Social media blah blah blah. Okay, blog post over ;)
It's quite sad what it can do to us all. To describe my personality a little bit, I'm very odd. I care so much about my sport, but I would say details are annoying to me. I tend to think details are for sissy's (kidding) but that just tends to get me hurt. It's not that I don't think stretching is good but when you start compiling all of the things that you have to remember to pay attention to as an athlete, the list gets comprehensive and exhausting. Proper diet, proper vitamins, proper stretching, foam rolling, ART, speed work, tempos, long runs, bike rides, easy swims, swim workouts, new shoes, and I could seriously go on and on.
Basically, I say all of this to say, I used to not care at all about the pressures of pace. Not. one. bit. I started running to run a marathon, and I can remember when I would post my long runs with times (not even looking at them myself and before I knew how to train properly), people would say "Oh my gosh you're going to qualify for Boston on your first marathon." Of course at that point, I was like wondering what the time was so I started researching it. I still didn't know how to train appropriately, so I just kept up my training program which was just run 4 days per week with long runs on the weekends. I do think that I naturally had a faster speed than I even realized. I don't say that to brag, but just that it ended up being my kryptonite and how it can happen to all of us.
Boston is always going to be that thing that everyone reaches for when they are running marathons which is totally understandable, but when I qualified for Boston I remember thinking that I could care LESS what my time was (and I really still don't), but just the experience of being there. I saw how everyone posted about PR's and I even talked to Tanner about how I didn't understand why anyone cared about PR's and how I didn't want to end up in that trap. I promise I'm not lying about this but now all of that has changed of course.
You get sucked into the whirlwind of social media. Everyone is always chasing PR's. Everyone is always chasing Boston and after Boston it's just to take minute by minute off their times. We train every single week with tempos and speed workouts just in hopes of shedding just a tiny little sliver off of our times. There is nothing wrong with this. There is nothing wrong with getting better...at all. I just wish that sometimes it wasn't ALL about that. I wish people didn't feel inferior if they haven't made it to Boston or people like me who feel like if I do run at Boston, it has to be some new shiny PR.
If you see someone post their time and it's slower than their last marathon, there are people who are like "What happened? Are you okay? Are you happy with that?" You legit can't run a marathon without expectations and I've even heard from some that they are thinking about this during their marathon about what they will post to explain themselves. I just hate that.
When I started running, I wanted the personal best of going further. I didn't care about faster. I wanted to do more marathons and I wanted to do further distances because I loved running so very much (as we all know I still do). Now, I feel like I have to take adequate time off between them in order to pursue faster times, and that I need to make sure to do everything just perfect so that I don't get injured and miss valuable speed work time. If I have a bad day in Boston, well that's the only marathon that I have planned for this season so then it's a let down on pace. I say all this because I know that others feel this way as well, but honestly, I still don't care very much. I refuse to let pressures of pace come between my love of running. I like to get PR's if they naturally happen. I like to work really hard, but this is not my job, this is my hobby. I think we all have to remind ourselves of that and even though we should strive to be better every single day, we should love running first and foremost and let the rest of that silly fade from our minds.
Just like in weight loss, the less that you think about it, the more happy and successful that you are going to be. Put in the work each week. Do your speed work. Do your tempo runs, and do your long runs. Do your cross training and keep injury free by stretching. Just don't let it get to your head. Your journey is far different than everyone else's and that's the beauty of running. It is individual and shouldn't be competitive, but somehow of course we will make it competitive. haha! Just like in weight loss as well, you will get to a certain body frame and you will always find something wrong. Once you hit a certain pace in a marathon (My fastest is a 3:15 which I'm very very proud of), you feel you have to do even better than that. That's a tough act to follow, and I'd rather just enjoy myself in running then always chasing PR's! :) .... which is also why I'm excited that today I officially registered for my first 50k where no one really cares about times. haha! It's may 23rd! <3 <3