“Maybe we could all stand to be a little more Pollyannish.”
I recently read a few articles by ambassadors for my beloved hometown marathon, The Chevron Houston Marathon, on the marathon press center website. The overriding theme of the articles was, “just keep going. Don’t fret about your timed place in the race. Do YOUR personal best.” This spoke to me. I ruminated on this for days. Yes, that’s what keeps us going despite self-doubt, fatigue, maybe even pain. It is that need to overcome the tough stuff in order to truly feel alive.
It is about testing the physical and mental limits in order to define the human spirit.
As I’ve often said, runners pick each other up because they are used to falling themselves. What runner hasn’t had a “bad” run? Is there even such a thing as a “bad” run? Yes, yes there is, but I wish we runners would say no. No, every run is a good run because it is a run in the books. But every runner knows this is a Pollyanna view and we all say if a person says that they are simply lying to themselves. For the simple fact is, some runs seem effortless, some seem laborious, some are finished quickly and efficiently, some take forever to end and make us feel horrible about ourselves. I guess those bad runs keep us humble. They keep us grounded. They remind us that running is physically and mentally difficult. It necessitates sacrifice in all areas of our lives and it challenges us in many ways. It is what we do and if it were easy than everyone would do it. These running ambassadors’ articles delivered the message that I needed to read. Isn’t it funny how sometimes it seems as though the universe presents to us what we need the most when we need it the most?
While I’ve only been a runner since 2012, there was a time there in 2013 where placing in a race and getting personal records was of utmost importance to me. I remember being so fixated on obtaining a PR of 51:05 or lower in a 10K race in order to qualify to register for the 2014 Aramco Half Marathon and avoid the lottery. I tried for that time and failed in three separate USATF certified courses. This truly devastated me each and every time. I kept trying, though. I ended up with a 49:25 on my fourth try in May of 2013 … just in the nick of time. My dream had come true, I had finally done it, but I couldn’t tell you one thing about that race. I couldn’t tell you what streets I ran down or what the course was like. I have racked my brain and I honestly couldn’t tell you one interesting thing about that race. That’s kind of sad, really. I paid good money for that race and I didn’t enjoy one bit of it.
I continued in that same vein through 2014 and 2015. As I sit here now I honestly still can’t believe I finished the Chevron Houston Marathon in 2015. The FULL marathon! Me? 26.2 miles. I wasn’t able to do it in under four hours as I’d practiced, but my time of 4:33 is still an accomplishment; however, I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t give myself a hard time about that 4:33 race time. However, these days I’ve been working on cutting myself some slack and celebrating my accomplishments. Now I simply wish to focus on staying strong. I want to keep running. Going longer distances means slowing down the pace, and I rather like that. I now think of my long runs as adventures. I’m going to have bad runs and I’m going to have good runs, I just have to keep going. Merriam-Webster defines Pollyanna as : a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything. Maybe we could all stand to be more Pollyannish.