Tag Archives: fear

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?

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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.

“Why do you want to run a half marathon?”

“Why do you want to run a half marathon?”

M posed this question to me on one of my particularly frustrating, struggling, feel-like-lead-want-to-panic-can’t-breathe runs about 5 weeks ago and I didn’t have a good answer to that question.

I thought about it and was at a loss for words.

“Why DO I want to run a half marathon?”

But now, as I have *finally* found that running groove that I was desperately seeking and questioning whether it would ever come back, questioning if I really WAS cut out to be a runner, and hell, WAS I even a runner at all…I know the answer.

Because I can.

Because I want to prove to myself that my body is capable, that my mind is capable, that my body will carry me every step of that 13.1 miles on Sunday.

And why else do I want to run a half marathon?

Because I AM a runner. Reading Tina’s post and Jess’s post today and nodding with every word they said, I sat back and thought,“‘huh. I’m a runner too, aren’t I??” Never thought I’d see the day where I’d say that and believe it (I’ve said it before but I didn’t really believe it).

And even though I struggled a bit on my last run before the half (4.5 miles, but was having a bit of an – ahem – issue needing to go to the bathroom, if you catch my drift. TMI, yes, but does that happen to anyone else?! M equates it to ‘running with a backpack on’ and well, that’s exactly what it feels like!!), it wasn’t that my legs weren’t carrying me or that I was struggling with my breathing, it was just that other ‘issue’ (though I admit to letting it get to me mentally, worrying about this happening on Sunday. I’ll squash that for Sunday though, I am determined!).

I am looking forward to crossing that finish line on Sunday (even if we’re in for a rainy forecast…) more than I ever thought I would.

Because I can. Because I am a runner.

Have you ever run a race of any length? Do you visualize the finish line as motivation? Have you ‘run a marathon’ of another kind (metaphorically speaking) and conquered it? Let’s call this ‘Share Thursday,’ shall we?

 

Comparisons.

Today, I was planning to blog about my ‘running progress report’ anticipating that I would have a good run today, dammit (despite uber high humidity and temps in the 80s…at 5 am), but instead, I sit here stuck in another comparison game with myself.

During the barre n9ne challenge (which is three days from completion, I might add. Sniff. Excited at measuring in on Thursday though!), I’ve come to realize how much I fall into the comparison game. Against myself, against my sister Jess, against other bloggers, and against the mirror.

The good news is, I think I have tackled comparing myself body-wise to others and the mirror (more my friend than my enemy now – big rock!). The bad news is, that comparison game has shifted into my struggles with running.

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During this morning’s run, I started out strong, I felt relatively fast (side note I might add, on Sunday’s run with M, our first mile out of the gate? An 8.25 minute mile…I’ve never run that fast. Of course, that was followed by the next several that were struggles as the sun was blazing hot and I lost my focus a bit, but managed and didn’t panic) and was relieved the sun was not yet out. But as I started to tire and my breathing labored, I slid back into comparison mode. I compared myself to my sister, running with ease (as she heroically kept me going, helped me breathe and was honestly my rock and savior. Thank you sis), I thought about how effortless M and my brother in law Scott make it look, I thought about other blogs I read and their own running triumphs and wondered when I would have my own…

if I would have my own.

I started to think that maybe I am not a half-marathoner. Maybe I am destined only to reach a 10K and no further. Nothing to balk at, but deep down, I want to run this half marathon to prove to myself that I can. And not give in to comparisons, fears, and panic. I started to feel ashamed of myself as I allowed myself to go into hyperventilation mode as we neared the last hill. I was crying in anger, pain and fear. And massive frustration that I let my mind take over and not conquer it.

You see, I am not weak though.

I am strong. I am able. I am fully capable.

It’s not my legs that won’t carry me. It’s my mind that won’t believe. It’s my breaths that mimic my fear, not my ability.

I need to take the advice I uttered to myself and to M this weekend. I need to take it one run at a time, and not leap ahead to planning runs (and distance) for the week or month or half marathon. Just one run at a time.

~~

I wish I was better at envisioning myself after the run, sweaty, but accomplished, legs tired and tight, but strong and worked.

I wish I was better at breathing…consistently.

I wish I could stand proud, not feel ashamed.

I am…determined to fix this, to erase the mental block and just do this. I know I said pretty much the same thing last week in my plea for running help. But I saw it most clearly today when I began to panic. It’s not because I can’t do it, it’s because I am not letting myself. I am going halfway and then stopping. If I can conquer this barre n9ne challenge, I sure as hell can conquer my running struggles, the comparison game and – hopefully – this half marathon.

I am committed. I have to be.

“Run if you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must…but never, ever, ever give up”

Hello, panic attack.

Yesterday afternoon my boss was induced.

Gulp.

10 days earlier than anticipated.

Which means no last-minute transition of open items.

Which means my impending vacation comes at the exact worst time ever. A lot of loose ends. A lot to tie up by Friday. A lot to transition to our agency to help cover off on while I’m out (because besides my boss and me, we are the only two that handle comms in the entire company. We always try to avoid that happening).

When I hung up with her, I started to cry. I started to panic. Big time. I started to freak out. My mind blanked. I started IMing my sister freaking out, saying “I can’t do this. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I can’t. I can’t. What am I going to do.” Near hysterics.

This is exactly how I felt!

M called me and tried to comfort me, he tried to reinforce that I got this, that they wouldn’t have hired me if they didn’t trust me and have confidence that I could handle this step-up role while she’s out. I tried to listen and believe it. He texted me and said: “remember, it’s okay to lose to your opponent, but you shouldn’t lose to fear.”

Stopped dead in my tracks. He’s so right. Fear cannot paralyze me. It absolutely must not control me and break me down. It’s game time and I must act. I must trust my instincts. I must not fear failure. This is my time to prove myself. I need to believe that at the end of this 8-ish weeks, that I will have grown into my ‘big girl wheels’ and ditch those training wheels I am clinging to.

It seems unfathomable to me that I will be where I need to be at the end of this test. I’m truly scared. I’m trying to shed the fear and turn it into motivation. I’m trying not to internalize it, especially on my vacation. I just need to trust myself and know I can do it.

As T said to me on Twitter tonight (thank you for being my little guardian angel right now…so needed and appreciated): “breathe and relax in the discomfort.”

*serenity now*