Recently I have been feeling particularly defeatist regarding the half marathon I am signed up to in May. I have about 5 weeks left to train and I feel nowhere close to ready. Part of it is the fear that I won’t finish at all. Part of it is that, despite everything I said in my last post about it, I am scared that I won’t finish fast enough to satisfy my own perfectionism. I want to do well and it is hard to see that “to do well” doesn’t necessarily mean “to run fast.” I am finding it really difficult to see past the fact that I certainly won’t do as well as I did in the Royal Parks Half (1:41:47), nor even the Southend Half (1:47). My pacing is off; my stamina is down. Worst of all, my ankle remains injured and that injury remains my own fault. I am feeling down on myself. Yesterday, I went to get my gait analysed and I have gone from a perfectly neutral gait, to a gait in which my left foot is pronating pretty seriously. Hence, from perfect barefoot trainers to cushioned, supportive trainers. Not a big deal, one might think, to have to change the type of trainers one wears. And indeed, it’s not a big deal. After all, they’re just shoes. But standing there, looking at my preferred type of trainers in their various colours, I felt an overwhelming sadness that I won’t get back my natural running style, that I might never be as fast again.
Logically, I know that there is no “winning” a half marathon. There is finishing- be that walking, jogging or speeding along the road- and there is giving up. I’m not a person who gives up easily. If I were, there would be a lot of things I would have given up on. My degree, my Masters, my running altogether. Right now I would be nowhere in particular. I wouldn’t be pushing myself to run, wouldn’t be buying trainers at all, neutral or not. I know, in my heart, that I am not a quitter.
So why do I feel like this? I think all people have it to some extent, that competitiveness within themselves that doesn’t allow for doing less than they are used to. That desire to win, even if only against the shadow of something they used to be able to do. Of course, I can’t speak for all people, but I can’t imagine it’s only me.
I need to pull it together, need to understand that I am good enough, even if “good” for me now means something different to what it meant before. I need to apply the same optimism and endurance to this half marathon, that I apply to other areas of my life. Despite not being a quitter, I can be a defeatist. I see hurdles and I assume that they are insurmountable. Sometimes I feel like not trying is the safest way of not failing. I sell myself short. But I realise I need to try because failure lies in not giving it a go. If I don’t give this a go, I will forever feel that I have failed at it.
I can’t give myself a fair chance, unless I try…