I wish I had the perfect answer to these questions. But I don't... Not even close. Finding ways to live with grace, even amidst disappointment, is really and truly part of my journey in life. I would like to think that I have learned and grown at living more gracefully, but I also know, many of those lessons have come the hard way.
This past weekend I had my first real experience back at racing in quite some time. It was the first race since I had begun to string together some solid time training; workouts, long runs, 40 mile weeks... I was nervous for the race long before I should have been. I was hesitant and I doubted my ability. I lacked the confidence I should have had, and I lacked the guts I needed to put it out on the line. After some honest reflection, I put myself in this frame of mind because I was afraid to be disappointed after so much effort. It's ironic to me because I had literally just finished three days of parent-student-teacher conferences where I looked students in the eye and confidently convinced them that risk and failure create bold opportunities for growth. Why couldn't I follow my own advice?
I approached the start line this weekend with a hesitant enthusiasm. I wanted to be in the game, but I was afraid to step to the line (especially in my newly donned Oiselle jersey... where I wanted to represent the team proudly and successfully). I was afraid to commit. I can honestly say that I pushed myself as hard as I could around Greenlake on Sunday. But when I finished I was discouraged, let down, fatigued, and worn out. I kept wondering how this could happen again. Why did I struggle to find success even when I had been pouring my heart into running 7 days a week? Why was it so hard to race well even when the joy of running was keeping me awake at night sometimes? Why was the one thing I cared about so deeply such a cause of frustration?
.... Because I was afraid to let myself find what I was capable of accomplishing ....
Even though I pushed myself as hard as I could on Sunday, it wasn't my best. By far. It wasn't my best because I wasn't ready to put my best out there yet. I wasn't ready to let myself feel vulnerable and to set a goal. Even though I have my own personal goals engrained in my head (and I have for years), I wasn't ready to put them out there just yet.
Well... lesson learned - the disappointment came anyway.
Crossing the finish line was hard on Sunday. I knew that I was no where near finishing in a time that I know I was capable of reaching. But I chose to find my inner grace and cross the line anyways (not that this was ever really a question... but metaphorically speaking). I gave myself five minutes to feel sorry for myself, and then I realized sulking about a bad race wasn't worth it. Rather, I knew I should be celebrating in the joy of my teammate who rocked it on the course and came away with a victory. Fighting the conflict of sulking around or living with grace, I tried to choose grace on Sunday, and I hope I continue to do so throughout my journey.
So... here there are. My running goals:
- 5k: 19:30
- 10k: 44:00
- 13.1: 1:29:00