I used to think I was tough and had a high pain threshold — like thriving hard workouts, getting cavities filled with no anesthesia and giving birth with no epidural tough. I used to pride myself on being resilient too. After losing a parent at a young age, I believed that any other challenge didn’t compare.
But the thing that has me throwing in the towel and begging for mercy? Mile repeats and tempo runs.
It’s always the same story. I start off feeling good, my body and legs in sync. I’m not pushing too fast or too hard, just on the outer edge of the line between comfortable and almost uncomfortable. Inevitably, three-quarters of the way in, my brain wakes up and catches on to what I’m doing.
It’s the anticipation of finishing that mile or those tempo miles that starts to weigh on me. And then there’s that magnetic pull to check my watch incessantly, watching the hundredths and tenths of a mile slowly…tick…down.
The past two weeks have been an exercise in reminding myself to trust the process. You see, the thing that I love about running isn’t the races or the times or the PRs or even the big goals.
It’s the process and practice of running. Showing up. Doing the work. Dialing into physical strength and unearthing mental strength that I didn’t realize was there. Taking care of myself. Believing in myself.
I started to feel like every race had to be executed perfectly. Instead of running by effort and feel (and letting myself be surprised by my splits), I started to force my pace. I started doubting my abilities — if I can’t hold X pace for three or four miles, how could I possibly hold it for 13.1?? I started to worry that I wouldn’t achieve my goal.
Apparently I run better when I’m matchy-matchy 😝 That and some wise words from my coach @racepacejess to just let go of the outcome and just run helped too. 🏃🏻🏃🏻🏃🏻 So I did and I didn’t mentally psych myself out – OK maybe the last .3 mile of the last tempo mile 😁 2 miles warm-up: 9:48, 9:04 3 tempo: 8:33, 8:18, 8:17 1 mile cool down: 9:00 #racepacerunner
But here’s the thing. A goal is one outcome but not the be all, end all of the thing, of who you are, of your self-worth.
In yogic philosophy, the idea of non-attachment is a central principle. Our attachments to material things, outcomes, thoughts, expectations can cause fluctuations in the mind, distress and suffering. When we let those things go, you are able to live a fuller life and reach a level of inner harmony.
Instead of becoming attached to the outcome, focus instead on what you can do in this moment to work towards that outcome.
Happy AF to be done with that last long run. Decided to make it even more torturous by running 3 laps around Prospect Park 😁 But seriously, run went according to plan until mile 11 which felt like a slog but had a stern talk with myself and pulled it together for the last mile. Bring on taper!! 🙌🏼💃🏻🙌🏼 #2weekstoraceday #racepacerunner
So I started to let go of the outcome and I started to just run.
What would happen if I didn’t run under two hours in Philly?
Nothing. The world wouldn’t change. I would still have a family waiting to greet me with hugs and clanging cowbells. I would still love running.
There’s a reason that my coach put together this plan for me and supports me in this journey — it’s because she believes in me and my abilities and believe that my goal is fully within my reach. I just need to remember to believe in myself and trust the process.
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