A Lesson in Staying Relaxed

I find it amusing to read some of the interviews, articles, and blogs from people about the race.  Everyone is so geared up mentally and physically 1-2 weeks out from the race.  I have already heard comments like, “I don’t want to bother you as I know you have an important race coming up.” I’m being questioned about what is going through my head at right now.

Right now I’m thinking about what I want to do for lunch.  Hmm… I wonder if the Denver Bronco’s have a shot at winning against the Steelers today?  I’m thinking about basically anything but my race in six days.  Why?

The Washington Husky Classic in 2010.  I was fit, I was doing all the little things, I was cranking workouts, I was mentally visualizing 10 days out how I was going to run 14:10 and hit a provisional qualifying mark and winning the 2nd heat of the 5k.  I had run 20x400m in under 68 avg with short recovery solo on PSU’s indoor track a week out.  I flew from State College to Seattle and with the travel I left my race in State College.  After 400m I was tired, 70 seconds per 400m on an oversized track felt awful.  I was tight and anything but relaxed.  I faded to a nearly last 14:56.  It was my slowest time I ever ran in the blue and white Penn State uniform.  The cool-down took forever as 3 miles felt like eternity.

Washington Husky Classic 2010 - Indoor 5,000m

I shrugged it off, ate some ice cream and had a beer or two.  This one race wasn’t going to ruin my last year at Penn State.  Two weeks later I’m at the Big 10 Championships and entered in the second heat (slow heat) of the 5k.  The final placing is based on time though, so a good race could score points for the team.  However, I couldn’t get excited in the hotel room two hours before.  I was watching the BASSMASTER Classic on ESPN2 and remembering good fishing memories with my Dad and Bro.  I can’t seem to get nervous and have absolutely nothing to lose in this race.  I end up going through the mile in 4:32 and feel like I’m jogging.  The pace slows down as one by one guys fall off pace.  With a mile to go I start hammering and drop a 32 second last 200m to win easily in 14:21 on a flat 200m track (converted to 14:17 for a banked track – a PR by 8 seconds).  It’s remarkable how fast you can run when you’re relaxed.  I ended up running the 6th fastest time of the day and scoring 3 points for the team, helping us place one spot higher than if I didn’t score those points.

Winning the slow heat of the Big 10 Championships 5,000m. This was 2 weeks after Washington.

I’m not going to fall into that mistake of over-thinking, over-analyzing, and over-training before the marathon in six days.  My career will not be remember for one race – as I hope nobody but me remembers the Washington Husky Classic!  I’m looking forward to heading out to lunch with Sean Schnur who was kind enough to let me stay at his place for a few days.  He’s out crushing a 65 mile bike ride before joining me for my 2nd run this afternoon.  How cool is that?

Stay relaxed,



4 thoughts on “A Lesson in Staying Relaxed

  1. Great post. Amazing the power of the mind. Have a great race and a fun time! I always tell people who are nervous and worried about a race to carry the biggest smile they can, through the entire race and the positive energy they receive in return will get them to the finish line.

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