Hello, reader of the internet! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, if you’re in the U.S. otherwise I hope you’re just had a good Thursday last week!  Plenty of things to be thankful for in my life–I GOT ENGAGED (!!!!!), we’re having a little baby girl in April and I FINALLY CAUGHT THAT SHINY VULPIX I HUNTED FOR 6 HOURS IN POKEMON LET’S GO EEVEE!

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She actually said yes!!

Sorry for yelling.  I’m just really excited. Equally. For all three things.

Let’s talk about running.

Saturday I ran the Moustache Run Half Marathon in Minneapolis, it was an awesome event put together to support men’s prostate cancer research. There were hundreds of people toeing the line, hundreds of moustaches, and beer. What more could you ask for?

Unfortunately, things didn’t really go my way this time around.

We were running a bit late morning of, packet pickup took a bit longer than anticipated, and a poor porta-potty to human ratio led to me starting about a minute after the gun.

I told myself as I started out, “don’t let it derail your plan, run your race. Chip timing is wonderful.” My plan stayed on track for the first 4 miles. Somehow, even with all my weaving in-and-out of people the first mile, I managed to hit goal pace. I know I probably worked a little harder than I should have for that, but I settled in for the next few miles and tried to get comfortable in my “race zone.”

My legs had other plans.

Now, before I go any further, I just want to be clear that this isn’t a complaint fest. I’m very thankful that I had the opportunity to race and for the 9-ish minute PR.

The whole point of this blog post is this:

Sometimes, race day just isn’t your day. And that’s okay.

I’ve been running at least semi-competitively for the better part of the past ten years. Those ten years have been filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Somedays you come in and everything is telling you it’s not a good day, and you crush it. Other times, you pay your entry fee in hopes of a big PR and things fall apart. You just have to roll with the punches.

When I was seventeen I went to a cross country camp in hopes of getting recruited by the college that was hosting (I didn’t) and the coach (I can’t remember his name for the life of me) kept drilling this sentence into our heads:

Worry about what you can control.

And that stuck with me.

You can’t control the weather, you can’t control the course. As showcased last weekend, sometimes you can’t even control if your body is ready to  roll on race day.

But you can control your attitude and how you react to those forces of nature.

It’s taken some time to get to this point. It’s not like a switch flipped and I was all of a sudden okay underperforming when I know my training should have put me a solid step above where I was. But as soon as I got here, I became a lot more appreciative those good training days, the post race hangs and the support of your fellow athlete.

As a runner, you know you’re going to have your ups and downs. That’s just the reality of the sport.  I’m not saying you have to be all “loosey goosey” on this subject–I took my fair share of “upset time” on Saturday–but maybe don’t be so hard on yourself? Just a thought.

I know this is kind of a goofy and “preachy” post, but it’s something I think about often, and I’m glad I finally got to put pen-to-paper on this topic.

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If you’ve made it this far, thank you very much! I’ve got one more race coming up in 2018 and I’m just kinda going to “roll with it.” Not planning on running fast, planning on enjoying the ambience and some time out on the roads.

Following that race, I’m going to take at least a week completely off.  I think Saturday’s race and my leg’s lack of consistent speed juice is a symptom of minor burnout, and a short reset should fix things.

I have some pretty big plans for running (and life) in 2019 that I’m really excited to share. I’m just trying to finish formulating said plans, and as soon as I do they’ll be thrown up here.

Thanks for reading, follow me on Instagram or Twitter (both @jakesmithruns), or Strava (we’re going to try and embed that below.)

Run Happy,

Jake

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3 thoughts on “Staying Positive: A Not-Lame Way of Seeing The Glass Half Full Without Ever Actually Using Those Words.

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