Pain Is The Boogyman

If you want to run faster, you just have to run faster. Yes. FACT. But in order to run faster, you have to figure out how to embrace, enjoy, and/or become one with the pain because running faster hurts like hell.

Over the past few months, I've been struggling to find the drive to continue to push when my legs feel like they're on fire and every muscle in my body is screaming, "WHAT DID WE EVER DO TO DESERVE THIS! STOP THIS! STOP IT NOW!" The second my head gets involved, it's game over. I panic. I decide not to suffer and I give up on myself.

Back in his High School and College days, my Dad was one hell of an athlete. An All American Pac 10 champion, he knew a thing or two about getting uncomfortable and kicking it's ass. Growing up, I never talked to my Dad about his swimming career because I was never athletic. Now that I run, I've been turning to him for advice. Because I'm still struggling to push through discomfort, I asked him what he did when everything hurt and he felt like he was dying. His response? Pain is the boogyman.

Turns out, when he started swimming at Cal, he wasn't the top dog. He was a self proclaimed terrible kicker (he swam the 200m butterfly) and one day, he decided he was going to go balls to the wall and figure out just how much pain he could endure. The harder he pushed himself, the stronger he got both physically and mentally.

My Dad reminded me that it didn't make sense for me to half ass my training. Here I am, dedicating so much of my time and energy to trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon (BQ), why wouldn't I push myself to give 100% every day? The more I watch myself struggle and pull back in past BQ or Bust daily vlogs, the more I realize that my problem isn't that I'm not strong enough, it's that I forget what I'm running for in the moment. Now it's just about pushing myself every day and fighting when that little voice creeps in and says, "Enough. This hurts." Instead of saying, "I want this to be over", I need to remind myself that I'm strong enough to keep fighting. Sure it hurts but the pain is only temporary and the sense of accomplishment I get post run makes every single step worth it. That feeling of pride lasts for days.

In order to run faster, you do in fact have to run faster; but you also need to figure out what's going to motivate you to fight when the pain starts to overshadow your drive. In the words of Steve Roberts, pain is just the Boogyman.

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.