I will be brutally honest...the word Compete scares me. I love running races, I love setting goals, I love training for my goals. However, when it comes down to race day, I have a hard time pushing myself to the ugly zone.
I didn’t run competitively or participate in school sports when I was younger, so I wouldn’t necessarily say I am a “competitive” person in the most practical sense of the word. However, I have felt successful in my racing; by running a new distance, new race, or even helping others across the finish line.
When I first began distance running, I was chasing goals. Some goals were distance based, some were to conquer a new course, but mostly I wanted to beat my PR. Somewhere along the way reaching those goals on race day, began to hurt, so I pulled back, too scared to push through it. I convinced myself it was ok to shift to my Plan B goal, then somewhere it shifted to Plan C goal until I lost the drive to push to my full potential. It wasn’t about not wanting to do the training, I think this was about the fear of not meeting the goals and the disappointment that follows. It felt easier to become complaisant with my running than to compare myself to previous PR’s or others success (or what I perceived as success).
What I didn’t realize, this complacency wasn’t just effecting my running, it was reaching my everyday life too. I was caught up in so many activities and obligations that I wasn’t putting my whole self into any one thing. I was fine just doing what I needed and not pushing to make those responsibilities priorities or even something special.
Here I am, a year later and so much has changed. The move to LA has definitely helped shift my perspective. In the past year I have let go of the responsibilities that weren’t serving me, I have stepped back from being a leader (both professionally and personally) to being a student. In that time, I have learned so much. I have realized I can enjoy yoga, how to run alone in the woods/mountains with nature and really like it just as much (if not more) as I love running in the chaos of a downtown street, it’s ok to let go of my identity of a “marathon runner”, and taking the time to smell, taste and hear the life I am surrounded by.
As I leave another year of running and begin to focus on 2017 I feel the excitement I was missing for so long. The excitement not just to run an event, but to race it. When I ran my 25K a few weeks back, I got a little taste of running with a race strategy. Then I received my copy of latest version of the Believe training journal…Compete. After reading through so many great tips and tools to guide runners through the process, it all began to click. (I’ve used the Believe training journal for a few years and swear by it, the new version is even better)
As a sidebar I have to say being a part of the Oiselle Volée the past year has opened my eyes to my running potential. I had spent a lot of time in the past few years surrounded by runners I could mentor, or runners that were so much faster than I. While I know that was where I was meant to be at that time and I wouldn’t trade those experiences, I do believe it is the reason I lost sight of my running needs. Being part of the Volée, sharing stories with other runners I can relate too, hearing tips from pros in ways I understand, has truly rejuvenated that love for my running that I had buried.
My goal in 2017 is to focus on competing. Learning to compete with myself to push the goals I know I still have in me. Running in my 40’s is a bit different, but with specific training, journaling my progress and utilizing additional coaching I believe I can hit some key targets. These targets may be specific time goals, age placement in a race, or even a PR.
I will be taking a couple more weeks in my recovery mode (mainly because it’s the holidays, and I am moving to a new apartment), but will start up a progressive training cycle by January. For now, I will focus on a few half marathons, then build up to longer distances (or a tougher challenge) in the spring. I will review this again in early summer, and then set my racing schedule for fall.
I’m setting my intention, and I commit to owning it. It’s time to push past the comfort zone and train to compete. I know I have it in me, and now it is time to explore the path that leads me there, and run right through it.