Running: Cheaper Than Therapy

Reality check: My biggest character flaw (ok, one of the biggest) is my inability to follow through and see things to a successful finish.

Without getting all therapist-couch-y on you, I think it stems from being told that I was so great at everything I did when I was a kid, when in fact I was basically just lucky. I got into the Talented & Gifted program in 3rd grade by creating some story about a magical crystal that I’m pretty sure I copied from the movie Labyrinth, and ever since then I kind of coasted. Sure, I was the typical straight A overachiever, but that was because the hardest thing I had to do was create a video documentary on the Wild West for Mr. Szabo’s AP History class with a bunch of my fellow overachiever friends. I was never really coached or told to work harder – things just kind of happened and I was applauded for them.

Cut to adult life, where suddenly there are real decisions that need to be made, and I’m pretty much paralyzed by… lack of motivation? Fear of failure? I’m not really sure what, but everything from saving to buy a house to marathon training has me scared and anxious. Since this is mainly a running blog, I’ll stick with that, but you get the idea. What I’m trying to say is that basically I’m running this marathon, at the very core of things, to prove to myself that I can follow through on something. I can pick a goal and focus on it and execute from start to finish.

So when I feel my motivation start to flag during my training – like during my third (yes, THIRD) emergency bathroom break on Saturday’s 10 miler…

photo 2Thank God that CVS was open…

… I tell myself to nut up and shut up and get it done. It’s a little bit less touchy-feely than my previous happy slappy positive thinking methods, but if I’m going to be successful I need to be a little tough on myself – because no one else is.

Sure, an outsider sees that I ran 10 miles, 13 miles, even 26.2 miles and will congratulate me on that, but they’re not in my head during those runs. They don’t hear the shortcuts that I want to take, or know that I walked for longer than I care to admit and still called it a “run”. I need to earn those congratulations. I can’t keep coasting through everything on the bare minimum just to get the “Ooh job well done!” 

No more excuses, no more bargaining or “maybe tomorrow”‘s. I’m going to earn that medal in October and I’m not going to cheat myself out of any of the hard work it’ll take to get me there.

5 thoughts on “Running: Cheaper Than Therapy

  1. I was exactly the same growing up: never had to make many decisions, grades came easy, was never challenged by anything. Then as an adult: WHAM!!! I also have a huge fear of failure and experience anxiety over situations and decisions that I know I should not. I know I will work on this the rest of my life. It is also why I run. When I finished my first half marathon in May I was so amazed and proud of myself, because I did it and I did it for me. I did not criticize myself for how much I needed to walk. I ran as much as I could and my only goal was to finish, no matter how long it took. You can do it. You will do it.


  2. Like JoAnne, I was the same growing up too. And like you wrote, I find that I get easily paralyzed by whatever it is, lack of motivation or fear of failure, when I’m trying to make big decisions. It’s so frustrating! I’ve actually struggled with running because of that too… I guess I got used to things coming easily to me that when I couldn’t just go out and run for miles at a quick pace I got frustrated and wasn’t motivated to keep going. But I’ve been pushing myself to get over that, and it’s reassuring to see that others struggle the same way and are also working to overcome the coasting. Consider this a giant virtual high-five… I know you’ll earn that medal in October! 🙂


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