The Secret To Making Impossible Possible
I really didn't think I'd want to try this again. After I finished the Facebook-Live when I got back to my hotel room post-London Marathon, I turned to my best friend Emma and said I didn't think I'd ever want to try to BQ again.
I knew I was just hurt. That eventually, maybe a year or ten down the line, I'd be excited by the prospect of making my impossible possible again. I just needed time.
But subjecting myself to that level of disappointment, frustration, and self-pity rocked me. I didn't see that coming.
NO REGRETS, NO EXCUSES I told myself. You can't be upset! You gave it your all, right?!?
But I was.
I was angry.
And embarrassed that I was embarrassed.
The following months were shitty. On the days that I actually wanted to run (they were few and far between), my piriformis muscle hurt. And the rest of the time, I felt numb. Running, the thing that gave me purpose and helped me put one foot in front of the other had suddenly become the thing that threw me into a downward spiral.
Then, I ran a really, really f*cking painful and humbling Philly half marathon and felt the fog start to clear.
Maybe it was the fact that I got to spend a weekend with my #BadassLadyGang, sleeping two to a bed, staying up late, laughing and talking about life--
Or maybe it was that familiar, addictive sense of accomplishment I felt when I did something I wasn't sure I was capable of doing--
I was terrified to run that half marathon. Terrified that my piriformis muscle would blow up and I'd have to endure London 2.0. Terrified of the pain and struggle. And even more afraid of having to accept where I was at both physically and mentally.
And like every other boogyman that's come before it, once the race was over and done with, I realized that the fear I had imagined was a hell of a lot scarier than the one I faced. (Granted, I don't want to downplay how hard the race was. It really was humbling. I had to fight for that finish but I did it!)
This is going to sound crazy, but I don't think I was ready to try to make my impossible possible again until I gave myself permission to let it go. Because up until a few weeks ago, I bought into the narrative that I didn't try hard enough. And because I was begrudgingly drinking the, "I failed" kool-aid, I felt like I needed to prove myself. That until I got that BQ, I'd just be someone who wasn't strong enough to make it happen.
That is until the day came that I finally accepted that I don't actually need to try again. That with or without a BQ, I'm strong as hell. I did everything I could to make my impossible possible. The cards just didn't fall the way I wanted during training.
We can't anticipate the setbacks, missteps, and things that are totally out of our control. Life. Weather. Work. This list goes on and on. We aren't professional athletes. We don't do this to be the best in the world. We do this and continue to show up for ourselves because it means something personal to us.
Maybe it is as simple as a way to stay healthy. Or maybe you're running to prove to yourself that you aren't a quitter or that you're stronger than you give yourself credit for.
It doesn't matter, we run because it's personal. And once I was finally able to remember why it is that I chase these crazy goals, I was excited to try again.
So here we are! Two weeks into marathon training and things are going better than I could have ever predicted. And I really think it's because I figured out that don't need this BQ, I'm choosing to chase it.
I've finally figured out how to take my own advice and get the hell out of my own way.
I'm giving myself permission to have fun and succeed. IT'S LIBERATING.
No. I'm not.
Because I don't care what happens on race day. I don't get to control the weather, I get to control what I think and feel about myself and what I'm capable of. So that's what I'm focusing on.
Running isn't about race day. Race day isn't the test. The test is what you do on the days when you don't feel motivated. The test is what happens when you tell yourself that you aren't capable of running X miles or X pace. Do you give yourself an out or do you show up for yourself and see what you're capable of?
This time around, I want to see what I'm capable of not because I want to BQ, but because I want to feel that sense of accomplishment I feel when I know I gave it my all.
That's the goal. If I hit the time I need to qualify for the Boston Marathon, AWESOME. BQ or Bust is still the name of the game. But the BQ isn't the biggest goal. The goal is to just do my best and enjoy the journey.
So far, so good.
If there's one piece of advice I can relay after my first two stellar weeks of training, it's that your attitude matters. Optimism doesn't just happen, you have to make it happen. The harder I work on how I feel about myself and what I'm capable of, the more fun I have. It works.
So do yourself a favor, take some time when you wake up in the morning to figure out what you're grateful for, what you're excited about, and how you're going to kick ass each and every day. Set intentions and then make them a reality.
You can do anything you put your mind to. Don't worry about the end game, just focus on the now.
Kick ass. Take names.