- Want to finish a 70.3 even though you can't swim? Sure. Sounds great. I can always learn.
- Want to earn an Ivy League degree in three years? Why not? So what if that means never having a summer break.
- Want to run a marathon immediately after your first 5K? Of course, is there any other way to do it?
But, even though I am usually able to find and embrace mine, there are times when I get in my own way. In fact, it happens more often than you might think.
Over the years, I have become very aware of my strengths and I do everything in my power to play to them. And by doing so, it probably comes across that there isn't much I can't handle. Sure, I can juggle a million things that I'm comfortable with, but what about all those things that fall outside my comfort zone?
I'm positive that there are people out there who fear spiders or heights or water or wild animals. Most days, I wish I was afraid of something like that. But, I'm not.
What I fear more than anything else is not living up to my own (often times, outrageous) standards. My mind is my own worst enemy.
Do you know why I will try anything once? Because the first time I try something, I have no expectations. An attempt is a success. But, that second go round changes it all. Suddenly, I have a picture in my mind of what I can do or "should be" doing. Usually, I am able to reach that picture in my mind. I find my strengths and like always, I play to them.
But every so often, I position the bar so high that sometimes it's unreachable. Yet, rather than adjust that bar and cut myself some slack, I just avoid the situation. I get it in my head that it's better to go untested than to chance disappointing myself if I fail to meet my own standards. (Note: It's not lost on me that I can completely brush off what others might think of me, but at the same time I can be crippled by my own opinions. As absurd as that might be.)
That avoidance is the number one reason I haven't run a 10K since 2009.
It's not that I haven't been able to fit it in. It's not that I haven't wanted to run one. It's just that I don't think that I can live up to the standard in my own mind about what my 10K race should look like. And rather than test my theory, I just avoid it. It's easier that way.
But, I'm trying to stop taking the easy way out. When I mentioned to my wise running wife, G, that I needed to add a spring road race to my schedule she said, "Then run the 10K. If nothing else, it will give you a reason to run. Plus, you haven't run one in forever."
And you know what, she's right. It will force me to train to race and I haven't run one in so long that I don't really know what I'm capable of. Maybe it will suck and I'll blow up on the course. Or maybe everything will go perfectly and I'll shock myself. Ultimately, it really doesn't matter. When it comes down to it, I'm the only one who really cares. My friends and family aren't disappointed if I run slow. They only seek to support me in whatever I tackle. Now, all I need to do is figure out how to support myself.