The Only Thing Harder Than Trying To Qualify For The Boston Marathon
There is only one thing harder than trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon (BQ), and that's filming yourself while you're trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Every night, I sit down to my computer, upload all the footage I shot that day, and begin to relive the struggles, the speed bumps, and the doubts. You know that weird self conscious feeling you get when you hear the sound of your voice on film? Multiply that by 100 and you'll know how I feel when I have to watch myself pull back or give up during a workout.
I feel like a broken record when I say this, but I really didn't think the mental game was going to be this difficult. Issues I thought I'd left behind years ago are resurfacing and despite break through after break through, I find myself taking two steps forward and 100 steps back again, and again, and again.
But it isn't all bad. It's pretty incredible that I can go back to the beginning and see just how terrified I was when I took my first steps toward BQ'ing.
I know I can err on the dramatic side at times, but I was genuinely terrified those first few weeks. I didn't start to believe in myself until a few days ago. For weeks, I've been running towards a finish line I was positive that I wasn't going to cross. And you can see it in the way I talk about myself and what I'm capable of in the first couple of vlogs. But slowly, little by little, I start to break through. I'm finally starting to trust the training and believe in my strength and capabilities.
But the hardest part for me is having to watch myself stop myself from pushing forward like I did last night. I was four and a half miles into a progression run. It was hard but I felt strong. Then, during the final half mile, I felt like I might puke and I panicked. I stopped repeating "I can do this" and started thinking, "I want this to be over". Instead of pushing through the final 3 minutes, I dragged my feet and gave in to suffering. What's really hard is that I know better. I know how to push through discomfort but I chose to let everything bother me. Then having to watch myself suffer and choose not to finish strong was just really tough.
Giving up is a really sensitive subject for me. The other day, my friend Chris reminded me that I need to want to BQ. That I need to know what I'm running for and at the time, I had an idea but I wasn't ready to admit it. I'm a quitter. When things get hard or when the water gets murky, I jump ship and run. (Pun intended kind of. It's the reason why I started running.) I don't like to ask for help and I feel confident when I'm in control. A little chaos and uncertainty I can handle but when I lose the tiny bit of control I thought I had, anxiety takes over and I quit.
I'm really afraid that I'm not going to BQ. I'm really nervous that I'm going to come up with enough excuses to give me an out. I'm terrified that I'm going to walk away knowing that I could have given more. I'm BESIDE MYSELF that I may let you all down. I don't know what the next 52 days will bring but I'm afraid. And I know this reaction is necessary because I care but I'm drowning in anxiety and I had to let you in on my not so secret secret.
Making these daily vlogs (HAVE YOU SUBSCRIBED TO MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL?) has been the greatest gift because trying to BQ is flying by. Training for a BQ attempt has been humbling and difficult on a million different levels and I feel really grateful that this experience, both the ups and the really low downs, are being preserved. It's hard to be this open and vulnerable with my mistakes and my doubts. At least on my blog, I can craft them however I'd like. But film doesn't lie! And that's terrifying but also totally liberating.
These next 52 days are going to be hard. Training is kicking up a gear and it's sink or swim time. I'm feeling nervous and uncertain about myself but the best way for me to deal with my anxieties is to be honest. In the light of day, when everything is off of my chest, I always feel less afraid.
Thank you for coming along for the BQ Or Bust journey with me. It's so much easier knowing that I'm not in this alone. I am humbled and grateful beyond words.