Inspiration for this post has been all around me recently. Part of it has been my own excuses/apologies to myself this week leading up to the half marathon I ran this morning (recap tomorrow) along with questioning this “self-talk BS” and trying to get at its core. I’ve also been noticing how much of this kind of talk goes on among runners all around – with my husband’s account of his cross country team, with people on social media, and hearing people talk to each other before and during a race. As a community, us runners really don’t want to feel “slow.” In fact, it seems like among runners, “slow” is the new “fat.” Is slow a feeling? I know I’ve covered that topic already, and in this post I want to ask why we all care so much that we feel compelled to make excuses “calf cramp, humidity, etc” or apologize “sorry I can’t keep up with you today, see you at the finish.”
Leading up to my race this morning I was feeling, frankly, like crap. I still haven’t gotten into a groove with blogging and all the chaos of the school year and the stress has been building with little relief. I was dreading the half marathon on my schedule because I knew that due to the weather my time would not make me happy, no matter how hard I pushed. On top of that all my kids came down with a cold this week, and by Friday I had too. Saturday was a day filled with soccer practices, a birthday party, and my husband away with his team all day, and, I was hurting.
Right up until Saturday night I was seriously considering not running the race at all. BUT my reason for not running wasn’t to give myself a break, because I would’ve run 13 on my own anyway. My reason was that I knew I couldn’t run it fast, and I’d be disappointed with my time. Is racing all about time? It used to be a huge part of it for me. And apparently, it still really is.
See what I did there, in that paragraph? I had to give you the backstory to my slow, slow race sob story. I have repeated this damn story in my head too many times to count, only to justify a disappointing time to no one but myself. I really don’t like that I did it and that I keep “reminding” myself of all the reasons I couldn’t live up to my own standards. It’s not that they aren’t true or real, it’s just the level that I lean on the excuses makes me realize it’s more about pride than I want it to be for me. And I want to make it perfectly clear that when I am disappointed with my own time and make excuses, I am not judging anyone else’s times, this is completely MY OWN ISSUE and I definitely don’t believe that anyone should ever feel shame, guilt or anything else for running whatever time they run. This is a really personal issue in running, for sure.
I’ve heard one friend apologize to the other for not being able to keep up. People giving the entire back story as to what has been preventing them from training to the best of their ability “I haven’t been able to run for 2 weeks because….” And I’ve heard people talking about going out too fast, pulling or straining muscles, life getting in the way of training, a lingering injury, poor sleep, and (my personal go-to and favorite) bad weather slowing them down. I will cling to the weather one through hell and high water. In fact, during my race this morning I decided to informally group my PRs by season. That’ll eat up half my excuses at least.
So what is it all about? Pride and shame? Fear of being judged? Facing perceived weakness? Facing Reality? The discrepancy between where we want to be and where we are? Trouble accepting what/where/who we are today? Today, I ran a 1:46:xx half marathon. It’s what I expected of myself given the circumstances, but it’s not what I had planned for. I’m disappointed and dealing with some self doubt but I’m not surprised. Today, I can choose to put it in the past, and move along with my training.
What about you?