Everything teaches you a little something something. I’m a firm believer that you can learn an immense amount from just the smallest thing. Analyzing your mistakes and your accomplishments will teach you a lot, whether it’s to let you know of recurring patterns in your approach to a number of things or even make you aware of reactions you have in scenarios that are part of both your best and worst days in your life.
I never stop saying how running has changed my life. Sure, I’ve gone through quite the struggles that have made me want to drop everything I’m doing and go running back down to the Sunshine State to live with my parents. But I refuse to do just that. And I think that even though my character is a huge reason of why I won’t just pack my bags again and leave is because of everything I’ve discovered about myself, other people and life as a whole, through each and every run.
So, as exhausted and hungry as I was after those 13.1 miles I stopped to think what I did to get there and what I needed to do to get better and go longer. So while the following are not the only things that are still running through my head, these are certainly the top five.
- I should run naked more often. No worries. I won’t force you to look at my boobs hitting my face or the belly jiggling. I meant, without tracking my miles. I still need my music but I can definitely run without Runkeeper telling me my pace or how many minutes I’ve been running for. A glitch on my phone just this week reminded me of how true it is that I run better when I’m focused on just running. It keeps you moving. I don’t know if I would’ve ran that whole first mile and some change non stop if I had a constant reminder that I was running. It makes you anxious and it’s harder to enjoy the run. Running just with my music was a good way of keeping my legs off the ground, knowing I didn’t want to go too slow but focusing on my body telling me what it’s pace was. I wasn’t forcing anything but I was pushing myself. This feels like I just repeated the same thing in different words but I can’t put it any other way. It feels like you’re able to connect with your body, feel it out, and push yourself mentally while continuing to do so physically.
- I’m stronger than I think I am. I had more than enough excuses to walk more or give up or not even set up a goal time or caring about whether or not I reached it. Knowing how to talk yourself into continuing and not giving up can be hard. You don’t want to be too easy on yourself but you also don’t want to feel like your worst enemy. You want to find that balance of authority and encouragement, where you tell yourself “You don’t stop unless you have to. And you don’t. So keep moving.” You have to know how to listen when you remind yourself “You trained for this. You ran those bridges and you ran in the morning and at night. Remember when you ran like a badass under pouring rain for 7 miles?! This is good weather. This is a flat course. You trained for more than this.” Running has increased my confidence by a million and I’ve learned to love my body so much that I don’t doubt it. Ever.
- I have mind powers. Quitting because you can’t bring your mind to remind you why you need to push harder is different than quitting because you feel like your body just can’t. It really just can’t anymore. Whenever my legs felt heavy, I’d keep running and tell myself to radiate that discomfort or pain upward so that I could feel it in my core. And that if I didn’t feel it in my core, then it wasn’t there. And the pain would subside. It would come back and I’d do it again, and goodbye pain. When my calf cramped up, all I remember was telling my calf it wasn’t going to make me walk the rest of the race, I told it I was running with it or without it. And that if it wanted to make me crawl, then so be it. And I was ready for that. Your mind can do anything. It’s time to “Bye Felicia” that pain. So, no, I can’t create shortcuts or slow other people down with my powers, but I can use my mind to overcome those little things called obstacles.
- Use the bathrooms on the other side of the course. I needed to use the first set I saw, but that line was too long, so I kept going. On the way back, because the course at a certain point repeats itself on the other side of the bridges, the potties are just on the other side of the road, with no line. Did I use them? No. I was close to mile 10 and knew I was going faster than ever so that would only break my groove. However, next time? Yes, definitely going to suck it up and wait till I’m on the way back and cross the road.
- I analyze my race pictures too much. It seems I don’t look like I’m dying when I run, which I find shocking. Because as much as I love to run, I usually feel like I’m slowly running out of breath by the minute. However, I don’t look great. LOL! I learned I need to focus on just a small smile, rather than opening my mouth and attempting to stick out my tongue. My peace signs are good and quite flawless, but I would’ve loved to see a picture where I don’t look like I’m screaming “Ahhhh!” Also, I’m not quite sure what this really means. Should I look like I’m miserable at the 12 mile mark? My friend says I looked happy. Which I was, of course. But is that a sign that I didn’t push myself hard enough and that I could’ve gone harder? I also like to look at my pictures to see how I land and which muscles push me off the ground. Do I have good running form? What do I need to improve? I really do analyze them. I will zoom in and out and move them around to figure out what’s going on. At least I didn’t look as bad as this guy. Haha!