In my last blog post I created a new motivational wall to help inspire me with my new running goals (a sub-2:45 half marathon and completing my first marathon in September). I have looked at the pictures I posted probably 100 times in the last few days since my last disappointing half.
|Probably my favorite motivational picture right now.|
Look, I know every race isn't going to be a PR, life changing race. They all can't be that. There are a lot of factors that make a race the best race you have ever ran: race organization, runner preparedness, health status, temperatures, mental state, the amount of sleep you have had, and pure luck. If all those things aren't perfectly aligned, this race may not be your best race. It can still be a good, even a great race, but it may not be the one you think of as your best race.
I feel like I have had my share of good and bad races. This last one was probably my worst half. My worst race ever was this ultra-5k I did last July. There were lots of factors making it a terrible race: It was actually 4.4 miles and not the 3.1 I was promised. It was HOT (almost 100 degrees at the start). There were tons of bugs out and I was bit over 30 times. I got the worst migraine I have ever had because of everything that went wrong. It was a night race and apparently, I should avoid those at all costs. It was terrible, but I also learned a lot from it, so there is something.
The problem with bad races is this, they make you never want to race again. After last Saturday, I really thought at mile 10 that if I never raced again, I would be okay. But honestly, I wouldn't be okay. Racing does two things for me: First, it makes all the other running I do have a purpose (I really only run so I can get a medal, which means I run so I can race). The second thing racing does for me is it proves what I can do. The hilly courses I have ran at both Salt Lake and this last weekend have taught me that I really must do hill training if I really want to do well on any course. Now, have I taken that lesson seriously? Obviously not.
That leads me to my point, it is my own fault that I am not the runner I want to be. If I want to be faster, and more steady, and better at hard courses, then I need to train for those things. And all of these goals come down to one thing: hill/hard course training. It is the leap of faith I have to take in order to be who I want to be. But, I avoid hard runs like the plague. And part of my current excuse for that is that I am running a 18 mile substantially downhill marathon in September, I have to be trained to do that so I don't get injured. So yes, I do need to train for downhill. However, because I am trying to make all my long runs downhill runs, I am refusing to train for the 8 miles that is a roiling hill course. That is going to cost me dearly during the race.
And it is a price I have already been paying. I see it in my current racing and training situations. If I am not running downhill, I feel like I am running with concrete legs. Instead of pushing through like I should and need to do, I am letting myself slack off in my training. And I am already seeing the effects of my laziness. I am struggling to get through my runs. I am really seeing it in my race times. Still, I am refusing to take that jump and just do what I need to do.
I am not sure why I am doing this. Is it because I am too lazy to become who I want to be? Am I self sabotaging because I am afraid of who I will become (which I don't understand because why wouldn't I want to be awesome?)? Is it because I know how to be so/so and getting out of that comfort zone is something I don't know how to do? I don't know.
Sometimes I feel like it would be easier if I had someone pushing me, like a running coach, but in the end, I really know it comes down to me. You can pull a thread easier than you can push one, and I have to allow myself to be pulled. And that in the end is the real problem. I don't know what it is that is holding me back, but I am like a tree rooted deeply that is absolutely refusing to be pulled. Even if the outcome is better than my current station in life.
Still, I don't know how to be any different. I don't know where the drive comes from in me. I am not sure how to access the courage I need to do the work I need to do. I know in a way I don't take myself seriously whenever I am doing something extraordinary. Which is weird, because even I can see that I have done some truly amazing things like getting my college degree, competing on my high school and college speech teams and getting awards often, running races, taking leaps of faith to live on my own in many different places. However, I tend to hold myself back, usually only doing things halfway. I really would like to not be that way anymore.
So I guess this is my question, to you the reader, where does the courage to do something great come from? Is it all a self-esteem problem? It is just a work issue? What have you done to help you accomplish your hefty goals? I would really love your comments and suggestions on this.