Where do I go from here?

So I have been struggling. Yes, I know, I really need to stop dwelling on  my half marathon performance  (though I will say this: I am mostly over it. I did it, I finished, that’s all that matters. Mostly.) because it is affecting my mindset when it comes to my running, especially when it comes to running with friends or my sister (And yes, even after yesterday’s phenomenal run. As Jessica pointed out, sometimes those perfect runs are few and far in between but they are awesome when they happen. Yes, they are, but they are also (sometimes) few and far in between)

Enter fear.

When discussing a #rundate for tomorrow morning with my sis and friend Steph, we starting talking routes. I suggested a fun route we haven’t done this year that we did all summer long last year. It was our half-marathon training route. Once mileage came up and someone suggested we run the whole thing (about 9-10 miles), I instantly panicked. Froze. Fear took over.

“I can’t do this. I should just run alone. Or with M. I need to run with M.”

Now I realize that I am now using M as my crutch in this case, thinking that the only way I will do okay and stay calm is with him.

Why am I sliding back? Why am I letting fear take control?

If I am not a racer, why am I feeling so anxious and scared? I thought I kicked this. But maybe I haven’t. Maybe I need more time. I actually don’t know what I need.

Where do I go from here?


I feel like I am mourning what I thought I was. I am now dwelling on what this change means for me as a runner. Not. a. racer. As much as I want to be. Right now, I am calling myself a RUNNER, not a RACER.

Part of me wonders if that’s a cop-out. That I am just shying away from what’s hard. And then part of me wonders if that’s what got me into this situation in the first place (knowing that this race was less than ideal, pretty close to when I got my running mojo back AND super challenging, hilly, and in the middle of summer, when humidity saps my breathing).

Maybe in a way, I am mourning what I feel I got robbed of on Sunday. Not finishing a race in the way I wanted to, not crossing proudly as my sister did. We didn’t experience it together. (but cue, the 13.1 rundate!)

Am I unfairly judging myself a week later? Maybe. Am I dwelling on something I cannot change? Absolutely. Can I change my mindset so it’s less fearful and more happy when I run?

I’m not sure. I want to. I need to. I would love to. It feels like a weight around my neck again, a mental stumbling block that is crippling me.

Where do I go from here? How do I fix this – AGAIN?


And part of me wonders is if I am mostly mourning having something *not* in common with Jess anymore (to an extent).

I know you guys must think it’s weird, or even unnecessary even, that we do pretty much everything together. But it’s not because we copy each other. Or that I do what she does or she does what I do (workout-wise. I mean, I submitted us for the barre n9ne challenge, getting us both seriously – and happily – addicted and she got me into running. for example). It’s because we simply enjoy doing as much as possible together. It gives us joy. It gives us things to do together since we no longer work together for the first time in oh, 8 years. And we both just plain love to sweat, love to work out, and love to set and reach goals together. It’s the experience. Doing it together. (so why am I suddenly afraid to run *with* her?)
I also need to admit to myself that she is simply just better at racing than I am. That this is something different for us. That we aren’t on the same wavelength on something for the first time. That part of what I’ve identified with myself is no longer. She is a racer. I am not. And that’s okay. It should be okay. So why does it feel so sad for me? Why do I feel that familiar pull towards wanting to keep working towards half marathons? Like this one?

It’s affected me more than I thought…that part of my identity feels just slightly changed but changed enough to throw me into a bit of a mental tailspin.


But I am still a runner. I am still focused on challenging myself. I am still doing everything that makes me happy.

But the premise of racing I liked – working towards a goal – is what feels missing. I need a new challenge. (short term, it’s this!). I thrive with challenges and goals.

So what is it? What do I do? I’m still doing the barre n9ne challenge (unofficially, yet officially…I mean, we *are* the barre n9ne spokespeople after all!), I’m still running. But what’s the goal? What’s my next ‘thing?’

I don’t have an answer for that. But I want something. My mind is in overdrive. A few things float to mind, just maybe.

Where do I go from here?


This post has ping-ponged all over the place. I’ve rewritten it three different ways. I guess this is my way of ‘blogging out’ what’s been flitting through my mind lately. If it doesn’t make sense, forgive me. If you think I’m talking nonsensical, I probably am. But that’s okay. I just gotta get this out and move forward.

38 thoughts on “Where do I go from here?

  1. It’s okay to not do everything together. It’s okay for you and Jess to have different interests, different areas that you excel. I’m not even a runner. My sister is the athletic one. My talents lie in other directions. Enjoy what you do well.

    There are so many things!

    Big hugs.

    1. you’re right, Nicki. It IS ok. I didn’t realize how much I was attached to our sisterhood in terms of how much we DO together that is alike that this sorta hit me dumbstruck a little. XO, thank you!

  2. Wow. Not even sure where to start. I hate that you’re struggling so much internally with all of this. Running shouldn’t be so much pressure. I will say that when I set mileage goals, I still sometimes get nervous. My hear rate will go up just thinking about it. Like if it was before a race. So I get that part totally. I just get in there and get going and let my mind go. I stop thinking and dwelling because that’s when the trouble happens for me.

    And I understand what you mean about doing the same things as Jess – because you both enjoy the same things. But maybe you compare yourself a little bit more when it comes to running? She obviously enjoys the racing aspect. But that doesn’t discount you and your running one bit. I think I’m rambling now….

    1. Heather, I would hug you if I could right now, thank you for always relating to what I have to say…I tend to forget that you have struggled with many the same running issues as me, and look at YOU. you are amazing and a rockstar at running now. I need to get back to that. And I need to compare myself to nobody but myself.

  3. I do not think you are so much fearful of the distance as you are fearful of failing (in your view) in front of others.

    Racers race. They train to race. That’s all they do.

    Runners run. They run for the joy of it. Distance becomes secondary.

    But if you keep focusing on the next goal, where is the joy? Your joy is achieving the goal, not the way in which you do it.

    Which makes you neither runner, nor racer.

    1. Thanks DD, as always, for providing me with something to think about. Of course I don’t want to fail in front of others. Does ANYONE want to fail in front of others? Probably not. So yeah, that fear is there, certainly, but I don’t think that is abnormal. For me, there IS joy in goals. Goals aren’t for everyone, I realize, goals don’t make everyone happy. They do make me happy. And when I don’t meet a goal the way I want (half marathon), then it feels pretty crappy. For me. I have been so focused on running races here and there as part of why I run that taking that out of the equation is more difficult than I thought. It’s just new and different and that can be scary for me. I like routine. Not change.

  4. Do you ever run on your own? It’s quite often a very therapeutic experience and might be something you might want to try. As for running with friends, when I do, we often run varying distances but we set-up a plan to run part of it together. If someone is running a shorter distance, they usually show up later and join in for the last miles that meet their distance. Just a couple of suggestions!

    1. Thanks Naomi, you are also my go-to girl for running advice!! I used to ONLY run alone for the most part. Then I started running with my sis and my friend Steph. And then I met M. And then my running struggles started once I had some asthma issues. So I got scared to run alone. But now, maybe it is what I need. At least once a week, as you suggest. I think I might. And I also think there is something to be said about it being okay to run with others where you all run different distances. Why I have a hard time doing that and running shorter than others, I have no idea. I shouldn’t.

  5. Honestly, I think two things are happening here.

    1 – you are making this whole racer/runner thing VERY black and white. why label yourself at all? Like you said in one of your posts before the half, “just run.” if you one day decide you want to sign up for a race, go for it. If you never feel that urge again, so what? Just run.

    2 – whether you want to hear it or not, this comparison between us has to stop. it’s damaging your own self-worth and it’s damaging our relationship in a way. it makes me very sad that you now fear just running with me. your sister. we used to love to run together. and now, because of ONE run, you no longer feel that you can or deserve to run side-by-side with me?

    I just want you to shake it off. All of it. Stop comparing. Stop labeling. Stop shoving yourself into a corner and beating yourself senseless. Just be you. My sister. Who happens to be so strong, so fit, so beautiful, so confident. Let her come back out to play again, please? I miss her. So much. xo

    1. Thank you sis. I needed that. I am making it very black and white and I honestly don’t know why. I need to stop harping and just simplify…RUN. That’s it. As for the second comment, I need to stop that too. I was doing very good with it until very recently. I will get past it. I have to. Love you too sis, let’s go play 🙂 Wine?

  6. Maybe you are a racer, just not at the 13.1 mark. Run the distance you love to run, whatever that is. My mom loves running too and was recently told due to some minor knee arthritis that she shouldn’t be planning for the full 26.2, but that running halves were ok. Racing isn’t the important part but running is. You don’t race everyday, but you run everyday. If you love the 10k distance, run that. There’s no shame in not being the best at 13.1 or 26.2 or the 100 meter sprint.

    1. Thanks Rachel, for stopping in and giving me more food for thought. Maybe I am still a racer, in some capacity. Maybe I need to go back to basics and do a 5K or a 10K or something. Maybe I will. Not right now, but I will leave that door open.

  7. Go Jess GO!

    I love this honest talk! I love the tough love. Maybe only those closest to you can say these things to you? I know my Gentleman hits me with the tough stuff and it sometimes snaps me right out of things.

    You need to find the joy in doing what you do! I agree with Naomi! Go run on your own and maybe do this once a week. Get out of comparing and using anyone as a crutch and learn to inspire yourself.

    You can still set goals, if you must, but make them YOUR goals. It may be a 10K instead of a half or it may be a triathlon.. 😉

    I also think some of this is a reflection of what’s going on personally. You’re, in effect, learning to lean on M with this whole moving in together transition too. It’s probably exciting and scary. Maybe you’re questioning it too… not the relationship but just that fear of what’s next?

    Find a place that’s only YOU, jobo. Meditating, going on a walk alone… do something alone so you can find the depths of your own inspiration.

    1. I agree, I needed Jess’s comment on that. She gets so frustrated with me and I take it as anger when she is just trying to help me see what I am doing to myself. And I think my goals need to be mine, nobody else’s, you are right. And the triathon? Yeah, it has crossed my mind 😉 And I think you also dug at something else, all of the change in my life at the moment. Yeah, there’s a shitton. It’s almost entirely GOOD but it is still change. And when there is change afoot, I tend to freak out a little until things settle. The perfect storm of change is upon me and I just need to adjust. XOXO thank you!

      1. Thank you T for helping me to be even more honest with Jo than perhaps I have been. AND for helping her to see that I’m not angry with her, ever ever, just so frustrated that she’s stuck going in this endless circle of self-doubt and questioning all the time.

        1. Oh I get it. And as someone particularly close to her, you see what’s TRULY her and what she’s overlooking. It’s a real blessing to have someone offer that in your life. It may look like anger or frustration but all that you are really saying is: “I wish you could see what I see!!!”

      2. Change is a toughie and we know how it rocks you. We saw the job change remember?

        Just give yourself a break, sweetness! Can you find a way to relax into the chaos? Like, I dunno, MEDITATING?!?!


        Love ya!

        1. Meditating! YES. I DID download that app you suggested and have yet to listen to it in full. Ironic, huh? I will, I promise. And I will give myself a break. maybe just a wee bit 😉

  8. Man oh man, this running thing really has you by the boobs, eh? *scratching head*

    Maybe for you, running is your bacon? Finding the JOY in the running, you know, I don’t get it. I never see a person running that looks HAPPY. *Laugh*

    Alright sweets, you know, sometimes, it’s ok to focus on what you HAVE accomplished (which is a LOT by the way) versus what you are thinking of as “what I could have accomplished”. But dude, if there is even ONE thing that makes you happy about running, then focus on it.

    You can do this. You already have!

    1. Okay QT, love you. Seriously, this made me giggle. ‘has me by the boobs’ and ”running is your bacon’ – YES!!! To both! I need to find the bacon in my running. I find it sometimes, just not all the time. And I want to look happy when I run, not the people you apparently see running;-) hehe. XOXO!

  9. Totally off topic but when Guns N’ Roses were working on “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, they reached a point with the song where they didn’t know how to finish it, they were stuck. Axl Rose then asked the same question you did, “Where do we go now?” and as the finished song reveals (near the end 🙂 ), he figured out a way to continue and finish the song.

    More to the topic, running can be just for maintaining health. There doesn’t have to be a goal just let it shape your life, sign up for runs in other cities or other countries to add some variety.

    1. Hi there, thanks for the visit! I love the Axl Rose reference. Still sort of on topic, right?? And yes, you are right, running can certainly – and is certainly – awesome for good health. And I love the idea of running in other cities, states or countries. Now THAT would be fun.

  10. I’ve been reading every post that you write, and i feel bad that I haven’t commented more. I want to be able to offer some words of support or encouragement but find that I just really don’t know what to say. I’m happy when I do any form of exercise. That even includes walking on the treadmill at lunch for 30 minutes–because at least that’s better than sitting on my butt all day, right?
    I am not a runner. I wish I were, but I just don’t enjoy it that much. I guess my only piece of advice is that you seem to look at running as more of a chore rather than something that’s supposed to bring you joy and challenges. Isn’t it sort of like learning a new game? sort of like chess? arn’t you constantly learning and trying to get to where you want to be? nobody starts out an expert. and not everybody can be a chessmaster. maybe it’s best to realize that you just have certain limitations that your body can’t handle when it comes to running, but that doesn’t make you any less of a runner. so what if you can’t run as long or as fast as others. running is a personal journey that you constantly have to work at to get better. maybe start focusing on your JOURNEY as a runner. yeah, it sucks you didn’t do as well on your half marathon, but maybe you’ll do better on this next run? you won’t know unless you try : )

    1. Thanks friend. I appreciate your comment and feedback, as always. I know that my words and feelings about my running must come across badly in a sense, in terms of just having the ABILITY to run. Absolutely agree, I am grateful I can run, I am grateful I can do anything workout-related. I have let this worrying and dwelling get the best of me instead of seeing the positives in it all. You are right…running is a challenge and I DO have limitations and that’s ok. It’s not a race…no pun intended. Thank you friend 🙂

  11. Well………I’ll start with a short story. When Tim ran his first full marathon (my 2nd), our “race” was much like your half: miserable and slow and nothing of what he hoped for, other than to finish, which we did. At first, he felt a lot like you. Then, a few weeks later, he decided he wanted revenge. On the marathon.

    So, we signed up for another one. Enter hot, humid, horrible summer training that ran us both into the ground. However, he decided to pick another marathon in a cooler climate during a cooler time of the year – trying to give us as many little “helpers” in the right direction as possible, along with training in the heat (which, as bad as it was, is a good helper for endurance).

    That marathon? Our time improved over thirty minutes. Thirty. Tim finished that race feeling proud and happy and accomplished. Like he beat the marathon.

    Now, back to you. You’re just as Type A as me (and Tim) and we never like getting beaten, so to speak, by something we feel we can control (running). With a little strategy and lots of mental toughness, we can beat it. We will. I feel like this is part of your struggle, whether you consider yourself a runner or a racer. Either way, you don’t want to have your last half marathon be something that beat you versus you beating it.

    My two cents, anyway.

    1. Thanks Jessica. It is definitely food for thought because you’re right, I don’t want my last half marathon to be a sucktastic one. The do-over should help too 🙂

  12. I think it’s wonderful that you have such a close relationship with Jess. A lot of people would love to have the special bond that the two of you have. I think it’s hard not to compare ourselves to your sister ( I know I do it all the time to my three sisters). I say you are great at your running and I think as long as you enjoy it and it makes you happy continue with it but if it’s not making you happy, maybe there is another way you can approach it or maybe taking a break from it might help.

    1. Thanks Susan! You are right, we are lucky to have that bond and it is hard not to compare. But I vow to try harder not to! Not healthy.

  13. Jo…first,let me say that I know what you mean, to an extent, about the sisters thing. I have had some emotional breakdowns since having my sisters move away. One lives 3.5 hours away and the other lives 8 hours away. It’s really tough with you lose touch with something that holds you and your sister(s) together. So, I know you’re going through something tough.

    Second, where do you go from here? Wherever your heart takes you. You have a lot on your plate right now from barre, to moving in with M, to needing that mental break you got, to trying to figure out who you are as a runner. That’s A LOT. (Not to mention the sister bit.) I don’t think it’s that you’re using “runner, not racer” as a cop out. I think that you know you can make it 13.1 miles (how fast or how slow doesn’t matter), and right now, the stress of race day doesn’t help you focus. Focus is my big problem…and it gets me when I’m down. Keep running. Don’t set a mileage. Just go. Run a path you’ve never run before and don’t test yourself. Don’t keep thinking about the “can I’s” and “why can’t I’s”. Just go…see if that works. I think we’re one in the same…always analyzing “who we are”. I’m trying really hard to stop that…it just ends up being a big mental mess.

    1. Thank you so much! So true. Almost focusing too much and losing focus instead! I’m trying to go more with the flow for now and see what happens!

  14. Aw, sorry you’re feeling so stuck. Why not try to change it up with biking or swimming? Those can still be competitive and challenge you in new ways.

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