10/4/19 - This Is Mine.
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That voice inside your head that wants to take your thing that you worked for away from you? Let’s call him Steve. That makes it easier and more satisfying to say NO ONE ASKED YOU, STEVE!
Hi! This is Coach Sarah, and this is the Morning Mantra!
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Hi, my name is Sarah Axelrod. I'm a run coach and a lover of poetry, and a person who cares about your well-being. You don't have to be an athlete to be #coachedandloved, and if you need an anchor to hold onto as you move through a tough situation, you've come to the right place.
Today is Friday, October 4th, and the cascade of fall races is beginning. Lots of people are toeing start lines this weekend and next weekend and the weekend after and it’s not really going to die down until the Philadelphia Marathon and Half in November.
What I used to dread about races was the fear of failing. Not just the failing itself, but the way the fear of it followed me throughout the entire race. And if we’re talking about a half marathon or a marathon, we’re talking about HOURS of being afraid that I was failing.
Can I tell you something? That is a perfect way to take the fun out of something that was supposed to be fun. It’s the perfect way to ruin the glory of something that was supposed to make you feel good, accomplished, proud of yourself.
I am not pretending that the pressure to perform isn’t there - it is. But let’s examine where it’s coming from. Who are the people you really feel like you need to prove something to? Your parents? All your cousins and siblings who got picked for all the kickball teams when you didn’t? Your high school coaches who rolled their eyes at you because you showed up, again, and you were still just not that talented?
That stuff’s not imaginary. You didn’t make those people up and you didn’t invent their disapproval or their dismissal. That’s real and it hurts and I know that it still hurts.
But please don’t give them your race. Because if your Steve - that’s the chorus of judgy voices and the litany of offhand comments in your head - is anything like my Steve, your best possible outcome on race day still won’t be good enough. Steve will still find something wrong with it or lesser about it. Steve will still know a guy at work who ran faster than that without even training (that guy is also named Steve, and he can fuck right off). Steve will still wonder why you didn’t lose any weight at all training for that race. Steve will still be puzzled about why you work so hard at something that you’re not that good at (because Steve automatically thinks that fast and good are the same thing, and he’s never stopped to interrogate that assumption).
So stop handing your race to Steve. Stop letting Steve run his mouth - this is not Steve’s race. Steve doesn’t know anything meaningful about you - because remember that your finish time says NOTHING meaningful about you - but even if he did, there’s still no guarantee that he would actually appreciate you, recognize you, validate you the way you deserve. In fact, don’t trust anyone with that job, except me. And except you.
Because even though I see you, I know you, I validate you, I support you and every decision you make leading up to this race, the one who matters is you. This race is yours and you get to approach it howEVER you want. All I need to know is that YOU are being clear and truthful with yourself about what you need to get when you toe that start line. All I need to know is that you are being kind to yourself and giving yourself credit for the amount of work that you did just to be there. All I need to know is that you are not going to let fucking Steve ruin this for you with his shitty opinions because this is not his.
If you haven’t watched Coach MK’s livestream that she filmed for me the night before I ran the Clarence DeMar Marathon, I would highly recommend it - she is talking to me, but just about everything she says is also for you. This is your race. There is no pressure to perform and there never will be - if there was no pressure for me, your coach, to perform or to show anybody that this way of training works, you can rest assured that there is no pressure on you. We will be watching and cheering because that’s what we do, because you are coached and loved, but not because we are looking for RESULTS or PROOF that you’re a badass. We already know you are.
So please, own your race this weekend or next weekend. Know in your heart that it is yours. And if the pressure starts to mount and crush you at any point (I know that Steve can appear in all corners of the brain, sometimes when you are least expecting it) - if you are starting to worry about what that finish clock is going to say, if you are starting to question yourself, I want you to hear MY voice in the back of your head telling Steve to FUCK OFF, and then I want you to say out loud “This Is MINE.” Then lock your cage, take a deep breath, and carry on.
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You are Coached. You are Loooved, and you ARE winning at life. And if you need MOAR reasons to believe that, follow @morningmantrapod on Instagram.