It’s October 20th, 2019. That date is important to me for two reasons.
The first reason is because today the Rock n Roll Denver half marathon was run. It is a race I love. I ran my first half marathon there two years ago. I ran 1:20:15, which at the time I did not think I was capable of. To this day, that race is one of the races I’m most proud of. I think that race really started my post collegiate running career and made me think I was capable of still running great races after college.
I went back to Rock n Roll Denver last year and recaptured some of the magic. I ran 1:19:54, after what I felt was lackluster training. I hurt real bad the final three miles but was able to lay it all out there and walked away with another result I was proud of.
Today, I did not run Rock n Roll Denver. I was disappointed when I made that decision and I’m disappointed now as I write this. If you asked me two months ago, I would been shocked I did not run this race. Even two weeks ago, I thought I was running this race.
However, as the day approached, something felt off. Something that had been lacking. I’m not talking about fitness or training. Something felt off mentally and emotionally. So as race day approached, I decided to call it off.
It’s terrifying for me to admit this but I figured out what has been off with me. I did not want to hurt. Running and in particular racing really hurts and you have to want to hurt to be successful and to walk away from a race proud of your effort.
For some reading this, not wanting to hurt probably sounds pretty logical. But it is not logical for a runner. And I’ll tell you what, so much of identity is built around being a runner. So not wanting to hurt is a tough feeling.
As someone who has always believed that running exposes the truest versions of our humanity, admitting that I was avoiding hurt meant admitting failure. It meant admitting that I was not being tough.
At the end of summer, one of the quotes I wrote about was “The more we expose ourselves to complete annihilation, the more we can discover the unbreakable parts of humanity.” Running and racing gets to complete annihilation and at that moment the runner finds the unbreakable humanity buried deep within.
The thing is my humanity feels breakable right now. My humanity feels like a twig that could be snapped at any second.
That is what is hurting me right now. And that’s why I did not race today. I knew if i raced today, there would come a moment where I had to confront the challenge in front of me, and I would have run away like a coward. I knew that no matter how fast I ran today, even if I ran a personal best, I could not run a race that I was proud of. Because I knew that I could not bring the best version of myself to that race.
If I’m being completely honest, this has been true of my running for the past eight months. Ever since I ran my first marathon, something has been lacking. Every time I have lined up to race, I have not been able to bring the best version of myself.
So what do we do moving forward? That’s the second reason why today’s date is so important to me. October 20th, 2019 is officially six months from the Boston Marathon (April 20th, 2020). I’ve already gotten into the race and am excited about it.
I was reading a post on Strava this week titled “The Anatomy of a PR”. And one quote particularly struck me.
“The PR necessitates that they run just for themselves.”
To me, I have not been running for myself for a while and that’s why I have not been proud of any race I ran. I was not ready.
The goal for Boston and the next six months is to get back to being ready to run for myself. It’s going to be an uphill battle, and one that I am hoping to share with you all.
Six months from now in Boston, I plan on facing complete annihilation and running a race I’m fucking proud of.