Sunday, May 5, 2013

Growth.

I am not normally one to stay down after tough races. Usually I get over it and think "I tried my best, there will be another one. I learned something. And will grow from here."

I also often am afraid to push myself to my full potential...I am afraid to fail

On Saturday, April 27th, I ran the Get in Gear half marathon up in Minneapolis. For the first time in a long time, I set a goal and I went after it. I wanted sub 1:50 and at least a PR (under 1:52). I felt like this was within my capabilities. I have been feeling strong in my recent runs.

Except. I panicked. I felt exhausted. I had no energy. And I put too much pressure on myself. I didn't run my race. And I was controlled by external factors, rather than a calm mind, physical strength, and confidence.

I held on until mile 8 and then had to give in. I had pushed too far and my body was rebelling because of it. My breathing was off, I was dehydrated, I had little strength left to carry on. I wanted to take my first DNF. The only thing that kept me going was my brother. His face, fighting with every ounce of energy he had left, to finish his first marathon...kept flashing through my mind. So I told myself, this will be tough, but you will fight on.

I finished in 2:01, after holding pace for 1:51 through 8 miles. It was brutal those last 5 miles. Quite possibly 5 of the hardest I have ever run. But I made it.


I was bummed after. Frustrated. Disappointed. Confused. And far less confident. Why? Why did this happen? I knew deep down I was capable of more. Why did I fall short...again?

I gave myself the rest of that day to feel those feelings. And then promised Monday I would wake up focused on learning and growing.

This past Saturday, I tried again at the Grandad Half in La Crosse, WI. I was honestly terrified. I tried once and it was miserable. I fell short. Maybe where I thought I was in my mind...is not accurate. What if it happens again?


The start was freezing. Foggy. I was still waking up. I couldn't believe I was about to attempt another 13.1 with a PR in mind.


As I crossed the start. I took a deep breath. I repeated "run within yourself, run within yourself." I kept my breathing calm. Took in the sights around me. And tried my absolute best to run by feel and ignore my watch.

I felt anxious until mile 8. Where I had to give in the week prior. But I still felt strong. I mentally prepared myself until mile 9 and then knew I had to drop my pace down to finish strong and meet my goals.

I took a deep breath and went after the last 5, this time, with my heart and mind, instead of just my body.

I continued to ignore my watch because I knew if I saw the paces I would panic...if they were slower than my goal pace...I would be hard on myself, if they were right on...I'd freak out because "I am not 'that' fast"

As I hit the last aid station. I didn't know where I stood but I could tell by feel I would be close. The words "self-compassion" flashed through my mind. And I simply stated, "Catch your breath, grab a drink, refocus, and then run your heart out and don't stop until the finish. Julia, no matter what happens in the next 20 minutes, I am so proud of you."

I ran. I ran with my heart. I was kind to myself. I believed. I did not quit. I did not slow down.

I crossed the finish in tears at 1:49:19.

A 2 year old PR crushed. A barrier I never thought I'd break, broken.


I am scared of failure. But when I do allow myself to fall. I am reminded of the great potential for growth following such a fall. I am reminded of how those falls reinvigorate my soul and drive me to become stronger and to believe in myself more. I am reminded that the accomplishments following a perceived failure...are that much sweeter. 


27 comments:

  1. Loved reading this! Still proud of you for fighting on!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congrats girl!! The one thing I've learned from doing Bikram yoga is to listen to your body and that your body will tell you your limits--don't go into a practice thinking you'll do better than the last--or you'll be disappointed. Everyday you're faced with new challenges and changes that could easily affect how well your body adapts to what you're putting it through. I've had to take a sub-PR approach to some recent races--and I had to be Ok with it--knowing that I listened to my body and did my very best. Not every race will be a PR and learning that its OK and to be happy with the performance you just had is satisfying (at least it is for me).

    ReplyDelete
  3. So happy for you! :-) Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awesome. Way to go, Jules :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Triumph!!! Sorry to hear of your experience at Get in Gear, but wow, talk about redemption :)

    I will remember your grit when I toe the line this weekend at Maine Coast Marathon!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice PR!! Way to not give up, it's hard to overcome that kind of discouragement. And I love that you did it just a week later. I need to follow your example and run another marathon so I can redeem myself and accomplish my sub 4 hour goal (if my knee would let me).

    ReplyDelete
  7. CONGRATS!!! i always love reading your recaps, you nail them everytime!

    ReplyDelete
  8. that is awesome that you got back on the horse the very next weekend and accomplished your goal. 1:50 is a huge barrier to break, and now that its reached, you'll be amazed at what more you can accomplish that you didn't think possible :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. So happy for you! You just continue to grow and to shine brighter and brighter! And your pictures are stunning, too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congrats!! when i saw this on FB i was soooo pumped for u! great job on the PR and for the mental barriers u broke down to get there. coming off of a bad race can be tough, and sometimes people are unable to get their confidence back. but bad races happen...u learn from them if u can, then set ur eyes on the KICK@$$ races like u just ran!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Way to seize the day and redeem yourself! It's an amazing feeling when you just let yourself go and give it everything you have.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your so strong and amazing girl. You inspire me, to do my best ,but dont beat myself up if I fall short. It's not fun to fail, but it make a stronger person.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm so sorry about that first half...but congrats on your new PR for the second! I am so proud of you for finishing the race! I have to say that is exactly how I felt at the Ramblin Rose Half I ran last September, I felt awful the entire race but I was determined to at least finish. Sometimes we have bad races, it sucks but I'm so glad that you finished!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congrats Julia! Some day we need to chat so you can impart some wisdom on how you rocked the granddad half after the GIG. I get hung up on my failures far too much! You rock my socks!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have missed your blog posts. We have a lot of commonalities in the way we think and process life in general so reading your thoughts is always refreshing. So proud and happy for you. My dad always tells me if you are not a least little bit scared of your goals they are not big enough. Falling never lasts forever. Most of the time it is just a nice humble reminder of how strong you have to be in life. You proved it sista! You are strong. Enjoy your PR... recover your legs:)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ahhhhh!!! I am so soooooo very happy for you!!! Such a great transformation between the two races.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nice job lady! You killed it! So proud my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  18. OH MY GOODNESS JULIA! I'm so happy for you. You deserved it, big time! 1:49! That is huge. This is such an inspiration to me! I'm in that place where I'm getting stronger but am almost afraid to try a half PR. I'm gonna keep this stored away and use it when I need to be strong. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congratulations! I am so happy for you and your new PR! You have worked so hard to earn it and you deserve it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Congratulations!!!!! Your words and your encouragement to yourself choked me up a bit. I LOVE that you told yourself how proud you were of yourself. Love that! Congrats againn.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Congrats on the PR! That weather looked like perfect racing weather. Awesome on crushing it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hey. I am terrible w/ comments because I do all my reading from my phone...but this was worth saving and stopping by. I am so proud of you. Both for getting your goal and for not giving up. I've loved reading about your journey over the past year + and I know you deserve everything that you earn. Great job! On a totally unrelated note, your bookmark for me along the right hand side links to my old blogger blog. The addy needs update since I went self-hosted last year. If you keep up with that sort of thing ( ; Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I've missed your wisdom Julia. Congratulations on crushing your PR and meeting your time goal!
    A bigger congratulations on being brave enough to fail, brave enough to fall, and brave enough to pick yourself up and rise again. There is grace in falling, peace and love when you accept that you can't always win in life. Self-compassion means accepting your failure, not beating yourself up for it and moving on to the next adventure with care and understanding of where you are in your journey.
    Take care lovely lady.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Nice information you have shared here and it's great pleasure for me to read this.
    burun estetigi

    ReplyDelete
  25. "I am scared of failure. But when I do allow myself to fall. I am reminded of the great potential for growth following such a fall. I am reminded of how those falls reinvigorate my soul and drive me to become stronger and to believe in myself more. I am reminded that the accomplishments following a perceived failure...are that much sweeter." Congratulation for overcoming your fear of failure. 3 cheers for you.:-)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Miss your writing Julia… Yours is my favorite blog, hands down! Please come back! :) :)

    ReplyDelete

I am always appreciative of the comments you leave...bloggy friends are basically amazing :)

Conquer the moments of Pain, Embrace the moments of Pride, and PERSEVERE.