Shedding the “Costume”

Workouts:  On My Training Blog***

As 2011 Halloween draws to a close and I put away all of my fun costumes and reflect on the memories I have also been working on burying some of my own running costumes.

Putting on a costume and pretending we are someone else for day is fun.  It is exciting to dress up in disguise and play a new role.

But after Saturday’s Half Marathon I realized I have too often been disguising myself as a runner and hiding behind my true abilities.  Are you still with me?  I am having a hard time putting my thoughts into words but hopefully you can relate. 

Before Saturday’s race I truly never believed I was fast. 

People would ask me my PR times and I would respond with something like:“um…..1:23 for the half but on an honest course more like 1:38.”  Immediately followed by “but my PR definitely doesn’t count because it was aided.  I am NOT that fast.”

Every time I had a good race I would always say:“I may have ran fast in that race but that was not me.  I do not know how that happened because I am NOT that fast.”

My race Saturday and my friend Julie helped me to finally shed that costume I was hiding behind and realize that no one else is dressing up as me and racing in my body.  It is ME doing it.  I’m sure this sounds so ridiculous but it was almost like an epiphany for me because I realized I wasn’t just getting lucky.  I actually am somewhat talented at this running thing and capable of way more than I ever gave myself credit for.

What I learned from Saturday’s race:

1 – Starting out easy really does work.  Imagine that?  The first 4.5 miles of the course were extremely downhill and I was capable of running them much faster than I did. But instead of speed I focused on my breathing and making sure the effort felt easy.  Yes it took me one year to figure this one out but better late than never right?

2 – I am capable of running fast (fast for me.  I completely realize I am not an Elite runner).  I constantly say that I cannot run in the “6’s”.  The 6’s frighten me and whenever I see them on my Garmin I kind of have a melt down.  But guess what I ran 12 miles in the 6’s and I CAN do it.  Huge personal milestone with this realization.

3 – I am mentally strong when I allow myself to be.  This is where Julie really comes in because so many times in the last 3 miles I wanted to slow down, quit, or take a break.  I kept analyzing my garmin thinking in my head that I could easily slow down and still get the sub 1:30 I wanted.  But she forced me to challenge my mental toughness and this proved to me that I am much stronger than I think.

Overall this race was so memorable and such an amazing learning opportunity because I finished knowing I had without a doubt given every thing I had in me.  I left every ounce of me out there and that was an indescribable feeling.

Any “costumes” you’ve been hiding behind with your running?