At the beginning of the year I made it a personal goal to work towards qualifying for the Boston Marathon. The first few months I was all about it. Nothing could get in the way of me qualifying for Boston. Now, well into the year, I have been starting to doubt myself. Not just doubt but become overwhelmed with the fear of not qualifying. This year I will have to run CIM under 3hrs 35 mins 00 sec. Last year I ran my FIRST marathon at 4:57:40. That means I would have to shave off 1hr 22mins 40sec. How the heck am I supposed to do that?! Well, I’m going to try. After turning 27 and almost being married for four years, the number one question I get asked about life is: “when are you going to start having kids?” My response is always, “After I run Boston.” Now everyone knows that I will start (or start trying anyway) making mini-me’s after 2017.
For most runners, Boston is the pinnacle of personal records. Sometimes when I think about the feeling of crossing the finish line and becoming a Boston qualifier I actually tear up. Most of my long runs consist of me visualizing myself crossing the Boston finish line and most of the time running a 7:30 mile. So why am I terrified?
It’s human nature to doubt ourselves and not push ourselves to our fullest potential. Over the summer I have been continuously running but with running injuries, heat, and just everyday life, I have become really worried about meeting my goal. I have even given myself an out: that if I don’t qualify for Boston at the California International Marathon this December, perhaps I can try to qualify at the Pony Express Marathon in May 2016. By mid-year, I found myself slowly letting the fear of not achieving my goal overtake who I am as a runner.
Luckily, I didn’t let that last for long. I guess in many ways this post is a way for me to stay accountable and let all of you (the amazing readers) push me to work harder than I ever have. After a discussion with an inspiring running friend, it was just the motivation I needed to get back on track and not let fear and doubt ruin what I have been working so hard towards. I couldn’t sit here and write to you about running and being the best runner you can be while I’m being a chicken and doing the complete opposite.
I have found that surrounding myself with friends who have similar running goals and family who support keeps me focused. Also, mentally training myself is just as important as physical training. Recently, I’ve had a few different people try to talk me out of qualifying for Boston because it was such a big leap. Taking 1:20 minutes off my marathon time is a huge deal. But if I let the “what ifs” and the slight possibility of me not meeting goal consume me I will never achieve a level of success I deserve.
One tool I feel that has helped me immensely is visualization. Taking a few seconds during runs, imagining myself crossing the finish line, or exceeding my fitness goal will help me mentally stay focused and thrive on my positive outlook. I’m confident all of these steps can help you too. Don’t let anyone including yourself stop you from achieving the best version of yourself.