My Own Worst Enemy
This summer, after finishing the Bix 7 (pregnant, no less), I frantically searched the results in the newspaper in search of someone — anyone — familiar that I’d beaten.
The Bad Angels I had run with all had great races, and I finished last amongst the crew. Dead. Last.
So there I was, desperately searching for validation. It didn’t matter that I’d run the race faster than I had the previous year (when I wasn’t knocked up) or that I’d had a nice run on a beautiful morning. What mattered is that I hadn’t beaten anyone.
I’m not alone in this, either.
My husband conquered his fourth marathon last week in Chicago. As he watched all of the Bad Angels around him PR, I could actually feel his sense of disappointment. No, he didn’t PR and break four hours like he wanted to. But you know what? He ran his second-fastest marathon to date — and he managed to train for it while working an extremely demanding job and dealing with a toddler and a cranky pregnant wife.
My heart aches for him because I want him to feel pride about what he accomplished in Chicago, rather than doing what we all do to ourselves: judge — and judge harshly.
That’s the funny thing about running and racing in particular. It’s in our nature to want to win. At its core, that’s what a race is all about, right? Perhaps not. I think, as runners, we need to redefine what it means to win.
So let’s all make a conscious effort to stop beating ourselves up and to stop comparing our accomplishments. Ignore the negative self-talk and revel in your personal achievements. You have worked hard, and you deserve it. In fact, I hereby release you from your race regrets. (And if you must, go ahead and harbor a tiny bit of hate for those smugly happy jerks who PRed. A little bitterness never hurt anyone.) — Aidz