I’ve told you about this before. Back in 2013, I subconsciously joined a non-existent club called the Slow Sucky Runners Club. Next, I developed a complex around running paces per kilometer that start with five. Anything below 6:00/km I classified as “too fast” and “too hard” for me. The numbers really don’t matter, this is just my example of something ridiculous and NOT REAL that I decided to believe about myself. Do you have a belief like this?
How can that be scary? Well, not being able to do something we want to do can be really scary. Fear of failing, not being good enough, etc, are common fears among many of us, not just relating to running or athletic performance. In running, the only way to fail is to give up. I am not giving up. And what does enough even mean? Good enough for what!?
Last Sunday, at the West Van Run 10km, something cool happened. It didn’t happen to me, I made it happen! I went in with a similar mindset to the Historic Half race in November when I broke two hours for the first time in the half marathon; I felt confident in the work I’d put in and I knew what I was capable of. I wasn’t thinking negatively about myself, I was believing good things and ready to try really hard and make good things happen. But first, rewind a bit.
I wrote exactly this in a recent post about self-limiting beliefs and upcoming race goals:
West Van Run 10km – March 5th
- don’t go out too fast
- say yes instead of no to discomfort
- average pace goal 5:15
I’m calling myself out right now on the third bullet point. What a load of shit! I knew I wanted to run faster than 52:30 in this race, I wanted to run something closer to 50 minutes, with a very deep, secret goal to get down into 49:something. But I low-balled. Just in case I didn’t pull it off. WHY? After giving it some thought, I know it’s because if I didn’t do it, people would know because I shared it online. Because I thought I’d feel embarrassed that I thought I could run that time but I actually couldn’t. Because I’d have to admit to myself that I, on that given day, in those given conditions, didn’t manage to run as fast as I hoped to, although I knew it was physically possible and realistic. All kinds of inner-critic crap.
Just reading those reasons truly reminds me that it doesn’t matter if we set goals and don’t reach them on the first try, or second or third, or even ever! The point is that we are trying. I know deep down what is difficult yet realistic for myself, and so do you, for yourself. I also know that even though something may be possible, I still need to execute when the time comes to perform, and that isn’t always guaranteed to happen because I am a person, not a machine or a robot. From now on, when I share goals I’m going to triple-check with myself that I’m not bullshitting. If you read something I share and you think, “she’s bullshitting, that’s a sandbagger goal” then please, call me out. I’m going to go and edit that post with the spring race goals.
I didn’t go out too fast in the race on Sunday. I listened to my body, but also took full advantage of all the little downhills and wasn’t too conservative. I kept a close eye on my watch to make sure I didn’t make a rookie mistake and accidentally run a sub-5 minute kilometer early on. I reminded myself to respect the distance, like my friend Jeph told me to remember, and forced myself to keep holding back a bit. I trusted my training, and myself. My pace was pretty even up until around the seven kilometer mark and I told myself after that to start chipping it down. I definitely said yes instead of no to discomfort in the last couple kilometers. Mile repeats on the treadmill came to mind. Very hard, but manageable! The last 800 meters were basically gross, but I’ve gone there in training and I just focused on the fact that faster = being done sooner. I kept telling myself “you’ll be done in a sec!” and “today is the day” and “do it now.”
The stupid fear of 5’s can piss off because I’m over it. My last three kilometer splits were 4:48, 4:40 and 4:30 !! Who am I? I’m myself, not that runner I decided I was before who never went out of her comfort zone. The times don’t matter. It’s the fact that I, and that we all, can do things that our inner critics tell us we cannot.
Guess what my average pace was, overall? 4:59/km hahaha! That’s right, not anything in the 5’s, 4:59/km! So yeah. Everything I’ve been wanting, or at least some of the things I’ve been wanting, like to trust my training, believe in myself and run my best 10k, were just on the other side of some fear. Where I’m at right now, it was just on the other side of FIVE. I know that what intimidates me will change over time, depending on where I’m at with running and what’s going on in my life; lots of what I want will be on the other side of other “scary” things. But what I have learned is that it’s not scary to try harder, it’s actually really fun and VERY rewarding.