In order to be 100% honest and transparent, I need to share this. It is not glamorous, or hope filled, it does not show perseverance. It is about me letting go. About me stopping, and figuring out what is important; important to me, my mental health, and my family.
I set this goal of wanting to PR every event I ran this year. It was, and still is a feasible goal. Last year, was the first year I started racing, it set the standard. This year, I wanted to put in the effort and be better.
And then I ran a marathon. Read about it here.
It was a less than ideal race, and I finished feeling defeated, with a hint of proud, when in reality, I had just run a marathon!! I should have been beaming. Fast forward to a couple months later, when I decided that race could not be my marathon story, I would have to do it again, and BE BETTER. I was striving for more, but for all the wrong reasons.
I love to run, because it helps me clear my head, it brings my closer to God, it gives me joy, it helps me to be a better mom, it makes me feel strong.
UNTIL IT DOESN’T.
As I started actually preparing, and training for my fall marathon, I got hit with and injury a couple weeks in that limited my running, that was hard. My metal game from there on out was strained. I ran out of obligation, I put half effort in, and was miserable most of the time. This is not why I started running. This feeling, is not what I signed up for.
I pushed those feelings aside, and kept trying, I figured I couldn’t quit, I couldn’t give up now, I would be failing. I was striving for what I thought I needed to do. My striving was for my own glory. And when you get stuck striving for self, it can never turn out good.
There was a book I was reading at the time called Present Over Perfect, and letting go of those things we think we need to do in order to be perfect is a common theme in it. Shauna Niequest at a couple points talks about giving up that marathon goal. This book has nothing to do with running, but it ended up having everything to do with running for me. At one point she says:
“What do you need to leave behind in order to recover that essential self that God created? What do you need to walk away from in order to reclaim those parts of you that God designed, unique to you and for his purposes?”
That, right there has caused me to pause, and reevaluate.
Here I was, trying to reach this PR, when my heart was not in it, God was not in it. I was going through the motions, and pretending that all I wanted to do was having this big marathon comeback story. When really, I don’t want that, not now anyways.
Do not get me wrong, I would love to run a marathon again, but the next time I run one, I want to be all in. I want to have my heart in it, to be able to hit all the workouts and feel good about that, to have that motivation to run the race I trained for because I wanted to. But until I am there, or close to there, I am going to put my marathon dreams on hold.
My extra supportive husband said either way he supports me. A wonderful women who I respect and look up to shared that she too thought it was best I let go of this fall marathon. Those are the words I needed to hear.
And then a weight was lifted.
This was yesterday, and let me tell you, I feel so much better. I am going to continue training for a fall half, still just under 7 weeks out, and I cannot be more excited! I am looking forward to my runs, and my lifting, and I am feeling 100 times better. The joy is returning. My plan is to work on my speed, strength and mental game. (I realize I could have done the same for marathon, but again, it comes down to heart issues, and my heart is not in the marathon.)
Does it make me less of a runner, no, I don’t think so. Do I feel like I quit because it was hard, no, I don’t know if I was ever in it in the first place.
I say all this, to hopefully encourage someone else to let go of self made expectations. If your heart isn’t in it, why are you doing it? Instead Choose Joy, take the time and effort to do the things you love, not the things you think people want you to love!