Running Past My Fears

I’ve mentioned the running group I joined in order to train for the Bolder Boulder 10k on Memorial Day.  What I haven’t mentioned is that I’m the oldest in my group.  And the slowest.

We’re grouped according to our race day goals and so even though we all hope to run the 6.2 miles in less than 50 minutes, some of us in the Sub 50 group are more sub than others, if you know what I mean.

We do speed workouts on Tuesday evenings and over the past several weeks I began to lose focus of my personal goals because I was too busy comparing myself to the other runners.  Instead of listening to my body, I was watching everyone else.  In my defense, it’s pretty easy to fall into the comparison trap when you’re continually running behind people.

Epiphany!  I realized just thinking about the Tuesday night training was making me anxious and that I could do some of those speed workouts on my own.  For instance, last week I ran the tempo workout (intervals) on my treadmill at home and was pleased with my performance. 

Tonight’s workout is a three-mile time trial in which we’re supposed to go all out.

Ever since I learned about that time trial, I’ve been a nervous wreck.  Each time I thought of it my heart would race and I’d feel awful.  There was absolutely no way in hell I was going to do that run with the group.  Not only that, I also gave myself permission to skip the run if it was going to cause me too much stress. 

But just in case, I had Zippy use this handy tool to map out a three-mile course on the only two (mostly) flat streets in my neighborhood.

This morning I gave myself a talking-to complete with the declaration that all I really needed to do was run three miles and that it would  just be a bonus if I ran them speedy-quick.   No pressures.

Guess what?  I ran three miles!  Speedy-quick!

Three miles in my time.  Who cares how fast all those young things run tonight?  Not me. 


I’ve set a running goal for myself to place in the top fifteen in my age group this Memorial Day in the Bolder Boulder 10k.  I’m dedicated to making that happen; I participated in a winter training group and am now in a 10k spring training program.  I’m following the weekly workouts.  I have a coach available to answer questions and boost my morale when necessary.  I’m confident I’m going to reach my goal.

And now I’m trying to figure out how this whole confidence thing works.  The good thing about running is the results are objective; the clock doesn’t lie.  So when I’m running intervals until my lungs burn I try to remember that the pain is an investment in my 10k performance, and I push on through.  But it’s more difficult pushing myself in the writing life.  Lately as I work on revisions, it’s easy to falter and second-guess.  I know my writing has improved in the ten-plus years since I began my first novel but instead of measuring up against a stop watch, my performance is evaluated by editors.   So far I haven’t placed, much less in the top fifteen.

My hope is that as I continue to train, getting stronger and faster, my runner’s confidence will overflow into my writing life. 

“If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Revisions Accomplished!

Thanks for your kind words and empathy in reply to my post about losing hours of revision work.  I’m happy to say I got that work done (again) yesterday and while it was AWFUL at the start, I pushed on through to the other side.  Several friends commented that the revisions would be better this time around, and it’s really true.  My brain remembered much of what I’d done PLUS it saw ways to add layers of complexity to the story.  Which might explain why these revisions took several hours longer than the original.  I got done just in time for dinner last night (compliments of Zippy Ramone).

That’s not to say I wasn’t on the verge of tears several times or that I didn’t contemplate throwing myself on the floor for a full-blown temper tantrum or that I didn’t make sure Zippy understood exactly how difficult it was redoing the work. 

Notice I said “Revisions Accomplished” not “Revisions Accomplished Gracefully.”

Now I can move ahead!