Runnings Greatest Life Lesson

When I started running, I didn't think I was going to  become a runner. All I wanted was to find a way to mute the never ending self destructive inner monologue that played in my brain on repeat. I was so overwhelmed with surviving each painful run that I didn't have time to feel sorry for myself. 

And the more I ran, the more I started asking myself what if? What if I ran a half marathon? And then what if became why not. As the miles and finish lines started accumulating, I changed. I stopped feeling ashamed when someone asked me what I was doing with my life. Initially, running felt impossible, and the more I ran, the more confident I felt about challenging my fears and my self doubts. 

I've learned a lot about myself since I first started running four years ago. This year, I set what felt like an impossible goal to shave 20 something minutes off of my marathon time. That goal forced me out of my comfort zone and I struggled more than I did when I first started running. I started training with runners who intimidated me, and I quickly learned a lesson I will keep with me for the rest of my life. How important it is not to compare yourself to others.

That being said, it's impossible not to compare yourself to the people around you both in your running and personal life. Why fight it? It's going to happen. Comparing yourself isn't a death sentence, putting yourself in fake competition with other people is. I've found that using the people around me as a gauge keeps me motivated, inspired, and challenged. AND when you surround yourself with people who are busting their ass just as hard as you are, you get a killer support system who just gets it. 

It started when I joined Gotham City Runners, my coach Josh's kick ass team of super strong and fast women. (There's a handful of dudes who run with us as well and they're all supportive, fast, and incredible teammates. Shout out to our men.) I was terrified to run with them because at first, I couldn't hang. I felt like I was struggling ten times harder than they were and I was drowning in shame and fear. I was convinced I was doing something wrong because a month went by and I didn't feel like I was getting stronger. So I did what I always do whenever my insecurities start to overwhelm me, I got vocal and I came clean.

I told them what I was afraid of and what I was experiencing and to my surprise, we were all on the same page. Everyone felt like they were struggling or was afraid of holding someone back and instantly, a giant weight came off my shoulders. Now when I fell behind, someone was always there to remind me that I could do it. I stopped feeling ashamed for being what I thought was the weakest link and I started feeling really grateful that I had such a killer support system that I could be apart of.

Then Dr. Bob gave me the incredible gift of no regrets, no excuses and it put every single insecurity I had (ok continue to have) into perspective. Perfection isn't an unattainable quality, perfection is your personal best, whatever that means that day. And the only way you'll get to that place is if you use the people around you as a support system. Can you do it alone? Yes. Will it be easier if you have people to build you up? Absolutely. 

Running isn't as easy as give it your all. Pushing through doubt and my own personal insecurities has proven to be the hardest mountain I've ever climbed in my life. Every single time I feel like I've reached the top, I feel like I'm back at the bottom. I'm constantly having to prove to myself that I'm stronger than I give myself credit for. The pain is temporary thing doesn't feel true in the moment. When pain is at a 10/10, it's hard to remember that that's to be expected. Having someone there to remind me, "We got this. I feel like shit too but this is almost over, eyes on the prize" makes the biggest difference. 

Whenever I struggled to push through the discomfort and pain, I used to compare myself and feel inadequate. Now? I remind myself that I have good days and bad days and giving 100% looks different for everyone. That whole "stronger together" slogan? That's real life. It works. There's nothing wrong with using the people around you to gauge your progress just so long as at the end of the day, you want to see all the men and women you compare yourself to kick ass and take names as well. The only person we should ever be in competition with is with ourselves. 

Your perfect is different than someone else's perfect. It's not about how fast or far you can go, it's about having the courage to give it your all. You only regret the things you don't do right? Doubt is inevitable and when it rears it's ugly head, remind yourself that running isn't a chore, it's a choice. You get to show up and give it your all. Find a mantra that shines brighter than your doubts and smack a smile on your face. You can do anything you put your mind to. You may fall flat on your face a few times or stumble before you surge but that's a part of being perfect. You have to walk before you can run and you have to trip and fall before you can cross the finish line like a boss.

Build the people who challenge you up. Be their biggest cheerleader and push one another towards your own version of perfection.

Now go kick ass.

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.