Motivated. Self-driven. Competitive. Intense. Obsessive. Freak of nature.
These are all (accurate) words that have been used to describe me.
While these traits have contributed to many of my successes, they’ve also contributed to a stupid amount of pressure I put on myself.
When I first started running, I was happy just to run one minute without stopping. Then a mile. Every run was amazing because it was something I hadn’t done before. Eventually I got crazy and signed up for a half marathon. My goal was survival and there was zero pressure (Check).
But of course me being me, I didn’t stop there. I immediately signed up for the same race and set my sights on running the whole thing without walking (Check). Then I got greedy and wanted to PR for my third half (Check). Tomorrow I will run my fourth half and my goals are even loftier based on how fast some of my training runs have been. It’s going to take a lot of work and pain to get there, but if everything comes together, I have the potential to get a major PR.
But I also have the potential to fail. This training season has been one of the craziest for me. I got in all my long runs, even going up to 11 miles for the first time in training. But I missed some mid-week runs because of my busy schedule. I had an amazing 9-miler but a super shitty 10-miler. Every day I vacillate between knowing I’m going to crush it to thinking it will crush me.
This week in particular has been crazy. Super busy at work and I had a last minute trip to a conference yesterday. I was worried about flying too close to the race and knew it would be a long 24-hour trip. But I got excited mapping out my final two-miler on the Hudson RiverWalk overlooking NYC across the bay.
My flight was delayed and I had to reschedule to fly out early the next morning. I had a bit of a pity party on the drive back home. I was exhausted, worried about missing my last run and bummed about potentially not getting to see NYC for the first time.
In that moment, all I could envision was sucking during this race. But what if I did fail? What if I didn’t PR? Would anyone even care? Would they be disappointed or let down? Realistically, no. The pressure is 100% self-inflicted.
There’s a lot you can’t control in life but you can control your attitude. And as quickly as I can get negative, I can get pretty majorly positive. I woke up yesterday morning dancing to Bruno Mars in my head (yup) and decided it was going to be a good day. I’d get through this work trip, sleep in Friday and reset my mindset.
The conference was great and re-energized me with a lot of takeaways I’m excited to share with my team. At lunch I snuck out to see the most amazing view of NYC. And when I got home, I was surprised to find a package from a running friend with a Mizuno hoodie and the sweetest note. It was a long, exhausting day but it was a good day.
I’m going into tomorrow ready to race. Ready to give it all I’ve got and leave everything on the pavement. I will repeat positive mantras for 13.1 miles: “Run smart. Run your own race. You’ve done this before so you know you can do it again. Remember how good that 9 miler felt and channel that. Get to Meridian Street and grind it out. Don’t stop running and start booty poppin when Ms. New Booty comes on.”
Will I be disappointed if I don’t PR? Of course. I’m me (see above traits). But if I give it my all and stay positive, that’s all that matters.