I can't take credit for this little gem of wisdom, I saw it on Twitter and re-tweeted. For each one of us athletes who trains hard to attain specific goals, there is likely someone, or several people, out there questioning us or doubting us. So instead of letting that person bring us down, let them fuel our fire to work harder and smarter in pursuit of our goals!
Any psychologist will tell you that people who doubt you or who project negativity onto you are actually just exhibiting their insecurities. The ones who tell you that you can't attain your goals, or you'll get injured, or you're aiming to high-- instead of buying into their negativity, you have to question why it matters so much to them. Some of them may even be fellow athletes who disagree with your approach, your philosophy or even the statements you make about yourself. They put you down because underneath it all, they believe it invalidates their approach or their achievements.
Most of us already struggle with self doubt and our own negativity at times that we certainly don't need others questioning our goals and aspirations as athletes. (As a side note, I believe anyone who trains for a race is an athlete and I don't like categorizing runners vs. joggers or competitive vs. amateur.) We all need to respect each other as athletes no matter how different our capabilities are. Even the folks who run/walk their way to a six-hour marathon deserve respect because they have a goal. What they are doing in no way undermines what I am doing.
Why do I bring this up now? I have personally encountered folks both online and face-to-face at races who have blatantly belittled me and scoffed at my goals. These aren't people I'm in direct competition with, but people who disagree with my philosophies on running. And it's often under the guise of them "just trying to be helpful," but sometimes it's less masked.
Personally, I consider myself to be someone who takes a realistic and conservative approach to training. Even more so within the past two years. But there will always be someone out there who "thinks I can't" no matter how reasonable my goals may be. Maybe I'll attain my goals, and maybe I won't. But nothing is going to stop me from trying and putting myself out there and using this blog to do so. I started this blog as a way to document my reflections on my training and racing and I'm not asking anyone to agree with my assessment of these things. If someone doesn't agree, then they don't have to read. It was my decision to make this blog open to the public so I realize I have opened myself up to criticism and negative comments. Along with all the wonderful support I get from 95% of my readers, there will inevitably be those who "think I can't".
Why blog about my races? A finish time at a race doesn't tell the story and I don't want that to be my only takeaway years later. For example, a 1:46 half marathon, which is 5 minutes slower than my PR, looks like a regression in my abilities, but it was actually on target with what I wanted to achieve in that race. By the same token, my marathon PR from 2009 was actually one of my worst races, as I ended up in the medical tent with hypothermia. As runners, we tend to get obsessed about numbers and times, but we must remember that the journey is far more important than the destination.
Before I even started running marathons, I had a boss who ran them. He told me that he really liked looking through the race results and seeing everyone's splits. He could tell who had a good race and who didn't based on the difference between their starting and finishing paces. I didn't know much about running back then, but his thinking made a lot of sense.
I apologize if this blog is vague, but I'll use this post to remind me of what's most important and not allow others to project negativity onto my running or diminish my achievements.