I do . . . I am so envious of Kara’s long and lean body and rockin’ abs. I also think she is so brave for standing up for what’s right and promoting a clean sport (long distance running). I will never look like Kara Goucher. That dream ended on June 20, 2002, when my obstetrician cut through my abdominal muscles to bring a little human into the world (and then it happened two more times). My abs are “toast.” I also can only hope that I am that brave if the time ever comes that I need to stand up to one of the world’s largest companies.
Bur despite all of that, I ran ten 10Ks in 2018 and met the “100K Challenge”! (Technically I ran 12.5, but who’s counting? Two didn’t count towards this challenge, and one I stopped because it was pouring rain and it was lightning and my 16-year old demanded that I stop.)
I know there are people reading this and thinking “What’s the big deal? I run six miles every morning.” I know, I know . . . there are some amazing people who run. Every morning I hear their banter as they run past my house at 5:30 in the morning. They run four to six miles every day and not just when it’s a nice day. I would love to join their group, but truthfully I couldn’t keep up. These ladies run around an eight to nine-minute. I run an 11-12 minute mile pace.
I acknowledge that running 10 six-mile races over the course of a year isn’t a big deal to some people. Heck, they do it every morning. However, allow me to tell you about my running journey.
I was “sort of” an athlete back in the day. I grew up as the poor kid in the 1980s. At that time, there were no club teams or private coaches. Instead, we signed up at the parks and recreation office for softball and track consisted of the annual track meet at the grade school. I ended up running track for one year in high school before the fear of working at McDonald’s for the rest of my life set it. As the poor kid, if I wanted a car or to go to college, I was paying for it. So I traded my track cleats for a waitress apron.
When I ran track, I was a sprinter. I LOVED the adrenaline rush of the 4 x 100 relay. At that time, when the coach would throw me on the 4 x 400 or open 400, I was incredibly annoyed. That race is a nightmare. Who in their right mind wants to go sprint an entire lap?
Fast forward 25 years and I am having lunch with a friend (a marathon runner/ironman). We were talking about her runs and I say the words “I can’t run distance because I was a sprinter.” She looks at me with utter annoyance, rolls her eyes, and says to me “You need to get over that.”
Let me also tell you about some other lies I was telling myself. In 2012, I was diagnosed with something called Hashimotos. It sounds scary and daunting and the doctor who diagnosed me pretty much made it seem like a death sentence. She told me that I would eventually get thyroid cancer, and it was going to be nearly impossible for me to lose the mysterious weight that I had suddenly put on. You know what? We are not a Prozac Nation, but a Synthroid Nation.
Everyone takes it (okay, not everyone, but a large majority of people). I’m not sure if it’s the excessive amounts of coffee, NoDoz, and Mountain Dew I consumed in college (after a night of fish bowls at the “Salt Mine”) or just bad genes. Regardless, I my thyroid was completely blown out and I am going to be taking little pink pills for the rest of my life. I was exercising a little at the time, but definitely not what it was going to require to actually get in shape.
I’m pretty sure that every one of us has told ourselves lies so many times that they become the truth. Whatever the lies that you are telling yourself, stop it! The word “can’t” should not be coming out of your mouth. Whatever it is that you WANT to do, you can do. Most of the time, getting through the “can’t” takes a lot of mental toughness. That’s what is so great about running. I had myself convinced that I would never be a “runner.” (And trust me, I still struggle with this.)
As you’ve read previously, I’m all about “fake it ‘til you make it.” I have all of the cool gear and cute running tights and a Garmin watch. I definitely look the part. I’ve even gotten some “stink eye” from some of the freaks out there running in a sports bra when it’s 30 degrees. Bring it on, sports bra girl… I can take you for 400 meters, anyway.)
The running community is the most welcoming and forgiving group out there. They don’t care how fast you are; they just care that you are out there. No one cares that by the end of the race, my “race pace” is a 12-minute mile. In their mind, I’m “crushing it” it just as much as they are.
What’s my point in this long, drawn-out walk down memory lane? Stop telling yourself that you “can’t” do something! If you want something badly enough, you CAN. Even if you don’t necessarily “want” it, completing a goal like ten 10 Ks in a year is so incredibly satisfying and empowering.
You know the old adage: if you want something badly enough, you will find a way, and if you don’t, you will find excuses. I’m a single mom. I had to do a lot of juggling to figure out how to make it to 10 races all while getting my girls to their events. With a great support system (and a little begging), I did it.
Stop comparing yourselves to others. Celebrate your wins- no matter how small they may seem. Stop making excuses and telling yourself lies to the point that they become your reality.