I was running with a group one day and this subject came up. One of the ladies said, “If you were running with a girlfriend and she said she wasn’t feeling up to the run or something self deprecating, wouldn’t you encourage her? You wouldn’t agree with her and tell her to just quit, would you?”. That struck such a major chord with me. Why is it that we can encourage our friends to do damn near anything, but when it comes to our own goals we can tell ourselves the most awful things?
I know I’ve accomplished some pretty great things, career and education wise, and fitness wise. I have stayed in school full time while working a great job at a fantastic company. I have run some of the most difficult trails and most beautiful half marathons that our country has to offer. Well, that my part of the country has to offer. I haven’t done anywhere near the amount of traveling I want to do…yet. When I was completing my first ever full marathon in Tacoma, I thought I was going to die. Not really – but every runner has had that moment in a run where the idea of actually crossing that finish line is no longer tangible. It becomes this vague idea of a soft chair to sit in and a warm shower and potatoes covered in gravy. But you can’t feel it or taste it. In this particular race, I was numb. My training had been derailed simply by my life. There were no injuries or sickness or anything so cataclysmic, but it was made clear to me about halfway through the training that I simply could not make the time for the three big time commitments in my life: work, school, running. If I wanted to function at work, maintain a decent GPA in school, and actually get some sleep, it simply wasn’t possible to run the amount necessary for adequate marathon training. This was a tough, almost heartbreaking realization. I kept my commitment to run that marathon, and I was glad when it was finished.
I wasn’t proud, though. It was so hard for me to see it as an accomplishment because of how difficult it was and how long it took to complete it. It was a race where by the time I got to the finish, pretty much everyone was gone and there was not really any celebrating going on. My fantastic boyfriend was there and walked me in the last three miles, and my lovely supportive sister and equally awesome boyfriend were there at the end, all smiles and hugs and congratulations. All I could focus on was how slow I was, how heavy and sluggish I felt, and how ashamed of myself I was for walking so much of it. The fact that I had aced that semester, grown at work, and maintained a great relationship with aforementioned awesome boyfriend simply didn’t factor in. I did have a great vacation in the Pacific Northwest following that marathon, so at least I was able to enjoy that.
Perhaps that’s something to work on in 2015: being kinder to myself. I’m sure it’s something we can all work on. There has to be a line between completely wussing out simply being realistic and supportive of ourselves, right? I think I just found something to add to my to-do list for this year.