I thought today was going to be the day. It was a gorgeous 67 degrees in Atlanta. It was the perfect day to be outside. Paul and I took Jameson for a walk in the neighborhood and decided we’d take our run on the same path. I stretched, put on my silly spandex running shorts, and gave myself a pep talk in the mirror. Yep, I was ready. We’ve been running on the treadmill for weeks, and I ran an 8:25 mile yesterday, 9 seconds faster than my fastest treadmill run. I was sure I could get under 8 minutes today.
We left our apartment, crossed the street, stood at a crack on the sidewalk as if this was a real race starting line, and waited for our Nike apps to count down. “3, 2, 1, BEGINNING WORKOUT!” We began running. I was pretty stoked that I was ahead of Paul and he yelled for me to keep going without him. He’s the best.
The thing about a treadmill is that it keeps your pace for you, but when you’re outside, it’s all about you. You are in control of how fast you go, how big your steps are, everything. It’s something I used to hate, but the more I ran, the more I loved. We ran, ran, ran and got to a hill. The hill didn’t seem so bad when we were walking with Jameson, but actually running up it deemed it a lot more difficult. There aren’t many hills in Chicago, and there are 0 hills when I run on a treadmill. That hill got me. I looked at my app and saw I was running a 9:02 pace. Crap! We got to the top and turned back around to go down. I looked at my app- 6:58 pace. Cool, but would it be enough to even out the slow run up the hill?
As we got to the end of the hill, I was dead, and Paul shot way in front of me. I closed my eyes, told myself I could do it, and tried to concentrate on getting my legs to move faster. That usually works for me when I feel like my legs are going to stop moving but nothing changed. I kept a steady pace. “1 mile,” my app announced. Mile time? 8:58.
It’s easy to have a pity party. And I did have a mini one. I was sure running outside would be a lot easier than running on the treadmill. I set my mind to believing I was going to be able to accomplish my goal today. But today was day 2 in a row that Paul ran faster than me even though I am the one who spent the past 91 days running. That last one is actually super frustrating. These things seem to come so easy to Paul. When we were training for the marathon, Paul missed a lot of the days, but he led our team (him + me) for 90% of the actual marathon. (To be honest, I missed a lot of training days, but that’s for another blog post! He missed way more than me though.) Yesterday, Paul stepped on the treadmill and ran a 7:52 mile like it was no big deal. Today he started slower than me and then pushed ahead out of nowhere. No special clothes, no talking in the mirror to himself, no big hype, just a strong mile.
That’s where my pity party needed to stop. Why am I comparing myself to my boyfriend? He’s had years and years of training growing up playing sports his whole life. Sure, I may have more recent training, but his muscles are built differently and he’s been practicing forever. And what does comparing myself to him do for me? What does comparing myself to anyone do for me? It puts me in a pity party mood, and that’s it. It puts me in this “this is so hard for me, nothing comes easy for me, I don’t know if I will ever be able to do it” mood.
This is not why I started running.
I started running to see if I could do it. I started running to see if I could do something without quitting. That’s it. I run for me. I’ve proved to myself over and over again that I can do it. I ran 31 days for my 31st birthday, and I stretched it to 91 days today. I am not running to set a record or make it a career. I am not running to be the fastest of my friends. I am running to push myself out of my comfort zone. I am going for sub 8 minute mile to push myself. Every day I run, every race I run, I do it for me.
You know that cheesy saying, “Reach for the moon. Even if you fall short, you’ll land among the stars.” Well, THAT. Even if I don’t get a sub 8 minute mile, well fuck. I had no idea I’d be able to run an 8:25 mile or consistently run a 9 min mile. What I am doing now is beyond what I ever thought I was capable of doing. I started my streak thinking, “Yeah, I’d like to work on running short distances and maybe improve my mile time.” I had no specific goal or plan on how I was going to do that. I just started and made things up as I went.
And I’m doing pretty damn well.
I don’t want to have pity parties anymore. I don’t want to compare myself to other runners unless I am using their mile times as motivation for me to do better. (I only started to push myself to run faster when I saw Ryan Carroll and Tim Schram being speed demons!)
So what am I going to do? How do I get over this disappointment and pity partying? Giving up on sub 8 and going for casual jogs is not the answer.
Paul got me this amazing book for Christmas called, "You Are a Badass." If you are having regular pity parties and struggling to meet your goals or get your life together, I highly suggest it. In it, Jen Sincero says, “Whenever anything excellent or mediocre or lame or annoying happens to you, meet it with the statement, “This is good because…” and fill in the blank. Once you make this a regular practice, you’ll see how much easier it is to be in gratitude for much more than you realized. ‘This is good that I got a flat tire on my way home from picking my kids up. I’ve shown them how to deal in an unexpected situation...’ If you focus on the negative aspects of the more challenging things in your life, it will just lower your frequency, keep you in pain and resentment, attract more negativity to you, very possibly make you sick, and very definitely make you crabby. If you instead look for ways to be grateful for everything in your life, it not only raises your frequency, but it allows you to grow by opening you up to the lesson."
Whoa. Imagine that. Using everything that happened in your life as a learning moment. Looking for something to be grateful for.
Nix that pity party.
Let’s start this blog post over.
This is good because...
Today I really wanted to run a mile in under 8 minutes. I ran my mile in 8 minutes and 58 seconds. This is good because it showed me I can run a sub 9 min mile outside! I also learned that running up and down hills is a lot different than running on a flat treadmill. Tomorrow I am going to take Jameson for a walk and map out a flat 1 mile path. This is good because it will force me to explore other parts of our neighborhood. Having the hills around is good because it will help me build strength and endurance as I train for the marathon this fall. Paul ran a lot faster than me, and this is good because having a fast running partner will push me to run even faster. Paul even offered to run right in front of me to block wind because that’s what Olympic runners do, he says. And we, of course, are on par with Olympic runners. ;) Anyways, this is good because it shows me what a good partner my boyfriend is, and I am so lucky to have him.
Ending this post right here.
How do you deal with disappointment and move on? Think of something that happened today that you can use the statement, “This is good because…”
Need some help getting to where you want to be? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.