I’ve been thinking about the word fearless for awhile now. As I read race recaps of people who ran Boston this week, including those who PR’d despite rough weather, I wondered how I could be more fearless in my life.
Because, frankly, I have a lot of fears.
Most of these fears are sublimated and relate to fear of failure. It’s not like I sit around shaking in my boots, more like an excess of being conservative. In my training, I’ve had to convince myself not to take the easier pace when approaching a tough interval workout. I tell myself to go for the harder pace and if it’s too hard THEN I can dial it back. About 98% of the time, I find that I can do the harder pace just fine. But before I allowed the doubts that I could hit those paces dictate the workout.
I suffer from a bit of an inferiority complex (I suspect most people do, so I’m no special snowflake in this regard), and the thing I keep repeating lately is, “why not me?” It’s a shift in perspective, a tiny one, but I need to acknowledge that with all the work I’ve put it, I too deserve to do well. I’ve watched people blossom in their running and felt envy that I wasn’t progressing like I wanted. I missed my Boston qualifier goal last year, and it made me feel less than charitable, which really has nothing to do with the runners I envy but rather disappointment in myself.
I’ve mentioned that I get “tall poppy syndrome” in part due to my upbringing, and it often leads to massive negative self-talk that sabotages my performance. One way I’ve mitigated it is by running by feel. It’s a lot harder to doubt myself if I don’t know what pace I’m running and it just feels right. I haven’t decided if I am going to run all my races Garmin-blind this year, but I might. It’s kind of a risk when I get to the Wineglass Marathon for my BQ attempt, but if it continues to work through this training cycle, it might be the way to go.
After I was done, I checked my splits. 9:20, 8:55, 8:49, 8:47, 8:49, 8:30, 8:23, 8:40 (hill), 8:24, 8:21, 8:21. If I’d been running a half marathon and kept it up, I would’ve probably met or beat my PR. But running at what felt like an easy pace and even effort.
The moral of the story is: I need to get out of my own way.
I don’t know that any of this is leading me towards being “fearless,” but I like to think that if I am not quite unafraid, I am making progress despite the fear.