I ran the Soldier Field 10 Miler this weekend. My friend and I signed-up for it after an enjoyable Shamrock Shuffle run. It was a beautiful day for a run on the lake. It was a bit hot, but the breeze helped. I was relieved that all the aches from my bout with Fifth’s Disease had subsided and my legs didn’t feel like cement blocks like they did when I ran Bay to Breakers.
To be clear, I call myself a runner the same as a waitress in Hollywood calls herself an actress. I figure if I stick it out long enough that will make me a runner by effort and not necessarily by ability. I have not played Frogger since I was like 10, so I am not even sure I have the game strategy correct anymore. What I do recall as the from the game helps me get through the longer runs. Running is as much a mental sport as it is physical, it begins with that first step out of bed for morning training runs. Sometimes it takes mind over matter to push through to the end of your run or even run through the physical pain. You also have to avoid getting discouraged. You know, when you are barely into your race and you see the faster runners zipping towards the finish line (or worse headed home). I don’t let those runners bother me; they are running a completely different race. It’s like heading to the local tennis court and expecting to challenge Ivan Lendl. I am only competing with myself. Though I do use the other runners around me for motivation, this is where Frogger comes into the picture.
Working my way through all the runners during a race reminds makes me envision Frogger attempting to get across the road, dodging this and that to get there without getting squashed. I use the crowd to motivate my pace and increase my speed. The beginning of the race the excitement gets me going, at the end of the race I am generally pushing hard to meet a goal and have little issue pulling out the last of my energy. The middle of the race is where I face the mental challenge. Frogger to the rescue. I select a person ahead of me and I work to pass them. I move my way through the other runners until I pass them, then find another person to pass. I leap frog my way through the race. It helps in two ways, it forces me to keep my pace up and it offers a distraction. Any distraction helps my mental game!
Goofy? Maybe. But hey it works for me. Those years of sitting next to Trapper Markelz have rubbed off on me. Whatever the case, I was happy with my race and my finish this year.
Now onto training for the Chicago Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon in August. My sister and I signed up for that after an enjoyable Bay to Breakers run. Note to self — Do not commit to races when still experiencing post race runner’s euphoria. Waiting until you are of sound mind is always best, perhaps a two to three week waiting period. Though honestly I need the race to keep me committed to a training plan and I am happy to be back in the game.