WORTH THE RISK? // FIGHTING SELF-DOUBT
The very minute you’re asking yourself, “is this worth the risk?”, is the minute your self-doubt will start to kick in.
It’s the minute you go from cool, calm, and collected; to anxious, overwhelmed, and terrified. Your drive to be (and do) the best that you can be conflicts the logical, sensible side of your brain. And, that’s where the real work begins. Hard work. Because, let’s face the facts: What is running without a little risk and some self- doubt from time to time. The risk is pretty much a guarantee, especially if you’re going to be running outside at any point. And, although the self-doubt might appear optional, it’s always going to be there…lingering in the back of your mind. Just waiting for the most inopportune moment to rare it’s ugly head.
I thought I was doing myself a favor yesterday, going outside and braving the chilly+windy conditions for a walk on my rest day. It seemed like the perfect way to prepare for Sunday’s (today’s) long run and heavy leg day. Plus, I was dying to test out my newest running/working out playlist. So, I was more than a little bit surprised when I took this morning on my long run, only to discovered that my legs were exhausted. Heavy. No where near as fresh as I’d expected them to be. They felt, shiny splinty (if that’s even a legit word).
As with any typical long run, I assured myself before running one single step that I WOULD take things slow, and ease into the run with a relaxed pace.
This really wasn’t all that hard, considering how off and sore my legs felt. I had a lot of iffy moments during those first several miles. Moments that, now looking back, probably should have swayed me to run a more realistic difference than the one I ended up doing. In fact, when my left shin was on fire less than a mile in, and I was terrified of either a. having a stress fracture or b. my shin bone popping right out of my leg, I probably should have just decided right then and there to run straight to the gym in the shortest distance possible. But, no. Sunday’s are for long runs and all 4 of my previous runs this week have been GOOD. So, why on earth should this run be any different?!?
I pushed on, with the hope that at some point my legs would just give in and accept the fact that “we” were running a long distance, even if it wasn’t the original 6 miles that I had planned on. Naturally, when I hit the 4 mile mark (not feeling much better than I had at the start of the run), I made the decision to go for 5 miles. That was close enough to my distance goal that my ego wasn’t going to take too much of a hit. So, when I was running my usual final lap on my normal long run route, and noticed that the road was blocked off, I panicked. Luckily, I saw this blockade from far enough away that I had a good 20 or 30 seconds to consider my options.
Option 1: Accept defeat and run back to the gym…aka run less than 5 miles.
Option 2: Somehow re-engineer this route to get 5 miles without running on said road
Option 3: Assume that the road is probably just as shitty/messed up as it was on Friday and just run on it.
At the time, the risk definitely seemed worth the reward…even though it was dark out and my legs weren’t feeling the best.
Once, I actually got onto the road and realized exactly how crappy the conditions were…it seemed a little more risky; but not “too risky.” By the time I finally hit the 5 mile mark and had a minute to actually look back on that choice, I decided that yes, it was indeed worth the risk. I have spent far too much time and energy changing+rearranging my route(s) over the years to accommodate for injuries, traffic, distance, and sketchy areas. The absolute last thing I was going to do, was change things AGAIN for something that wasn’t even that big of a deal.
After finishing my slowest and riskiest run of the week, I decided to just keep the momentum going. If I had the courage (some may call it stupidity, which is totally fine) to run on a semi-closed road, why not have the courage to lift some incredibly heavy weight with no one to spot me (not that I ever have someone spot me anyways. And you know what, it WAS SO WORTH IT. I was able to hit a PR on back squats with 205 pounds for a single, and then hit 145 pound for barbell RDL’s. While this super fun, super epic PR filled lift didn’t make up for how non epic and mediocre my run was, it did make me feel just a little bit better about myself…and push away the self-doubt momentarily.