I met some friends out at Patapsco State Park to run some single track trails over some mighty hilly terrain. It was a pretty tough course and took a lot out of me. The first part of the run was a lot of uphill and my Achilles tendon was flaring up. We took the shorter 6 mile loop instead of a longer loop. It was my call. Later I felt bad I made the choice to go shorter. I felt fine as we strode into the parking lot. Trying not to beat myself up I decided I would get another 3 miles in when I got home. The three miles from my house actually made me feel worse. I just wasn’t having a good run.
I am running two Ultras in 2010 and, the trail run today left me with a lot of doubt. The hills today were steep and tough but they will pale in comparison to the hills I will be running in the ROCKIES! Not to mention the near sea level altitude and abundance of oxygen in Patapsco State Park. I had to get a hold of myself and stop the snowballing self doubts.
One of the things I love about training and the training process is that by making consistent efforts and following the plan you can accomplish anything. I lost that confidence for a a couple hours today. I have to admit even after eight marathons, I still get performance anxiety before events. I sometimes get nervous before regular training, it is like I am afraid that I will forget how to run or something. The cure is to just step up to the curb or the trail and start moving my feet and then everything just comes together.
The only way I tend to get better at anything is due to self doubt. It usually follows this pattern, doubt, struggle to get better and rise above the doubt, feelings of accomplishment, doubt etc. It is a circle for me. The paradigm is present in my art and anything else I have passion for. I could be wrong but, I would guess it is how a lot of people go through the growing process.