20 Miles

This past Saturday I ran 20 miles. 2-0! It’s the furthest I’ve ever run, aside from the SF Marathon last year.

I get pretty anxious and nervous for long training runs. The night before any scheduled run longer than 10 miles I don’t sleep well (as in I wake up every couple of hours, typically in sweats, etc.) because I’m so anxious. And I’ve typically done the mileage I have scheduled many times before. But just because I’ve run a half marathon before doesn’t make the next any less daunting. Because I’m always trying to do better. And the risk of not being better than I was yesterday is scary. Because if I’m not improving, what does that mean? Am I injured? Is it a set back? Was my last run a fluke?

This past Summer I got really into running. Okay, I’ve been into running for the last 7 or so years, but this Summer I’ve become more social in my running. I started listening to podcasts, officially joined Strava, started going to workouts at Fleet Feet, trained my butt off with Team in Training, and joined the Oiselle Volee team. It’s been extremely fun and rewarding to connect with others over our shared passion.

My dear friend Peggy (she is one of my biggest running motivators) introduced me to a podcast called Run Selfie Repeat a few months ago that has changed my perspective. What Kelly Roberts, the host of Run Selfie Repeat, talks about in her latest podcast is giving yourself permission to succeed. Something that really resonated with me is this: “If you can give yourself permission to succeed… sometimes that means not giving up. Sometimes that means just showing up. Taking the time to believe that success is more likely than failure that’s a muscle we very rarely flex.” This. is. so me! I am always procrastinating my runs because I think it will be a bad run. Why? Why do I foresee a run ending badly? Sometimes it takes me hours to even get the courage to go for a recovery run. When I’m supposed to go slow and not hit any milestones. Why do we project or plan for the worst? Why are we always surprised when we succeed, even though we’ve practiced and trained to do just that? Why do we downplay our success? Is it because we are supposed to be humble in our accomplishments? I get that, definitely. But at what point are we allowed to be proud of our dedication to our goals and achievements?

Channeling all of this, I changed my perspective for my last very long training run. On Friday I made a conscious effort to stay cool and try to remain calm. Sure, I still woke up at 3 am, then 4:30 am on Saturday morning, but I calmly talked myself back to bed. When I got up at 5:45 I did my typical routine: coffee, with toast + peanut butter + 1/2 a banana. And I just chilled. That’s the thing, too, about training with a team. It’s still hard to wake up so early when you’d rather be sleeping, but you do it for them. So that you don’t let your teammates down.

What I’ve come to realize during this training cycle is that at the end of the day we are the drivers of our own success; no one else is going to do the dirty work for us. When we dare to dream of goals that seem out of this world, and then work our butts off, it’s a privilege to honor that dedication. How daring and bold it is to even dream up big dreams.

Despite the soreness, missed vacations, parties, and dinners, waking up at an ungodly hour every Saturday, physical therapy, etc. this is why I run. To know that I can dream up a goal and dedicate myself to achieving it. And I’m working on knowing that when I do achieve my lofty goals, it’s okay to be proud of myself. And if I fall short, remembering that it takes a daring dreamer to even put myself out there.

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