When I was growing up I wasn’t an athlete. I tried many different sports including soccer, hockey, baseball, and softball. I was never the best on any team I played on, but I enjoyed being part of a team and trying to get better. I didn’t find running until I was an adult. I can still remember doing my own version of a couch to 5K plan by running between bridges on the 9 Mile Creek Trail and then walking again. Eventually I was running the whole time, not walking at all, and I was hooked. I can still remember running 4 miles without stopping and without being winded. That feeling is something I will probably never replicate, but breaking 2 hours in a half marathon two years ago came pretty close (oddly finishing my 2 marathons did not give me anywhere near the same feeling). Despite the fact that I have two active kids, work full time, and have lots of other responsibilities I can still make the time to push myself to get better. In the last few miles of that half marathon 2 years ago, I almost let myself give up. It was getting harder to maintain my goal pace, and I had stopped to walk through a water stop and didn’t want to run again. I made the decision that I wasn’t going to come *this close* again and just let it slip me by, so I didn’t. I sucked it up, and I let myself be awesome. It didn’t matter that I didn’t come close to winning any sort of age group award in that race, I had earned a mental victory.
I was out running this weekend, and I started to feel self doubt creep in as I took a walk break, doubt that I could be fast again. Then I realized what I was doing, a common pattern for me, I was giving myself an excuse not to try. In my own self-preserving way I was giving myself an easy out, doubting enough so that I wouldn’t really try, and therefore wouldn’t fail. This year I was supposed to put myself into running again (self imposed goal), but I haven’t. It is much easier to sit on the sidelines and tell yourself that you can’t, than it is to put in the necessary work and give it a real try. The reality is that I might not break 2 hours again this year, but I certainly won’t even come close if I don’t try. I know that the self preserving part of me is there for a reason. It tries to protect me from failure, even though it often causes me to settle for mediocrity. I’ve made a promise to myself now, a promise that whenever I feel that self-doubt creep in, and that desire to let myself be mediocre because it is easier, I will remember to be awesome.
I see myself settling for mediocre in other areas of my life too. At work it can be easier to complain about the things I can’t control, rather than to put everything I have into the things I can control. That usually leaves me feeling like something is missing, like I am coasting along and not really challenging myself. I’m also carrying around about 10 pounds more than I want to, and not because I don’t know how to lose that weight. I settle for good enough in this aspect of my life too. Losing these 10 pounds would be easy if I would just get out of my own way. Excelling in my career should be easy too. I get lots of professional accolades that I dismiss, or explain away because I don’t feel like I have truly earned them. In many ways, my self-preservation is harming me, and holding me back. I’m posting this on my long neglected blog, because I want the reminder of what I can do and what I can be. Will I allow myself to keep settling for good enough, or will I remember the awesome that is inside me? I plan to strive for the awesome, and learn from my failures along the way.