WOOO it’s officially spring in less than a month, and spring training is well underway. Where I live, we have just four local races per year. Each is awesome in its own way, but I am extra excited this year. Our first one is April 9th and if you’re interested you can read more about it here #rupertrunners yayaaa
If you keep up with this blog at all, you may be familiar with the “category” I originally put myself in as a runner, which I now identify as the “slow, sucky runner” category, which isn’t even a real thing, by the way. If you run, you’re a runner. The terms slow and fast are totally relative and mean completely different things to different people. I do my best not to use the term slow anymore, because it is often used negatively, plus slow for one person is light speed to another. Running is running! However, I know I’m not alone when I say that right off the bat I decided I was slow, non-competitive and simply running to cross finish lines, stay fit, feel proud and collect bling. That’s it. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But looking back now, this was my way of protecting myself from failing, although I couldn’t tell you what that means exactly, and my way of avoiding doing difficult, scary stuff like trying new things and pushing through and past comfort zones. I didn’t even try to run faster until last summer!
Looking back now, this was my way of protecting myself from failing, although I couldn’t tell you what that means exactly, and my way of avoiding doing difficult, scary stuff like pushing through and past comfort zones.
I spent a large portion of last Fall working with Suzanne on extinguishing (or taming to the best of my ability) some self-limiting beliefs. Being a slow, sucky runner was one of mine that we focused on a lot, which really boils down to the Trump of all self-limiting beliefs for the majority of people, which is “not being good enough.” When a person is born, he or she doesn’t have any beliefs about themself, the world or about life yet; we develop these beliefs over time based on our experiences and our interactions with parental figures and other authority figures such as teachers, coaches and care-givers. We then can find ourselves as adults with some very unhelpful ideas about ourselves. As we wrapped up the limiting beliefs unit (which was unbelievable, by the way,) the so-called finale was when I went to Vancouver to run Try Events‘ Historic Half with some friends. I got the chance to execute my race the way I wanted to based on everything Suzanne and I worked on together and it was a huge breakthrough race for me!
Here’s the story. In 2013 I ran my first half. The training was with Team in Training and I was very inconsistent. Despite half-assing the program I crossed the finish-line at the Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon in San Francisco in 02:32:xx and got my first taste of the complete race-day experience. Absolutely incredible! At the time, I knew nothing about pace or how long it took different people to run 21.1 km. I ran it to complete it, and in my opinion that’s exactly what should be done the first time around, whatever your first goal race is. I got a lot better with consistency and trained through the following spring to run the BMO Vancouver 1/2 in May 2014 and finished up with a 02:10:54. I was surprised and very happy with that 22 minute improvement! A new PR! (Personal record.) But I was still running totally within my comfort zone. By that time I’d gotten myself a watch for running (loved my Garmin Forerunner 10) and it was during that spring that I developed a full-blown complex around paces per kilometer that had a 5 in front of them. I for some reason decided that 05:xx/km was really fast, too fast for me to maintain, and that I was content staying where I was, pace-wise. These numbers are irrelevant to my point. Running faster was scary, hard and uncomfortable. So scary. But I decided it was okay because I believed I was just running to log distance, stay in shape, collect bibs and finisher’s medals and enjoy the camaraderie of running. At races, before even starting, I accepted that I was just there to participate, take it easy, let the “fast people” do their thing and be a part of the running community. The next three half marathons I ran I did not improve my finish time nor my race day experience, largely because of the things I believed about myself as a runner.
At the Historic Half, I didn’t believe that shit anymore, or was doing my very best not to believe it. I was focusing on new, inspiring beliefs that had real evidence. I proved to myself that I am not in fact a “slow, sucky runner” but that I am strong, and continue to get stronger every day. I can run faster and for a longer period of time than I believed was possible just a few months earlier. The sub-2 hour half was mine! This is just the beginning of a whole new mindset! If you are someone who has decided to believe something like I did about yourself, I encourage you to examine that belief and start to do what you can to change your thinking, which will in turn change your actions and your reality. Taking myself out of the slow, sucky runner category was the first step to seeing some great results and loving my sport of choice even more than ever!
Taking myself out of the slow, sucky runner category was the first step to seeing some great results and loving my sport of choice even more than ever!
side note: I am not saying that races are solely about finish times or about trying to win. What I am saying is that they’re the perfect opportunity to test the limits and prove to ourselves that we can do hard things that previously seemed out of reach or impossible.
I’m telling you all of this because self-limiting beliefs are a HUGE LOAD OF SHIT. Do NOT believe that you are not or cannot become as strong as you’d like to be! After I ran my first full marathon in 2016 there was a shift and I knew I was capable of more than I was giving myself credit for. Once I started experimenting with different kinds of speed work and doing workouts from my coach that intimidate me and make me uncomfortable (or even almost puke at times, lol) I realized that blasting through my perceived barriers was part of the exhilaration of being a runner! With all of this, and with Suzanne‘s help, I finally began to believe new positive and true things about myself and my capabilities instead of untrue things that held me back. We really do set our own limits. What we believe becomes our reality. Do not put yourself into a box. Don’t label yourself as a “back-of-the-pack’er” or “just average” or even as a runner who “places sometimes.” Try as hard as possible to shake off those preconceived ideas and GO FOR IT every single day. That’s my goal this season: to fully believe that I can keep getting better and better and continue to surprise myself by reaching new milestones – not every single race, but as often as possible.
That’s my goal this season: to fully believe that I can keep getting better and better and continue to surprise myself by reaching new milestones – not every single race, but as often as possible.
Really “Scary” Goals
(will be revised as races approach, and Coach Andrew might make them even scarier)
West Van Run 10km – March 5th
- don’t go out too fast
- say yes instead of no to discomfort
- average pace goal 5:15 (totally bull. I wanted to, knew I could, and DID run faster than this. 4:59/km average pace!!!)
Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon – April 9th
- be mentally tough – don’t let the monotony of a road I run almost every single weekend psych me out or mess with my beliefs
- approach “the big hill” as confident as ever
- average pace goal 5:30, try for a final km split of 5:00
(this is not a sandbagger goal, I am running a 14 mile (22.5km) training run the day before and this is not a goal race of mine. If it were, I’d aim for more like 5:20/km average)
Tenacious Ten 10 miler – April 22nd
- don’t go out too fast
- 5:10-ish pace goal
- be excited instead of nervous for this new and unique race distance
- let the West Van 10km be a confidence booster!
Scotiabank Calgary Marathon – May 28th
- STAY PRESENT and run the kilometer I’m in
- trust my training
- negative split the marathon for the first time
- sub 5:40/km average pace goal
Remember those t-shirts that were an absolute must-have in the 90’s, NO FEAR? I want one. And that will be the end of this post. NO FEAR of discomfort, “failure,” new challenges or trying really f%#&ing hard.