Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pursue the Uncomfortable...Even if You Fail

"If you're achieving all your goals, you're probably not setting a high enough standard for yourself."
~Shalane Falanagn on the Lindsey Hein Podcast

In February 2016, I watched the Olympic Trials in my living room and I wanted in.  I looked up the qualifying standards and thought that they were ridiculously impossible.

I was training for a 3:15 at Boston that year.  I didn't get it.  Crash and burn.  My marathons had stalled out at the 3:25-3:30 area and maybe that was what my max was.

Except that I hadn't really allowed myself to fully commit to do the work to get faster.  My prep for every marathon was half-assed in some way.  Either I limited myself to how many days I was running (and therefore limited mileage), or I limited myself by skipping workouts that I didn't feel like doing.

What would happen if I actually showed up...did the work?  In training for Cellcom Green Bay in spring of 2017 - I found out.  I could drop 14 minutes off my PR and feel good for the race.  So good that I could finish and know that I could do more.

My coach said the words, "Olympic Trials" in a discussion and that brought it back to my head...."What if...."

Yeah but.  I have a job.  I have a family.  That is a lot of time to drop.

So I put a qualifier on going for it.  Let's get to a sub-3 marathon before really allowing myself to think OTQ.

I knew I could do the work - I chose the same plan that got me to Cellcom and just upped the paces.  The workouts were hard...but I was finishing them.  A sub-3 scared me but deep down I knew I could do it.  Every hard workout this spring I was thinking of breaking 3 at the finish line and that got me through.  In my gut, I wanted the OTQ but I was convincing my head that sub-3 was the ultimate goal.

Still, I was afraid to go for it on race day.  Thank God for the people who texted, messaged, or told me to my face: "GO FOR IT."  It took me two miles of hem hawing at the beginning of the race but I went for it...and got it.  Just like I saw myself doing during all of those early morning practices.

Now I have no excuse for limiting my goal.  I made myself prove that I could get here and I did it.

My mantra for 2018 was to purse the uncomfortable.  I'm sure by now you've seen my godawful race photos.  You can bet I was pursuing the uncomfortable in that race.  In examining a lot of the stories I have been telling myself to date, I realized that I was seting goals I knew I could achieve. I don't like to fail (no matter now many "fear of failure" quotes I write down in my journal) so I set goals I can achieve. I do this in running, and I do this at my job.  When I achieve these goals, they feel good...but there is always this very small voice saying, "This is not it."

So I'm jumping in.  Going public with the dream that began 2 years ago.  I want to run in the Olympic Trials Marathon in February 2020 in Atlanta.  I am a strong believer in omens and when Atlanta won the bid for the trials, it was another sign.  I lived in Atlanta during a pivotal time in my life.  I went to grad school there - I met my running coach there.  I have besties that still live there.

Maybe this is the goal that I don't get.  I'm willing to fail.  It's time to really pursue the uncomfortable...well, at least it will be in two weeks when training starts again, ha ha ha.

Card by Emily McDowell Studio


  1. Big hugs! So excited for you!

  2. Ahhhh I am SO excited for you!!!!!! Rock this goal just like you did the sub-3 at Grandma’s. You inspire me because honestly I’m stalled out in the 3:30/3:25-ish half-ass training land. I’m okay with it for now but I know there has to be more. I’m proud of you for going all in!

  3. I love your passion and your willingness to take risks! Best of luck to you, Amy.

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