I have a terrible habit of comparing myself to others and an irrational fear of being judged.
Let that sink in for a second because even I recognize the irony in saying those two statements together.
While I’d like to think they come from an innocent place, these feelings are often so debilitating that I end up feeling down and out for days. In addition to a mess of other variables, I feel like part of my downfall in my last marathon was the brutal comparisons and judgement I passed on the runners around me in addition to myself. I trained for my first marathon by running intervals. Enter my irrational fear of being judged by the other runners around me and finding myself running straight through 15 miles, despite my training and despite the fact that I knew I would bonk at some point. I don’t want this to happen again.
After thinking on it for weeks, I think this is my entire reason for being nervous about the Richmond Marathon. For months I’ve been comparing myself to friends who are faster and stronger distance runners than I, thinking there’s no way I can ever be as good as they are. But that’s silly. I trained all summer for a 50K. I completed 4, 20 mile and up runs with my average distance sitting at 15. Physically, as long as I take these next couple weeks seriously, I’m ready for the marathon regardless of how long it takes me to finish. Mentally though, I’m not in a good place.
My friend Hayley is also running the race and will be starting a couple of corrals ahead of me. This will be her third marathon and it’s no secret she’s faster and stronger at this distance than I am. Even though I’m extremely excited to have her racing with me, I somehow feel a lessened self-worth in the way of my own skills, just knowing that she may realistically finish an hour before I do. But why?
It’s easy to compare oneself to others as a sort of cop-out for giving yourself credit where it’s due. Society has taught us not to verbalize our positive self-worth thoughts, that you will be considered arrogant for saying out right ‘I’m awesome, I know it, and there’s nothing you can do about it!’ This is such an incorrect stigma!
Positive thinking and positive self-worth are, most times, nothing more than being proud of who we are and what we do! I suppose my fear of being judged comes from not being comfortable with my level of awesomeness. Why should I care what anyone else thinks of me? If I want to skip and crawl my way through a marathon, then damnit I’m going to do it!
Here’s hoping I can channel that inner awesomeness and not take things too seriously. Besides, most of us run strictly for fun, right?