There is Always Someone Faster...

Since starting with Coach Alex and Resolute Running, the hardest thing for me to come to terms with is calling myself a "runner", especially since training with such an amazing group of people.  These are the people who continuously win their age groups, complete ultra-marathons, and qualify for Boston. I am not that person.  I may never become that person.  But I'm slowly working on identifying myself as a runner - as part of the same family who wakes up before the sun, gives a friendly wave or a word of encouragement to a passerby, and nods knowingly at your labored breathing or grimace of pain.

The very best thing I have discovered about having a coach is that there is someone there to point things out about you (good or bad) that you may not see about yourself.  Because when your husband, friend, parent, insert someone close to you does it all you want to do is rip their head off right? For instance, recently I was called out on calling myself slow.  Apparently I did that a lot more than I realized.  And while I am comfortable joking about my "turtle" status, I was reminded that others who are slower than even me (I know - they are out there) may, themselves, feel "double slow".  Lord knows, I would never try to make someone feel bad about being a slow runner.  It never even crossed my mind that what I said could be interpreted that way.  Coach reminded me that there is always someone faster so, in effect, you are always going to be slower than someone.  He told me to drop the adjective and to just be a runner - instead of a slow runner.  I know - smart guy right?

I went further than that, though, and tried to examine why I refer to myself as slow and I talked to O about it as well.  I determined after some self-examination that I think I have developed my self-deprecating humor as a defense mechanism.  I guess everyone probably does. I come from a family of fast people and over-achievers. Ok - really one very fast person.  My brother is an Ironman and held the mile record at my high school for as long as I can remember.  As much as he has inspired my fitness, he has also intimidated me.  It's as if by saying upfront "I am not that good, I am slow" - I ward off any comparison to others or expectation to be something I'm not sure I could be anyway.  Then no one expects very much of you so, if you fail, it goes unnoticed. Deep huh...?  So anyway, I am trying to identify myself as simply a runner, though I have found it far more challenging than I would have anticipated.  

Another embarrassing example of this recently was this past weekend running the Woodstock 5K with the team.  It would be a lot easier to never say any of this "out loud" but since we (you're with me right?) are on the road of self-discovery this blog would not be complete without another example of complete self-doubt and inequity creeping in. See paragraph one.  These people are the real deal.  They are fast.  Their warm-up pace is my speed work pace.  After the race nearly every one out there placed in their age group or got a PR.  I didn't and I let it get inside my head.  I let myself feel defeated and sorry and tired.  Never mind that I just knocked 4 minutes off my last time, it wasn't enough.  And on the heels of an already exhausting week at work I let myself go down the rabbit hole mentally. 

I have a tendency to dive into everything, go 100 mph without stopping, and then smash head long into a brick wall exploding into a million pieces. For the past 3.5 months I have been motivated, determined and excited.  This past weekend was the brick wall and I finally hit it in spectacular fashion.  I was more tired than normal after Saturday's race (no doubt that was 50% mental) and I - *gasp* - skipped the remaining 3 miles of the weekend.

Monday rolled around and I had to drive to the Panhandle for work again.  I was just feeling so, so tired and burnt out - with work, with running, you name it.  Everything felt like a Herculean task and I felt like I may burst into tears at any moment.   (O will tell you this is not all that strange - ha. I seriously cry about anything anyway - so maybe this wasn't all that odd after all.) However, the thought of putting on my running shoes and starting up on Monday just seemed impossible.  Each time I considered it after arriving at the hotel, I just buried my face in the pillow and wished I could click my heels back home.  

So I thought - well, hell - I have a coach right?  Coaches give pep talks right?  So, I shot Coach Alex a message and basically said "Dude, help."  I am posting this response because I think everyone needs to hear this at some point.  I know I did.  I needed something, anything to get me to leave the pity party and join back up with the real world. Anytime this week I have felt myself getting tired or discouraged, I re-read this and sucked it up.  And you know what?  I survived and I may have even enjoyed putting on my running shoes again.  Lesson learned. is his response (which he kindly gave permission for me to post to the public) and I will leave you with this to ponder for yourself and your own challenges.

So what's the issue? You don't want to run your race? Are you tired of improving yourself? Tired of turning yourself into am amazing runner and athlete? Tired of looking better in your clothes? Tired of having that sense of accomplishment after you complete a run?
Do you like feeling sorry for yourself? Do you enjoy how easy it is to be lazy and then that feeling of regret later when you didn't do your workout? Do you enjoy watching others run faster than you? Enjoy sitting on the sidelines while everyone else is having fun?
If the answer is yes, why bother with running. Go sit on the couch and get old with the rest of America.
If the answer is no, get off your ass and do the workouts! They won't get done on their own!
The beginning of anything worth doing is hard, and make no mistake, you are in the beginning. But if you will stick with it the payoff will be truly amazing.
THAT, is my promise to you.


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