Running. Lifting.Blogging. and LiviNG lIFE IN THE hAWKEYE sTATE!!!



    I had every intention of blogging after yesterday's spectacular run. 

    I was all set to craft a blog post centered around how being the best version of yourself *usually* requires you to step WAY outside of your comfort zone. And how, since Tuesday, I have been pushing myself to do that more often in my work outs as well as in life in general. I was going to touch on how immensely difficult it was to not only go out and socialize for 2+ hours on Tuesday night...but also how hard it was to then get up on the 4th and run 2.5 miles hungover. 

    All of it was completely outside of my normal routine. I was filled to the brim with anxiety.

    I don't normally mix beer + wine on a Tuesday night...or even think about going into the bars when they're super croweded (aka full of people you know but haven't see in forever). And believe me...I was thinking of a thousand and one excuses all day on Tuesday on why I couldn't go out and enjoy the 4th of July festivities that night. It was too hot out. There were going to be way too many people. I was tired. I didn't really need to sample all of the wine/beer selections. A night spent in bed watching Netflix sounded so much more appealing.

    Well, I somehow was able to get myself over all of those lame excuses and out the door at 4:15 pm. And, surprisingly enough, it wasn't awful or a completed disaster like I had expected. In fact, it was even sort of "fun" to go around talking to people and trying out coffee flavored beer. Now, obviously waking up and nearly puking during my workout on the 4th was not fun at all. It was absolutely horrible and made me regret not drinking any water when I got home at 7 pm the night before. 

    Today, I got completely outside of my comfort zone during my run.

    I really pushed myself every step of the way. Even when I was so tired and struggling so much mentally that I wanted to cry. To stop along the side of the road and just lay in the grass for a few minutes and ask myself why on earth I thought I was capable of running 13.1 miles when I'm struggling to mentally/physically handle 7. I was so so close to walking so many damn times it was pathetic. The only thing that kept me going, was reminding myself of how much I needed this run. How good I would feel when it was done and I had left it all on the pavement. Every ounce of sweat and strength I had in me.

    I found myself struggling more than usual during those first 3 miles or so. Especially on the hills and at the start of lap 2. The funny thing is, you can't even tell that looking at my splits. I can vividly remember getting extremely discouraged when I was running up a hill at like the 1.5-2 mile mark and I could hear just how heavy I was breathing. In that moment all I could think about was how much easier running would be if I weighed 10 pounds less If I just took 8 or 10 weeks to cut seriously and focus on my nutrition. 

    Yes, I was riding the struggle bus hard there for awhile, it felt like I was running through quicksand. Like, no matter what I did, I just couldn't get it together.

    Thankfully, after lap 2 and going into lap 3, I got just the push of motivation I needed to finish strong. I was super pissed that their was a train....and that I couldn't enjoy taking a break waiting for it to pass through because I still had to make another loop below the tracks before I headed back towards the gym. I was pumping my arms like crazy, running as tall as I possibly could, and somehow still felt like I was going nowhere. 

    Suddenly, just when I was debating how badly I really need to get in 7 miles today, someone I know drove past me waving their arm like crazy. And it that moment, I had all the energy, all the motivation to run a dozen more miles. So, running another 2.5ish miles to get 7 was no problem at all. I believed in myself and my running abilities more than I have in several months. I just kept telling myself that if I cut this run short I would be letting that person down who took the time to wave and offer me an encouraging smile at a time when I really needed it.

    Today, just like Tuesday, I was somehow able to pull it together and be the best version of myself.

    It wasn't easy or pain free, that's for sure! But, it was so worth it in the end. And, it really struck a chord with me when it comes to my own comfort zone (both in regards to running and social situations). My running comfort zone has pretty much revolved around running smart/safe for so long this summer, that I had almost forgotten what it felt like to run really fast for a really long time. Heck, this is the fastest 7 miles I have ran since APRIL 29TH!!!! My average pace was 9:32.

    Yeah, it sucked a lot for the majority of the time. However, just being able to mentally push myself to get outside of my comfort zone for 66 minutes and 45 felt envigorating. It made me remember why I fell in love with running in the first place. Because, it gives me the opportunity to do something that used to feel impossible, that still feels impossible some days. And, as I reflect on today's run, I can't help but feel like I need to step outside of my comfort zone a bit more.

    Sure, convincing yourself to run harder and faster when you're already struggling to hold your current pace and breathing heavy is a challenge. Anyone who's ever run even just down the block can atest to that. For me though, that's a piece of cake compared to convincing myself that socializing with people who I don't know all that well isn't scary. Because, it is honestly the scariest thing in the world for anyone like me who is an introvert. The odds are always going to be super high that you're going to say something stupid and/or get ultra nervous...which obviously increases the odds of saying something stupid.

    So, you just avoid saying anything at all. It's clearly not the smartest choice...but it is the safer/more comfortable choice.


    They fence you in and honestly make life sorta boring at times. Sure, they can be helpful and prevent you from doing especially dumb or dangerous stuff. But, more often than not, they hold you back. Keep you from trying new things and reaching your goals. So, I am going to step outside of my comfort zone more often. I am going to have more fast/hard runs like today's. And, I guess give this whole "being social" thing a go. Despite the fact that I really, really would rather not do that.