole new vocabulary made mostly of four-letter words strung together in an increasingly creative fashion.

  16. Stephen Dent

    I saw an interview with an Ironman Runner, she said she keeps saying the colour of the vest of the runner in front of her over and over in her head till she passes them, then takes the next runners vest colour and does the same! and that motivated her to pass more runners! don’t elite runners get on your nerves?!?!?! keep up the blogs Paula and Merry Christmas to you Hubs and family.

    • Paula

      I could do that but in the opposite way of where I say the color of the vest of everyone passing me. 🙂
      Thank you and Merry Christmas to you too!

  17. At one point this year (OK maybe a few times) I would be very upset with my finish time. A wise girl from FL once told me that not all races will be great races. 🙂 So true! I’ve learned not to think too much on my finish time but just focus on getting to the finish line. I’ve learned to actually enjoy my races. Well I guess I had to when I’m spending lots of money to travel to these races. 🙂

    What keeps me going is knowing that I am accomplishing something that many people would like to accomplish. I know it sounds cheesy but it works for me. I also listen to lots of great music.

    Perhaps you need a break from running and/or racing?

    • Paula

      I do take a break every year and it helps. My break is coming up again after March 1. 🙂 I guess when you do as many races as we do, there’s gonna be some crappy ones in there. Thanks for that reminder!

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