After the Dash, we went back to running shorter distances on Saturdays, and I stopped using the interval timer because I wanted to run 3 or 5 miles without stopping, like I used to. Everything was going fine, and then we started our 5K race season...and once again, I've found myself with the same anxiety/dread feeling/panic breathing as I begin these races. It's so bizarre to feel like this - almost every race, I've had the "I can't do this" feeling wash over me, and I actually get mad at myself, because of course I can run 3 stinking miles - that is a no-brainer for me! And I don't want to do intervals during a 5K race...especially when, on any normal day, I can run 3 miles without stopping. I've been able to push past these feelings during the races and keep running, but for crying out loud, WHYYYY does this keep happening?
I will say that I'm able to push the anxiety/dread aside much quicker than I used to, but the fact that I'm still dealing with this kind of irks me, if you want to know the truth. Plus, it seems to take almost the entire first mile to get my breathing somewhat normal if I've started with the shallow, panic breathing; spending one-third of the race gasping for air does not leave a lot of room left for a good run. I do not understand the way my brain works. This is supposed to be fun, dangit!
What I wish is that I could run like I did back in 2010. That year, everything about running was new to me and I was making improvements with each race. I wish I could start a race and just run - no panic, no anxiety, no dread. I wish I would stop feeling like I'm trying to play catch up when it comes to my running ability. But most of all, I wish I could get back to enjoying, from beginning to end (actually, the end is always fun), these races!