“Completely” RAD: 7 Gems From My 7th Half Marathon
People always ask me if I ever run out of town races, and I’m like, “Yeah I run the Airbnb Brooklyn Half!” Inside joke for New Yorkers. No but seriously, I love traveling from my Harlem Central Park trails to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for some 13.1 fun. The energy is so RAD in Brooklyn and the course is by far my favorite. However the best part about running half marathon #7 on Saturday was I PR’d!!!!!
Running a sub 2:00 half marathon (official time was 1:55) has been a huge goal of mine for years, so once I made the connection that I was running my 7th half marathon during my 7th year in NY I wanted to PR this year especially. Not just to say that I could run a sub 2:00 (although that is pretty dope) but to say that I can “complete” anything I put my mind to.
Seven is the number of completion and to have completed such a goal is “completely” RAD. This bling didn’t come easy, but the life gems that this race provided have easily changed my life. So whether you’re a runner too or just “running” after a huge goal this year I hope this post inspires you to “complete” what you started.
#1 Completely Commit
Up until this training season I didn’t realize how much I say the word “just” when referring to my goals. “I’m just going to do a couple miles,” or “I’m just going to see what happens.” Maybe it is my indecisiveness in verbal form? I don’t know. But I do know that I caught myself in the very beginning on my training saying things like, “I’m just going to actually train this year,” or “I’m just going to focus on not getting injured,” and did not like it.
Yes these are great goals, but the word “just” screamed “limited” and not fully committed. So I had to change my attitude about my goal and own it by saying, “I’m going to PR this year.” At first this dream felt silly escaping my lips, because to be honest, I didn’t believe I could do it. However that “fake it until you make it” approach worked in my favor. By speaking things into existence we are actually really saying “I believe I deserve this.” So to witness the success that follows this practice I look forward to owning and speaking over other things I actually want to happen in my life next.
#2 Your Race, Your Pace
Key word, “my” life. Which brings me to the next gem…
As a fitness professional people always assume I am stronger, and in racing terms, faster than I actually am. So once I told people that I had never ran a half marathon under two hours they would look at me with this strange look of disbelief. I mean I was honored that they thought so highly of me, but other times I felt like, “man why haven’t I done this yet…” But then I had to change my attitude and remember, racing, like life is all about owning and staying in our lane. We have to be very careful to not let people’s perceptions and hopes for us affect our faith in ourselves. So no matter what you’re chasing in this life make sure you’re running after it on your terms. Your race, your pace.
#3 Trust Your Training
I really believe that if you truly want something it is already yours. However there is one condition- you’re going to have to work for it. And that is exactly what I did. I remember constantly telling myself this training season, “no excuses = no regrets.” Because no mater what, there is nothing worse than meeting an opportunity knowing that you could’ve done more, and there’s nothing better than meeting an opportunity knowing that you did your best. Confidence is earned and can only be developed during the preparation process. Your body will remember all the things you did for it during training and will in turn do so much for you on race day. Man this was a game changer, because there is so much I want to accomplish this year. Big time goals. So I’m grateful to have realized that the ease in racing and the ease in life both come from the confidence that we develop during the journey.
#4 Celebrate Before The Finish Line
Speaking of the journey, another valuable gem this PR gave me is: there is so much more to celebrate beyond the finish line. It is the little victories along the way that make the journey RAD. Meeting myself daily has been a constant mantra of mine this year, so when race day came I forced myself to not force anything. Instead I vowed to take it one step, one mile at a time. Remembering that every mile complete is a victory worth celebrating. Each and every mile I remember thinking, “I am so happy to be right here, right now, in this moment. I will never get be able to relive this 1st sub 2:00 moment, so I might as well enjoy it.” And enjoy it I did.
#5 Follow Your Gut
I am super sensitive, however the older I get the more I realize that my ability to feel is my greatest strength. Even if you can’t relate, you can probably agree that we are often told as adults to manage our feelings. And while this is helpful, sometimes doing so blocks our blessings. I feel like losing my mother has made me super guarded and in turn out of touch with my emotions. So in order to address this I used this training season to get back in touch with my gut. Literally and figuratively. In the literal sense, I focused on my core like crazy this training season. Planking every chance I got and adding pilates to my weekly workout mix both made my running game stronger. However in the figurative sense, I also trained my gut to reacquaint itself as the driving force in my life. In running that meant going back to running without music and in life that meant taking more “me” time. Embracing silence and stillness more than I ever has showed me that it is in our quite moments that we find peace. Our gut always knows what we need, it is therefore our job to create a space where we can hear it, feel it and then have the courage to follow it.
#6 Go Hard
And when you’re in touch with your instincts it is amazing what you can accomplish. I felt this shift specifically during my Precision Running workouts. Teaching this popular signature class at Equinox has made me not only a better instructor and runner, but a better person. All because it reminded me of the benefits of going hard. Losing my mother has shown me that it is in the hardest times that we become the strongest, so to experience this in running is very special to me.
Every single, not a few or a couple, but every single run I did in this class was hard. I hated this feeling at first, but as time went on and I came out on top of each and every hard run I realized that I craved this feeling. The feeling of accomplishment that toughing it out provides truly made me stronger overall. So while I had no idea how fast I was running during my long runs outdoors on the weekends, I knew I was working hard because my body had become accustomed to being hard core during hard workouts. The best part being that I now desire to be this type of person period: someone who is not afraid of “hard” stuff.
#7 Anxiety Is the Ultimate Dream Killer
Lastly, speaking of no fear, this training season has also taught me that it’s never as bad as it seems. I’m going to keep it real, I am naturally an anxious person. And while I know that worrying adds absolutely nothing to a situation it’s hard to not let anxiety dictate my decisions. However reminding myself that it instead robs an experience of it’s potential RADness is the truth that helps me find the balance. In fact during this training season I was surprised that many situations that “appeared” to be bad ended up being super RAD.
For instance my longest run happened to be when I discovered I was running a PR speed, and also happened to be on the coldest and rainiest day of my training. Had I let those circumstances affect me I would’ve never realized I was able to run double digit miles under nine minutes. This aha moment hit me hard and the memory never left my spirit. So much so that when Weather.com said it was going to rain on race day I remember literally feeling unaffected. Telling myself that no matter what happens on May 21st I was going to PR. I had worked too hard and wanted it too bad to let any form of anxiety stand in the way of this goal. So yeah, totally keeping this attitude as I move on to conquer those other 2016 goals.
Along with a memory that is “completely” RAD.
Thank you half marathon seven for this feeling of “complete” bliss.