Dealing With the Pressure That Couples With A Goal

"Are you ready for Chicago?"

"Are you excited for Chicago?"

"Are you nervous for Chicago?"

"Do you think you're going to BQ?"

"How are you feeling about Chicago?"

"What's your goal for Chicago?" 

By the time the sun rose this morning, I'd been asked about next week's Chicago Marathon well over a dozen times. It doesn't matter if you're a blogger who invited (OK BEGGED) the internet to follow your attempt to shave 25 minutes off of your marathon time or if you're getting ready to run your very first race, dealing with the pressure that comes with a lofty goal can be overwhelming.

race day pressure

I didn't expect the pressure to get to me. I've spent the last two years voluntarily sharing my journey towards different finish lines and there's always been pressure to perform. From a time goal to a brand counting on me to generate funny content while I ran an endurance race as fast as I could, the pressure was always on. And I love pressure! I thrive under pressure! I do my best creating when there's a ton of pressure! So why the hell did Chicago feel different? Why was I avoiding people so that I wouldn't have to talk about training or running Chicago?

It doesn't matter if you're over prepared or under prepared, there comes a point in your training when you just have to say YES. It's like Dr. Bob said, you can't predict the future. You can't predict whether you can or can't accomplish the goal you're setting out to do. All you can do is give it your best effort!

And that's easier said than done! You all saw me spiral into panic mode after the Rock N Roll Philly half marathon. I knew that it was a hot and humid day and that conditions affected my performance. I knew that running 100% was going to feel and look very different than going 100% in 50 or 60 degree temperatures sans humidity. I knew that. But it was really, really hard to compartmentalize it. All I could focus on was the fact that I didn't do the thing I set out to do. And I tried to be calm, cool, and collected but deep down, I was freaking the f*ck out. I love running marathons. I know they hurt. I'm ready for the hurt. I just wasn't ready to suffer the way I did in Philly.  

So I actively worked to put it behind me and I promised myself that I would just continue to do everything I could to cross that finish line without regrets in the little time I had left.

And then I got lucky. My final 20 mile long run was a blast. And then the next day, I had an incredible time running 10 miles faster than I ever would have bet I could run. But what do you do when your last few runs are less than favorable? I've never had a good final long run before a race. They've all been total and complete nightmares! When that happens, you have to choose to fake it until you become it. Put a smile on, put the race or run behind you, and figure out how to believe in yourself again.

The only way I can deal with pressure is when I believe in myself. After the Bronx 10 miler, I'm positive that Chicago is going to be a huge day. While BQ'ing is still the goal, my main goal is to finish without regrets and to have as fun in the process as possible. I love running marathons! It's when I forget how much fun I have that I start to panic. Doubt is one tricky son of a bitch but I just have to remember that the hardest part is behind me. The trainings done. My only job now is to make it to race day with a smile on my face.

If you're struggling to deal with the pressure that comes with a goal, remember that just setting the goal is part of the battle. There are so many people who hold themselves back because they're too afraid to fail, so go you! The world isn't going to end if you admit that you're nervous and/or excited. Or that you're terrified and full of doubt. The sooner you open up and talk about what's really going on in your brain, the better you'll feel. Be honest with yourself but don't stop yourself from believing that you can do it. Fake it until you become it. You can do hard things. You're not a quitter. (OK FINE THIS IS A PEP TALK TO MYSELF, YOU CAUGHT ME.) 

But in all seriousness, I'm finally in a place where I'm excited to talk about BQ'ing. Yes I'm afraid but I'm infinitely more excited. Chicago is going to be a party and I'm ready to see what I can do. 

If you've been following my journey to BQ, please look deep within your heart (and wallet) and donate $10 to the amazing charity I'm raising money for Save the Children. Save the Children is a life changing charity who goes in and fights for kids both in America and all around the world. $40 can provide children with mosquito nets keep them safe through the night. $75 can educate a girl with the books, learning materials and school access needed to learn and thrive. $80 can provide a family with a goat and two chicks for life-changing results. $200 raised can help provide ready-to-use food to help save malnourished children. $300 raised can help provide healthcare essentials to a school clinic serving hundreds of children. A little goes a long way and every single donation helps. CLICK HERE to donate! 

And if you'll be in Chicago on Saturday October 8th, join RunWestin and I for the #SportsBraSquad shakeout run (sports bra not required). All athletic levels are welcome as we take a 20 minute fun run through the city that is probably going to change our lives. ALL THE FUN IS GOING TO BE HAD! DON'T MISS IT!!!

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

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Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.