Running is a funny thing. On any given day you can have either a great run or a horrendous run. Sure, there are always those factors that can contribute to either but sometimes you have a horrible run when you least expect it.
As a runner, I live for those perfect running days. Where everything lines up perfectly and you have the most magical run.
But then there are those horrible days. We all know the days, we have all had them.
Failing comes with the territory. You are not going to PR every race and not every training run will go well.
After running for nearly 5 full years, I have definitely known my fair share of failure. But I have also had some success.
Sometimes, when you are struggling, it is difficult to look back on the successful runs. Often times, when you are the midst of a running rut, the only thing on your mind is failure. You can’t see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel…. Or if you do… you assume it is a freight train barreling towards you.
Three years of failure, multiple training plans ditched with weeks still left on them, dozens of races with times I didn’t want. I didn’t see success on the horizon. In fact, I failed to notice the success that was right in front of me. The fears of three years of running struggles haunted me and I couldn’t see past them.
But then I nailed a run that terrified me for years. A run that had me so freaked out that I was nearly in tears before putting on my running clothes to head out for a run. I still had to struggle through the run. I KNEW I was physically capable of completing the run. Mentally, all I had was doubt. For the entire run, I battled between the physical and mental. Knowing I was physically capable, even if I wasn’t mentally capable.
The truth is, I was mentally capable all along… I was just too scared to know it. In the weeks leading up to that run, I was determined to nail it… I knew I HAD to nail it in order to move on. When I headed out for the run that day, the conditions were not the ideal conditions I was hoping for. A HUGE part of me wanted to cut the run short and try it a different day. Another part of me wanted to just walk back inside and bail entirely. Then there was the part that wanted to move to past the fear… that wanted to FINALLY get over it.
So I went for my run and I refused to give in. At the end of the day, I had done what I set out to do.
That was my sunshine moment. The following week, I had another long run on the schedule but I never feared it. I was no longer freaking out. It was just another run.
Of course, that hardly stopped me from prepping like I normally would and from sticking to my safety net route. But at the last minute I added on an extra mile and a half to the run.
Sure, I have had support along the way too. Certain people who have had faith in me when I didn’t have faith in myself. But that doesn’t mean that the battle wasn’t mine.
I know I will still have failures ahead. I know I will have success ahead. But for the good, the bad and the ugly, I am in it for the long run.
And truly, THAT is the ultimate battle. Continuing to lace up and head out there even when the running isn’t going well.
After all, It never Gets Easier – You Just Get Better
With each run, each step, each mile, you are getting better. It may not seem like it at first but eventually, running through the icky stuff will get you to the sunshine.
Stick with it. And even if you don’t have faith in yourself, know that there is someone out there who DOES have faith in you. I will be that person.