That Time I Totally Chickened Out

So last night I was supposed to join Mike at his running club’s weekly track workout… but as the title of this post suggests I totally chickened out at the last minute. I sometimes feel like as a runner, I don’t quite fit in. I would consider myself a “serious runner”, but I am not fast. I kind of chuckle when I read blogs by other runners and they’re like “I ran SO SLOW it was like an 8:00 minute mile”. That would be REALLY fast for me. I thought it was a huge victory to run 9:30 minute miles. I know I’ll continue to improve as I continue running, but some of it is just how my body is made. I am not that fast. I feel really confident about myself as a runner approximately 99% of the time. Yesterday was that 1%.

Mike says that joining the running club increased his love of running (especially the marathon distance) exponentially. He typically meets up with the club on Saturday mornings for long runs, and, most recently, Wednesday evenings for track workouts. I joined him for the Saturday long runs several times over the winter / spring, while I was marathon training. Unfortunately, it’s typically only the “hardcore” runners that come out in the winter, and “hardcore” runners are fast… way faster than me (even though I still think I’m pretty hardcore). I was routinely the slowest person in the group. That didn’t bother me TOO much (ok it bothered me a LOT on my first run with the group but I had a good little pep talk with myself over my 12 mile run and it helped) because after a while I would just be on my own, running my pace, and enjoying my morning. The group gave me the external motivation to get up and get running by a certain time and variety in my routes, which is what I was looking for.

It seemed only natural that I would also join Mike for the Wednesday night track workouts. I have been trying to work more on speed, so I thought it would be good. But then I was thinking about it yesterday and I started FREAKING OUT. I was having flashbacks to pre-season training for field hockey in high school (as you’ll recall, I was very overweight and running was completely humiliating), imaging a coach yelling at me and fast people finishing first to watch and laugh. I also realized that if I was the slowest person in the group, there would never be a time when I would be alone. The fast people (including my boyfriend) would just be passing me again and again and again. Suddenly, I felt very tired and really wanted a nap. I didn’t end up going.

Yesterday was a good reminder to me that it doesn’t matter how many races I’ve run, how many medals I have, or how many new PRs I’ve set, confidence comes from within. Next week I’m going to that track workout, and I am going to face my demons. I have to remind myself that most of the time when you think people are laughing at you, that’s you projecting your insecurities (and the other times, those people suck! So forget them). I will also remember that there is value in continuing to struggle. We all have insecurities and denying that they exist isn’t any healthier than wallowing in them.

I’d love to hear from others… what’s your biggest insecurity, and how do you work to overcome it?

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