One of my favorite parts about running is that it forces me outside of my comfort zone. I'll be honest with you, I'm not a very good runner. I struggle 92% of the time and despite the discomfort and mental struggles, I love the sense of accomplishment I get whenever I accomplish something I didn't think I was capable of achieving. It's tangible. It's motivating. That feeling scares the shit out of me and it reminds me that staying comfortable or shying away from impossible goals is the worst thing I could do to myself.
I really struggle with self doubt. Whenever I start listening to my inner critic, I find myself paralyzed with fear. It doesn't matter how many steps forward I take, whenever I give in to that little voice that fills me with doubt, everything I do suffers. I stop taking risks and I stop thinking outside the box. Running is a constant tool that helps me overcome my inner critic.
There will always be a perfectly good excuse not to do something. That's why I believe that it doesn't matter how badly you want something, it's about how hard you're willing to work for it. Or sacrifice and fight for it. Anything worth doing won't be easy and for me, that's why I run. Running is a constant uphill battle for me and even though it's really f*cking hard, it constantly pushes me outside of my comfort zone.
When I decided to try to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time (BQ) during this year's Chicago Marathon, I didn't think it was possible. It took months before I started believing that BQ'ing might actually happen for me. But in the beginning, it frustrated me to read other runner's BQ experiences. No one seemed to be as terrified or overwhelmed as I was. No one else seemed to think that it was impossible for them. So I wanted to share what I went through and I didn't want to control how much of the speed bumps, road blocks, mistakes, and terror I shared with all of you throughout the training process.
It's impossible to hide or censor myself when I bring a camera into the mix. I can't train 100% and think about hiding how badly I am struggling. Every run was about doing what my coach Josh put in my training plan and I often found myself talking to you all about how hard it was to believe in myself. I wanted to be as open and honest about the process as possible and the vlog proved to be a perfect way to do it. But after the New York City Marathon, I knew I wasn't going to be running and I realized that I needed to recharge.
Before going for round two of BQ or Bust during the 2017 Virgin London Marathon, I have to take this time to let my body really recover. This year I ran two marathons in four weeks and my body was shot. Recovery is just as important as the training itself but even I can't make recovery interesting to watch which is why I decided to take some time off from the BQ or Bust vlog.
One of the hardest parts about our socially connected world is fighting the urge not to compare yourself to the runners you see online. There are people who can run and race dozens of half and full marathons a year. I'm not one of them. If I try to do that, I'll not only get hurt but I'll start to dread running.
Running is so much more than just a way to stay healthy. It helps me push myself creatively and personally. It's the thing I do when I'm struggling to get out of bed or when I'm second guessing myself. As hard as it is to step back and lose a bit of the fitness I worked really hard to acquire, it's an important step in my process. I'm not a professional athlete. I'm not a world class runner. I'm a very average woman who runs solely as a means to put my strongest foot forward. And taking this break is exactly what I needed.
While I wait for BQ or Bust training to pick back up around Christmas, I'm throwing all of my energy into fun running and cross training. There's only 26 days until 2017 and if you're looking for a challenge, join the Run, Selfie, Repeat club on Strava and set a tiny goal that you can run down on December 31st.
My goal? To run a mile as fast as I can! My PR in the mile is 6 minutes and 39 seconds and I want to see if I can do it in 6 minutes and 20 seconds! Is it possible? I HAVE NO CLUE. Will it be fun? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But why not try...right? I have 26 days to try to do something terrifying that pushes me out of my comfort zone! So join the club and let me know what your goal is!
Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.