run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Week 5: Fearless

Me in January 2010.
I had just finished my first 50K.

The Amy in the above photo was completely oblivious to times/paces/distances. I never did "workouts" and I didn't push myself in 5Ks. I never thought about recovery days or how many miles per week I was running. I just signed up for whatever races my friends were doing, or races where I could knock off a state.

Selfie at the top of some fucking 
mountain in Utah. "Pacing" my friend
Craig at his 50 miler in 2010.

Running was uncomplicated. And that's what I loved about it. Sure, I loved going to a race and getting a PR unexpectedly, but if I didn't get one... I didn't give a shit. I was just happy to be out there doing something that made me feel alive.

Day 3 of the Chattanooga Stage Race.
2011.
 
And then somewhere along the way, I decided that I wanted to push myself. That I wanted to see if I could get faster. So, a friend graciously offered to coach me for a half marathon. And that was something totally different and I completely fell in love with the rush of working for something and then seeing the hard work pay off.
 
And my little running world was completely turned on it's head. I went from thinking that I was the fucking greatest when I PRed at the half by like 5 minutes... to feeling like I was complete and utter dogshit a couple months later when I DNFed at the Flying Pig.
 
 No longer on my fridge.
But, I eventually got back up on the horse and started training again and puked my guts out through the Birmingham Marathon, had my guts revolt on me and kill a marathon in Eugene, and had a lackluster, dead leg, cold as shit Baton Rouge Marathon finish. 

For those of you counting...
Eugene: 2 Amy: 0

And I'm not complaining. I don't expect marathon PRs to come easy. But, somewhere along the way, I got really, really scared of racing. And I know that fear is what is really holding me back right now. What if I'm just not a good marathoner and I never reach whatever potential I have? What if I just can't execute on race day? 

The absurdity of it all, is that, I KNOW it doesn't matter. I MEAN WHO GIVES A FUCK?

 
But, the reality is... it does matter. Because it's really fucking up my head. 

So, my focus this week is to get pieces of the old Amy back. The Amy that signed up for races a little unprepared sometimes, the Amy who finished races with a smile on my face when the sweeper didn't get me, the Amy who was fearless and thought that she could do ANYTHING. 

I feel like if I could mix that Amy with the Amy now, who is disciplined and knows how to train... I could be unstoppable. Now, I've got a coach to help me, a boyfriend to support, inspire, and push me. And plenty of friends to prod me along. 

It's time to figure out how to put it all together. All I know is that the first step... is to stop being afraid of failing. And to just go out and do the work. Races come and go. Speed fluctuates. But running always remains.

2 comments:

Gracie said...

Back in my "slow" days, I loved to race, and had a blast no matter what. Then one day I decided to push myself, and I got faster (I took an hour+ off my marathon time - it was a big change). Races now had pressure , people expected me to do well or place, and I had to set goals, which I sometimes didn't meet. I liked the pressure a little, but honestly, races have never been as fun since.

Pandora Viltis said...

I feel your pain. I've been working a ton on mental training and it seems to be working, although I haven't had a chance to test it yet. I'm trying to run a lot of shorter races for fun and not watching my Garmin and I've been happy with my results in a way similar to my earliest racing days. We'll see how it goes next goal race.

I've also paced some slower friends, and that's also helped me feel the fun of racing again.