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. 

How could I not stop with this view?

 On Sunday, I did an 11 mile run in my favorite park. My speed workouts during the week have been tough, and I gave myself permission to just enjoy my long run in the gorgeous weather. I wore a spanking new shirt from Inknburn that made me feel like a rock star and I had the last 90 minutes of my audiobook, “The Kind Worth Killing” to keep me company. I had to briefly stop to cross streets in traffic a few times and I stopped once when I was struck by a view in the park and had to take a photo, but otherwise ran without breaks. 


Maybe its the fierce shirt that made me run faster

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. 


I must be fearless to go out in public with this hair



23 thoughts on “Fearless 

  1. But look at that smile!! I love this. We think a lot alike, seriously. That’s why I have “no fear” tattoo’d on my foot. One thing that happened during a race way back when was that I slowed down in the middle because I got uncomfortable/tired. When I finished, I knew I could have gone faster. I never see someone win a race and not feel tired/exhausted/good pain. I wanted to be that person. I’m still struggling to find the balance between the perfect level (yeah, like there’s PERFECT) of effort where you know you couldn’t have done any better and you can say I TRIED MY ABSOLUTE BEST AND I’M EXHAUSTED, and the one where you do too much and you run out of gas at the end. One thing to never forget is that you have failed yes, but you keep going, and that’s what separates you from others. You’ll get it, but have fun along the way, lose the Garmin if that’s what it takes, have fun along the journey. Listen to me, I guess I think I’m Dr. Phil or something 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • I LOVE your fearless tattoo. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to get one on my foot (I have two, one on my wrist and one on my shoulder).

      I think losing the Garmin is helping me not overthink things, so it may be covered up for all my races this year, even the marathon in October.

  2. I get in my own way all of the time. You know the Lit song, with the lyrics, “I am my own worst enemy”? Yep, that’s me. Great post, the shirt is awesome and clearly, you are putting in the work. You got this!

  3. Gosh and I admire how brave you are for being so willing to speak openly about recovery. That takes a lot of balls!
    Running with a Garmin has been bittersweet for me too. The first year was wonderful, because I was coming back from pregnancy so my times were just going to gradually better, but the second year running with it- I began to feel like it was sucking some of the joy out of my running. Now that the weather is getting hotter, my paces are going to drop because of the heat, and I don’t know if my fragile ego can handle the pressure.

    For your next BQ attempt have you thought of running with a pace group? You don’t have to wear a Garmin.

  4. I loved this. “I need to get out of my own way.” Don’t we all? I’m FAR from fearless as a runner. I’m cautious to a fault, I think, so this really resonated with me. While watching the Boston Marathon, I noticed that pro runner Buzunesh Deba doesn’t wear a watch. I googled photos of her at other races and she seems to rarely, if never, wear a watch. Anecdotally, I have a good friend who twice missed her BQ by the hair of her chinny chin chin. After the second attempt, she signed up for another race in 6 weeks. Come race day, she ran by feel, without a watch, and finally got her BQ. Might be something to it if you need to get our of your head.

  5. First off – love the sweaty-Judith pic (great smile as noted!) and the shirt IS fierce!

    Second – learned a new phrase ‘tall poppy syndrome’.

    At a certain point it is time to say “I’m getting to old to let this ^%$^%& define me!” As I have noted many times, I recently turned 49 and am in the best shape of my life and constantly hear ‘oh, you’re that guy we see running everywhere’. I’m sure as heck not the fastest, but who cares?!? I have done things that the morbidly obese kid who will forever live inside of me would NEVER have believed possible!

    So go for it, and trust your awesomeness – but also investigate. Don’t over-measure, but also DO measure so you can learn.

    • I love this : “So go for it, and trust your awesomeness – but also investigate. Don’t over-measure, but also DO measure so you can learn.”

      Throwing away expectations has been good for me. I’m too hard on myself for some things and running is about joy for me.

      I’m glad to have taught your a new phrase. I’m always learning good stuff from you.

  6. Like many here, I love this: The moral of the story is: I need to get out of my own way.

    Me, too!

    I look forward to seeing how the no Garmin works out.

    Go you!

  7. Syd says:

    Fear of failure is something I don’t have much anymore. I think that I did have it when I was younger and still being so competitive in my head. Now I do things for enjoyment and without setting huge expectations for myself. It suits me now to lighten up on myself. I drove at a hard pace for decades and now I’m just breezing along. Not much left to prove here.

    • Expectations are always an issue when they are used to bludgeon myself. I’m glad I’m figuring out ways to not do that so much because it serves no purpose. I suppose I still have a few things left to prove to myself 🙂

  8. Joan S says:

    I don’t fear failure. Well just a little bit, but I’m training myself not to fear failure. To me failing has a purpose, a new growth maybe that I’m not even aware of. Its nice to actually just do and not let the fear of failure stop you.

  9. TR says:

    I can relate, I need to get out of my own way too! I’ve been exploring more on my thoughts and my inner critic recently. I think you are doing great in handling it and pushing through. I am curious to hear how it goes on ‘feel’.

  10. Darlene says:

    I’ve only run a few things without my Garmin (not my choice) and I actually ran faster but I am too chicken to do it on purpose.

    I bet that you will BQ!!

    • I was afraid too, and then my watch when bonkers trying to deal with the tall buildings during the NYC Half, and it was a blessing in disguise. It made me realize I can’t count on Garmin. GPS really isn’t exact either… How many times have courses that were USATF measured show long on GPS? Most of it isn’t poor running of the tangents, it’s because GPS is not that precise. It’s darn good, but can’t beat a manual measurement.

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