Embracing the Pain With Dr. Bob

In the past 72 hours, I went from crossing the finish line of the Philly Half and hoping that I never have to run again to deciding that I didn't want to qualify for the Boston Marathon during the Chicago Marathon, to feeling panicked, to feeling proud, to feeling terrified, and back to feeling excited about toeing the starting line of Chicago again. Yup, it's been a whirlwind 72 hours. 

I had an "aha" moment while I was talking through what when down during Philly with Dr. Bob. I realized that I've been holding myself back from really pushing my limits during my tempo and track workouts. In order to run faster, you don't just have to run faster, you have to get used to pushing the limits of your pain threshold. I don't really like doing that. Pain is scary. Pain and discomfort aren't fun because I've never had to push through them to fight to see how far I can go before. Whenever it happened, I'd grab my camera and use it as an excuse to get comfortable again. 

When I hit my threshold during a workout, I take a tiny step back and stand just behind it. It's the reason the Philly Half left me so freaked out. I found myself at my limit almost at the beginning of the race and I had no clue how I was going to hold on. It was the first time I had to stay uncomfortable in order to hit my goal and it wasn't easy.

I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that embracing pain doesn't have to be something I suffer through. Dr. Bob touches on this in our talk but by reminding me to stay present, grateful, and focused on my form, he has helped me find ways to get comfortable in the pain. But it's hard to trust your effort when you feel like you're going to gas out! I struggle because I don't trust myself to keep fighting. During Rock n Roll Philly, I was convinced I was going to pull back. But somehow, I didn't. 

It really reminds me of the will power I experienced when I was first getting started as a runner. Running 30 seconds was almost impossible. I'd finished completely out of breath and my legs felt like they were going to fall off. But over time, the discomfort felt less and less intimidating and running five, ten, and then thirty minutes non-stop became my new normal. Establishing normal and pushing your threshold takes time. It's not ideal that I figured this out five days before my taper begins but at this point, I just have to trust my training. 

This is why I'm really, really grateful that I had my coach Josh Maio. It's thanks to Josh's coaching and his weekly plans that I know that I'm ready. And looking back at what went down during Philly, I now sort of trust that when push comes to shove, I can hang on when the effort level creeps into uncharted territories.

The secret to running faster isn't running faster, it's running smarter because your physical strength isn't going to get you to the finish line. Your mental resilience will. We don't know what we're truly capable of until we find a way to get our brains to say yes. 

Easier said than done!

17 days to go. There's no holding back now. I've come too far to shy away from that threshold. 

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.