To be the champ- you have to believe in yourself when nobody else will-
I have relied on and believed in this quote throughout the last few years of my “running life”. While I will never be mistaken for an elite athlete, there is a certain truth to it as it relates to my personal abilities. I know that to reach my own potential there is a need to overlook the doubts and disbelief of others and look deep inside myself to push through a hard workout or distance competition. This has come relatively easy for me because I DO believe that hard work and mental toughness will carry the day when the time comes. And by believing in my abilities and accomplishing whatever goals I set- I will be the “champ”. While it is important to believe in oneself, I have learned that there are also times when self-doubt creeps in. It is in these times that others around can make the difference.
The response to the 50/50 run was amazing and overwhelming, not only because of the number of people that have been affected by cancer or the generous nature of people but also because SO MANY people did believe in me. Self-doubt really started to show up a few days before the race and I was starting to wonder if this was the time that I had finally jumped in too deep. With all the well wishes and encouragement coming in, I was really questioning my ability to go the distance. What if I failed? Honestly, I was scared that I would let everybody down and was kind of regretting telling so many people about the 50 mile race.
Things turned around on Friday afternoon as my wife relayed a conversation between her and my 7 year old son that took place that morning. They were discussing the upcoming 50 miler when he told her that, “He can do it. I know he can because my daddy doesn't quit.” This made me proud, obviously, but it also woke me up from my funk of self-doubt. Reflecting on his statement, I realized that he was not alone. Everyone involved in this journey had taken on the same attitude- I just hadn't realized it. I thought about all the messages received and understood that ALL of them were of the same tone. Not one even suggested or hinted a doubt or disbelief in my ability to complete the course. From friends, strangers and new friends made during the preceding week, the message was clear- you CAN do this. Talk about a motivation. This “duh” moment let me relax (somewhat) and brought things into focus. I had put in the hours and miles training- there was no way that I would not finish.
It is difficult and sometimes terrifying to “lay it all out there” and display your goals for others to see. For me, this makes it very difficult to dream up excuses not to follow through with an attempt. This accountability serves to push me in ways that are hard to explain. I will continue to rely on the notion that confidence and mental toughness are a necessary component of distance running- there is no doubt of the importance of these. But I will also carry with me the a “new” understanding. That when others believe in you and trust in your abilities- IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE and there is a reason they do. Sometimes I just need to look in the right place for that extra motivation and boost in confidence. Often it is hidden in plain sight.
This is how it works-
I love to run but there are times when I would rather not. This is when the voices start. Chants, name calling, guilt and reverse psychology is how they get me up and out the door. I don't really mind the voices and have actually started looking forward to their daily calls. Together we have formed a running club that supports, encourages and competes with each other. I love these peeps. They are much more experienced, talented and tougher than I am. Pushing me out the door, through the hard miles and up the monster hills when I am feeling lazy or want to give up. Some people have "real" training partners, coaches and support crews. My team is ALWAYS with me and helps me to keep my eye on the prize and not veer off the track. Sounds crazy- Yeah, probably is.........