Last year the word that themed my running was “relentless”. I didn’t even realize it until I had one of those amazing “Aha!” moments on a run last summer. I had recently read a book called “Strong” written by an American Olympic Runner “Karen Goucher” and it’s about running confidence. It was that book and that run that set me on a path of realization that I hadn’t experienced as a runner before. It changed my running, but like most things with distance running the lesson was applicable in all aspects of my life.
There are a lot of exercises in the book and it’s very reflective. One of the chapters has an exercise about words of empowerment. You are encouraged to brainstorm all the words that come to mind that you feel empower you. For example faith, grit, or resilience. On my run this morning I realized mine was relentless. It wasn’t even on my list. The great thing about running life is there are always lessons to be learned. You can always develop new mindsets, evolve your personality, and discover new things about yourself.
My legs felt heavy, my mind was elsewhere, and I was having trouble adjusting my lungs. It was 36 degree weather that had changed from earlier last weeks 85 degree runs. 5-6 miles was on deck and my plan was to “just get the miles in”. I even contemplated going out a bit later, but I knew I had to adjust by next weekend.
My first mile slow, at a 10:30 pace and the next .5 was a bit faster and my legs were warming up, but I got annoyed and decided this “taking it easy” crap was not for me. Why was I even bothering if I wasn’t going to push myself? Isn’t that the point? Why am I out here if I’m not giving it what I’ve got? So each mile I gained faster pace and on my last mile it became clear to me what I had to keep doing with my runs. I need to be relentless. I need to be relentless for anything I want in life.
It suddenly became abundantly clear to me, what had been driving me the last few months and I embraced the revelation. If you haven’t put all of your effort into something, have you even earned it? Do you deserve it? It doesn’t matter. I don’t want it.
Part of the lack of accomplishment I’ve felt in the past decade running probably has a lot to do with this. I’ve held myself back and set limitations because I didn’t have the confidence to strive for more than what I was accomplishing. I struggle like everyone else and sometimes I have to force myself out the door. Sometimes I have to make myself do the work when most of my mind and body don’t want to, but these are the opportunities to get stronger mentally. This is what running distance is truly about for me.
After this revelation and being conscious of it, I now can focus on being strong and embracing it. This means constantly embracing this catalyst in all aspects of my life. It doesn’t matter if it is a fun OCR with my son, or a training run, or even yoga I need to keep this as my core strength. Being “relentless” has given me a success in running I never had before. This is because I no longer accept anything but my best anymore. For this I can thank the journey.