Friday night I hopped in bed after a wonderful girls’ night out to dinner, set my alarm for 6:50 am, and drifted off to sleep. I was exhausted.
The next thing I know, I’m awoken by a nightmare and frantically checking the time on my phone. 4:30. Phew. You see, my dream was that I had overslept and completely missed my run. And I hadn’t just overslept a little. Somehow, (in my dream) I managed to sleep until 11:00 am
which we all know hasn’t happened since I was pulling all nighters in college. When I woke up (still in my dream), I was very confused. Once I realized that I overslept I became somewhat hysterical. I was sobbing uncontrollably and saying over and over, “I missed my run. I missed my workout. How could I have overslept?”
In real life, I don’t think that I would have been sobbing, had I overslept. But, I definitely would have been frustrated with myself. I had plans to meet “The Boston Girls”,
otherwise known as the super fast girls that I’m terrified to run with, for the first time that morning, which apparently had me worried enough to have a “nightmare.” Luckily, I didn’t oversleep and I made my 8:00 am meeting time.
The plan was to run a 2 mile warm up, then 8 miles at race pace, then a 2 mile cool down. I had never done that type of run before, but when you’re running with three girls who have all run Boston (and one is married to a professional distance runner), you pretty much just assume that their way is the way speed gets accomplished. So, I was game.
During the warm up we were chatting about the run, and I decided I should get specifics on the pace we were going to maintain for our 8 miles “at race pace.” I knew all of these girls were running the same marathon as me, with the hopes to qualify for Boston, like me, but I wasn’t sure what their exact goal pace was. Mine is 8:13 per mile. So, when I heard that two of them were going to be running at a 7:45 pace, and the other was going to be even faster than that, I had a moment of self-doubt. What in the heck did I just get myself into? I cannot run 8 miles at a 7:45 pace….
But, being the upbeat, hard working, determined girl that I am, I decided it was better to stick with my plan, than try someone else’s and totally bomb. So, I let the girls know that I’d be running at my pace, and I’d see them for the cool down.
I’m not sure why that was so hard for me, but it kind of was. I wanted to run with the fast girls. I wanted to stick with them. But, I really thought that if I tried to, and then couldn’t, it would crush my confidence. And there was no part of me that had any intentions of holding them back.
So, I ran my 8 “race pace” miles on my own. I could see them ahead of me for a good chunk of the time, and I ended up running all of my miles, except for 1, under an 8:09. That felt pretty stinkin’ good. And throughout my miles I thought about how I was “chasing” them, but not really. What I was really chasing was my own dream, and my own pace. I wanted so badly to get into a groove that I thought I could hold for 26.2 miles. I wanted to get to a point where that pace felt comfortable. But, on that day, it only felt comfortably uncomfortable. And now I’m left to question if that is the best it will ever feel. And if that is the best it will ever feel, how in the world will I maintain that for 26.2 miles?!
Ok. Deep breathes. As soon as we slowed it down for the last 2 miles, everything was right in the world again. And I felt like I could have easily sped it back up. And my legs were tired from the week’s workouts, and I had stayed up too late the night before… And so many other reasons why I wasn’t ready to run 26.2 miles at that pace yet. I still have 10 weeks left to train!!! I totally got this. Right?!
For now, I’m going to hold on to the fact that I was brave enough to run with the fast girls. And I was brave enough to do my own thing. And I know that being comfortably uncomfortable is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the only way to get better at anything!