October 5, 2009

This One's for the Girls

The Girls 1998

The Girls 2001

The Girls 2004

The Girls 2009

When people talk about love at first sight, I can totally relate. Twelve looonng years ago, Jenn, Joy, and I were placed together by fate. On Day One of college, we became inseparable. It was a friendship that all girls dream of having. Secrets, jokes, fun times, sad times, arguments, and late talks surrounded parties, studying, nighttime munchies, and shopping. We quickly became the best of friends. Through the ups and downs of the past 12 years, the friendship remained solid.

Okay, that last sentence was a major understatement. These girls are the sisters I never had. No matter the distance, the time past, the events of our lives, the closeness remains. No one knows me like they do. It's a friendship so strong that words cannot even do it justice.

You're probably wondering why in the world I am talking about this. Well, this past weekend, Jenn and I drove from Birmingham to Nashville to surprise Joy for her big 3-0 birthday. It was this fabulous visit that led to, what I call, the Birmingham Blues. Any time I visit my old pals, I get so sad. I realize how blessed I am to have this friendship. I know many gals that will never experience the friendship I have experienced; many cannot even imagine friendship so close. What's sad is the distance. Oh, the distance. It is the reason that I am a Birmingham Gal at heart. What's even sadder is that we've lived here for almost 5 years, yet Birmingham STILL feels like home. I can not tell you how many tears have been shed on I-65 during that 3 hour trip. It all boils down to the friendship, and how I'm really missing out. I have lots of good friends here, all of them are very nice and lots of fun. It's just not the same. My Girls' shoes aren't filled. This sadness carried into my Monday, looming like a black cloud.

I haven't even been able to get excited about the marathon. I know, I need psychiatry. Actually, I've been to counseling, and it didn't really do a darn thing. The marathon and missing the girls are two funky feelings combined into one big downer. For some reason, I am already feeling defeated by the marathon and I haven't even run the race yet! Why do I feel this way? I have dissected my feelings into a few main reasons:
1. I have no race time to support a Sub 3.
2. I am tired.
3. I want to cry. (Okay, part of this might be hormones. Let's hope so, at least.)
4. I don't feel PR ready.

Jenn, the wisest of all the people I know, actually knows me better than I know myself. Talking to her is like talking to myself, only she's WAAAAYYY smarter. She's one of very few I will take serious advice from. I can also count on her to tell me the truth, even if it is painful. These conversations are always in my best interest, this goes without saying. Jenn said something to me in the car that has really stuck in my head. (She said lots of smart things, but one REALLY stood out.) It wasn't even about running, but it definitely applies here. She asked me, "B, who are you afraid of disappointing, other people or yourself?" I would like to think other people. Who am I fooling, though? No one really cares. I am my worst judge.

I am afraid of disappointing myself. I'm so afraid, that I am almost afraid to try. I'm scared of failure. With all that being said, and all these crazy emotions flying, I still haven't nailed down a goal pace. I honestly don't know if I will, or even can. So much of this training already feels in vain. In fact, this whole year feels that way. It's like a battle that can't be won.


  1. Anonymous10/05/2009

    going to throw your comment right back atcha: great post. i hope that in a few years i can have the same experiences with my college gfriends. something special there :)

    i'm my own worst critic too so i can empathize. but deep down i know that this "battle" can be won. i have faith in you and am sending huge ass good vibes your way :)

  2. Anonymous10/05/2009

    R, R, R....

    This might sound tough love but I'm going to say it anyway...

    You're the ONLY person who can change this attitude around, no one else can do it for you.

    You need to DIG deep w/in yourself and ask of yourself how bad you want this--granted if the weather is a crap shoot then nothing you can do but give what you can.

    Don't you realize, we ALL have doubts about ourselves?? Hell, to be honest when I go into a race, I have NO IDEA how I will do--seriously I really don't, in fact I never paid much attention to my previous races or what it predicted for me, I just went and did it and gave my ability. Granted, looking back at some races I could have done things differently, but that is where you try to look back and learn from it---EXPERIENCE--which you certainly have more of then me...

    You are WAY too hard on yourself, R--you have so much talent and work so hard, why not let it go on race day? Meaning, the homework is done, be confident w/in yourself in saying you will do the best you can....

    You wonder why I try to be so DAMN positive in my life? B/c I grew up having a parent telling me, 'you will never succeed, you are too stupid, you're ugly" I could go on and on...but instead I've taken these negative 'energy' all my life and proven otherwise by 'succeeding' in my life today either through achieving the best I can or believing that I CAN...

    R, I WANT you to do well and I KNOW you can in reaching your goal---JUST BELIEVE! Get rid of the negative!

    My best running quote of all times: "Once you're beat mentally, you might as well not even go to the starting line." by Todd Williams

    Now, prove us wrong, R and go out there on Sat. and BELIEVE in yourself and go after your goal..

    Wishing you good weather and a PR.

  3. It is so great that you are still close to your college friends. I am like that with two gals from way back in 8th grade. I can trust them with ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!

    Hey, you really just need to sit back and take a good long look at yourself and know that nothing in life really matters as long as you are a good person (which you are). Everything else is just a plus. :)

    Have faith in yourself, regardless of what others might think. It's easier said than done because I hate disappointing people too... and I'm always disappointed in myself. But I try not to be, and so should you!

    You are what you are and you'll give what you can give, and if they don't like it... who needs 'em anyway?!

    Hugs. You're going to do just fine!!!

  4. That is so wonderful that you have such great girls. It is a rare thing to find that.

    I'm not even close to your league so I'm of no use on the running advice. All I can speak to is the choice to look at something and dwell on the worry or to focus on the great parts. We all have self doubts, but it how much you focus on them that could be dampering, especially when you are plugging away at a marathon. If I were as talented as you this is what I would focus on and replay in my head over and over:
    * I am a talented runner, I'm in the top of my division.
    * I work hard for this and today I get to show off. (I'm a ham so this works for me.)
    * I want to show myself how strong I really am.
    * I have worked so hard for this and my reward is my strength.
    * I am lucky to have such amazing strength and legs to run on. Thank you God for the opportunity to celebrate my health and demostrate my strength.

    It may sound cheesy, but that's the thoughts I would keep in the front of my mind when I think about the race and race day. Running happy and strong is so important. These are the memories you will keep forever and really to me race day should be the chance to put your love for yourself and all of your passion out on the road. The same love and devotion you show for your girls needs to be spent thinking about yourself in the same way.

    I think you are SO amazing!! And I'm so glad that you share your thoughts and talents with the rest of us out here. We are all here for you!


  5. Well, I don't really have anything to add that hasn't been said better above...so I'd just like to echo those wise comments. All I know is you've put in a phenomenal training cycle and I think great things are possible.

  6. Reading your post makes me so sad for you. Obviously I don't know you in real life, but from your blog and RW it seems like you have so much going for you- great friends, a husband who loves you, a good (or at least stable) job, and you're a great (if not sub 3 yet) runner, and you just can't see it. I would encourage you to try counseling again. Just because you don't mesh well with one or two doesn't mean you won't find one who can help.

    I think you're going to find that you're trying to force your way through a wall, and it'll only be when you take a step back that you can see the way around the wall.

    Best of luck to you this weekend. You'll be in my prayers.

  7. Oh, you great girl, I just wanna send a bunch of hugs through the interwebs for you. It's crazy how we put these goals up, totally our own doing, and then feel like we've blasted it on NBC "ANNOUNCEMENT AT 7:00: LARunner will go sub 3:00" so if you don't, the entire world will know you're a loser and a poseur. So Wrong!! But I'm there with you, babe.

    All you can do is your best, the day will bring what it brings and I believe it will bring success to you for all the hard work you've put in. Your training and mileage support your goal, you WILL succeed!!! You've been pounding them out like a machine and you're tired now, taper is here and with it, the madness we all expect.

    Start your mantras now, you don't have to be on the road at mile 21.5 to tell yourself you're fast, you're beautiful, you run like a gazelle, you have excellent form...whatever. Start thinking positively now, you could make some real mental changes with the days you have left.

  8. Wow, the comments above show an impressive amount of empathy and insight.
    I was just going to say, "Quit whining, and run." (smiley emoticon)
    You are on your own for 26.2, but you obviously have priceless relationships with people who love you no matter the outcome.
    Feel the blessings you have.
    Have a great race.


  9. I've been lurking on your blog for quite some time, and I just want to send some cyber-support your way!

    You are *very* hard on yourself, which, in an odd way, is related to your ability to excel at running in the way that you do (i.e., only someone who likes a certain amount of pain would run 100 miles in a week, LOL). While that tendency towards a bit of self-deprivation might be good for training, now that it's race time, you should really take a step back and realize all of the tremendous hard work that you've put in, and know that (as corny as it sounds), you've already won!

    You have already proven yourself to be a great athlete, an excellent runner, a tough warrior, and a great example to others! Try to drown out those negative thoughts with positive ones; after all, you have earned the right to do so!

  10. Have a great race Rebecca! I hope you are feeling a bit better now and you are getting excited about the race this weekend.