Monday, March 5, 2012

fear, failure, execution

I've been reading a lot lately about the mental aspect of training lately, just about everything I can get my grubby little hands on.  I used to think, "oh, I don't need mental training, I don't have problems motivating," but as it turns out, that's a bunch of crap.  A lot of it is about fear and pressure.  Failure.  Why we reach out and grab onto anything we can that takes that fear away.  And it's made me think about where I feel it, what I'm actually afraid of, and face some pretty uncomfortable truths.  I don't really want to write about it.  I don't even really want to THINK about it, it's awkward and I really hate awkward.  But I've been having a hard time lately, especially with what's going on in my head and with some of my training-partners-turned-friends-turned-training-partners.  So bear with me.


Even before I was an endurance athlete, I had things in my life to go after, and I would go after them like a wild woman, grip and shake them between my teeth.  I'm sure that most of my teachers and professors (and later, coaches) would agree.  Being willing to work hard is not a skill I lack.  I don't need motivation.  I don't need someone to trick me into getting out of bed, I don't need to reward myself for completing workouts.  I'm one of those mules that will just keep on walking, head down, pulling the stupid cart until he falls over dead.  I have a really clear memory of my 106-year-old horn teacher in graduate school telling me that he told a panel, "I've never had a student that works harder than Katie."  I also have a really strong sense of fairness.  I work really hard - a lot harder, sometimes, than people around me - so why do they hit the jackpot and win the audition/pass the test/cross the finish line before me?  Why does that person get a perfect day and I blow up when our training would predict the exact opposite?  But life doesn't work that way.  Life doesn't always reward the hard workers and drop eggs and rocks on the slackers and the cheaters, and that really pisses me off.  So there's one piece of the problem with my mental puzzle, of figuring this out.  Check.


I started thinking about my past two years as an athlete, as a hard-working, racing, invested athlete.  And what I've come up with is complex.  In workouts, I never have a problem going into that place where it hurts.  I can go there, I can pitch a tent and make cups of tea and be perfectly happy there.  If the piece of paper, if the blue box says "go easy here and hard here," then I bust my tail to make it happen.  Even when I don't like what it says, even when I'd much rather go and ride hills for four hours than sit on the couch and be crabby rest, I still do it.  Execution as a whole, in general, is something that I can say, firmly, I do this well.


But racing, well, race day is a whole different game.


And that's where having a blog makes it all very uncomfortable.  I went back and read through every race report I've ever written.  I only really did two or three races (none actually what I would define as racing) before I started the blog, so it's nice to have that history.  But the pattern that starts to emerge is that I can't execute on race day.  Every single race that has mattered, I've blown up somehow.  It's never a true physical blow up - although many researchers will argue that most of athlete blow-ups are mental - but sometimes it seems like one.  For example, the 5K I ran last February.  I was coming off a fall surgery and bouncing back into my spring racing season.  I had a friend pacing me - a friend whose opinion on my training I trusted completely, who knew exactly what I wanted and exactly how to get me there.  I let her wear the watch so that I wouldn't flip out and lose my mind because of the scary-low splits.  I drowned myself in music at the starting line so I wouldn't feel stressed by other people around me.  But when we ran by the 1-mile marker, there was a clock.  It said 7:41, and that scared the shit out of me.  It made me feel like we were running too fast (we weren't), like I was going to blow up, and that's where I started to break down.  When my brain manufactured a physical problem - a big twinge in my piriformis - soon after mile 2, I let it suck me in.  I stopped, I walked, I stretched, and then I started running again.  But as soon as it was okay for me to stop and walk, my race was over.  My mind - not my body - had failed me.  And when I went back and looked at my workouts leading up to that race, I was angry, because in workouts, I can go into that place where it hurts.  Why can't I face that on race day?


The same thing happened in my fall 70.3.  Going into that race, I was so nervous.  I had a solid training cycle, and I had a rough idea about what I should have been able to execute on race day, but I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to do it.  I have a lot of much faster friends scattered throughout the country, and I felt like every eye was upon me that morning, waiting, quietly watching to see what I would do.  I crashed my bike early in the bike course, and as soon as I decided that I wasn't going to hit my goals, I deflated.  I backed off on the bike and totally fell apart on the run.  My brain decided that if I wasn't going to hit my goals, I didn't even want to try.  Why is it okay, in my mind, for me to miss the goal by a huge stretch but not by a slim margin?  


My coach at the time - and many, many friends along the way - said that finishing anyway was a testament to mental strength.  He told me that the ability to get up and keep going would be what got me through ironman.  I've talked before about how the "I get knocked down but I get up again" lyrics so closely mirror my life.  And I just need to say, fuck that.  My brain knows what to do, it knows how to get back up, and I am sick and tired of that being my line.  I even talked about it in my recap of the 70.3 day - that I'm tired of the universe handing me these situations where I have to overcome something to finish my day.  But I'm starting to think that it's not the universe, it's me.  It's my brain, and good God my brain is a tricky bitch.  My mind knows how to do this, how to spin it into my journey, so that's what I do.  But what if I never got knocked down in the first place?  Do I even know how to do that?


For me, I think I've finally dug up enough dirt to see the root.  And I'm angry and worn out and don't want to face this.  I am afraid of the best that I can do.  I am afraid that my best is not good enough.  By letting other events derail my day, I don't have to face up to the fact that those numbers are a true reflection of me.  Instead I can say, "Well, sure, if I hadn't crashed my bike, if it hadn't been 104ยบ out, maybe I would have done x."  That's a pretty safe place for an athlete, especially a young inexperienced age-grouper like myself, to live.  ESPECIALLY when all of my friends and training partners are so much faster, stronger, and more experienced that I am.  


And that's the last piece of the puzzle, I think.  It makes me feel hopeless, sometimes, to know that I will probably never be able to do what many of the people surrounding me do.  And I don't want to take anything away from my friends, I don't want to steal their glory and deep down inside, there's no anger at them.  It's all directed back at me and wow, is that doing a lot of damage.  It's the little-girl-left-behind feeling I get when I show up for a long run and within a half-mile, the entire pack has left me.  It's the exact feeling I get on race day, when I realize that I'm surrounded by friends who are all going to be showered and changed and have their cars packed up before I get over the finish line.  That pressure all comes from me, I know that, but the best way I can describe how it makes me feel is: worthless.


So it's uncomfortable.  It's furious and ugly and I'd much rather just keep stomping all over my trainer rides than face it.  It's a giant mess of feeling like what I am - right now - is not enough.  But I have to figure out how to fix it.  

40 comments:

  1. I share a lot of these same frustrations, and I'm MUCH slower than you, so you can just think of me when you are frustrated at feeling slow, you are most likely way ahead of me ;)

    What I like to do is focus on me, yes there will always be people who are faster, unless you are the dude who runs marathons in 2:03, so I just compete against myself. It can be a frustrating place to be when you crash, or blow up, or whatever happens, but at least you are making a fair comparison. And think of it as, well this race I had this mentality so next race I will try meditation, or something different to change the outcome. And maybe you shouldn't think about how things went wrong but how you dealt with those things. Maybe some of those fast 'friends' wouldn't be able to get up and keep going if faced with the same stuff.

    You are very strong and you are fast, whether you think it or not.

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  2. Saying this out loud is the definition of courage.

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  3. So now that you know this...you can take steps to try to improve and revamp your thinking! Knowing that something isn't quite right is the first way to fixing it and moving in a positive direction. :)

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  4. Yes, this. Like x100. I know that inspiring me wasn't your intention with this post at all, but you did, so thanks. Also, for what it's worth, you're one of the toughest people I know. You just have to let yourself believe that in the moment.

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  5. (Hello! Over here...yeah, the one in the back of the pack...a friend who you know is NOT faster than you and would be watching YOUR ass at the back of that long run)

    You give yourself no room for anything but the loftiest goals, which on one hand I admire but it can paint you into a corner. Bad weather, bike wrecks, etc are real and they affect your performance, not some made up excuse. You've had some bad breaks...but are they chance or do you bring things on yourself because you've made yourself so anxious about performing in spite of having every reason to trust your training. Faith not fear? What happened to that?

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  6. This. YES.

    And now please figure out how to fix it and blog about it before Saturday, please? Thankyou.

    This is why I always LOVE training for things, but HATE races. Effed up.

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  7. Thank you for this post! I've gotten so frustrated lately because I feel like pretty much everyone ever can run faster than me no matter how hard I train and it's making training not so much fun. I remember back when every race was a PR and it just felt glorious that my body could finish 13.1 or 26.2.

    Now I'm in my own head being a crazy person and berating myself, even though I've made so much progress. I'm already making excuses for why I won't do well at the National Half and that shit has gotta stop! Time to step up.

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  8. I know you don't like stop and go comments, but I just have to say this post is so great. It's so much more inspiring to read about someone's fight and hard work, than about someone's easy cruising. Head games are something I think about a lot, although not in the same category as you, and the resilience you show is something I aspire to.

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  9. Great musings and having known you for a little while now, this makes a lot of sense.
    I'm always surrounded by ultrarunner friends who are faster than I am, better hill climbers, etc. Very few of them will I ever get close to in a race unless they are having real issues. I think in trail running, it's easier to run without worrying about where everyone else is, because every ultra shows you -- up close and personal -- why you must run your own race.
    Some people, Hubz included, really enjoy the training process more than races. That certainly doesn't preclude you from racing well, and I know you will get there. But there's also no real reason to race much if you know you like training more.

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  10. Hey, look at me!! I'm not only a slow poke, I haven't even managed to finish a marathon yet, but I already gave myself the goal to finish an Ironman for my 40th birthday. Stupid much? Maybe, but what keeps me going despite how shitty I feel when I know I will be in the last corral, is people like you. You, brave woman, you. I missed my marathon starting line last year because in the same month my dad died, I had emergency gallbladder surgery and pulled a muscle in my calf. It got me really depressed for a while, then started working with a coach and if there is one thing that I've learned to do, is to think positive. No matter what life throws at you, try to find the best in everything you've done. Lining up at the starting line is a great achievement, finishing is still a dream for someone like me. YOU are strong, YOU need to take a good look in the mirror and give yourself a pep talk. Flex your muscles, wink and smile. You gave yourself the gift of fitness and you should be proud of having made it so much farther than others already. You are healthy, you are an inspiration and I'm looking up to you, even if I'm older than you. But don't do it for me or anyone else reading your blog, do it for you because this is what matters the most. Waking up every day to train and be in the best form of your life should be your goal, the rest just comes as a bonus. Nobody cares how many times you trip if you keep going forward.

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  11. Brave post, Katie! I can so relate to the personality type that never lacks motivation. I don't think, however, that I have the same issues about facing the fear of success. But we ALL have our quirks and apparently this is yours. The most important thing is that you have identified it and want to work on it. Being the goal setter that you are, this will get you where you need to be. Behind you all the way!

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  12. I can definitely relate to this. I also find myself being afraid to set goals and really go for them in fear that my best won't be good enough. It's even more frightening when you are training with partners who are also setting goals and you are afraid that they will meet them and you will fail.

    It sounds like you are really starting to understand some of your mental blocks and I think that you will be able to overcome them! You are a GREAT athlete - I admire you in MANY ways, and you should be proud of yourself no matter what the outcome of any race! I hope to see you cheering for ME at the finish line of CdA after your IV and massage! :)

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  13. You just have to do YOUR best. People may leave you in training, but that doesn't mean they will beat you in a race. Training is not racing. And it is scary to think your best may not be able to meet your end goal. But you had better try!

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  14. These are the things that make you a standout amongst the blogs I read. You are honest to a fault. Just the fact that you put this out for public consumption is a testament to how strong you are.
    I know you are not looking for people to tell you hoe much faster you are than them (hell, I'm so slow you can barely call what I do running!), because this is about them, its about you.
    Only you can turn around your mental game. Just know that you sure as hell aren't disappointing any of your friends. Only people that are frenemies would use your perceived failures as a way to lift themselves up. And something tells me you wouldn't tolerate that kind of bullshit in your circle.
    It is so extremely hard not to worry about being the slowest of your friends, I know this from experience. But where you come out ahead is that you keep showing up. For a long time I used THAT as my excuse to not even try. It's only this past year that I've said screw it and started trying.
    None of what is said makes a bit of difference, I know. But also, try not to focus entirely on what you have done wrong in the past races. You've acknowledged that and will work damn hard to fix it . Try to accept that is who you were then, but your next race can be different.
    Good luck in finding your fix.

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  15. I, too, feel surrounded by people better and faster than I am. I'm determined and willing to put in the work- why am I not as fast/strong/good as X,Y or Z? For me, it's about being patient and knowing that hopefully my time will come too.

    I find tri events bring a lot more pressure than running events, because it's a lot easier to tell yourself you can just run another 5k in a few weeks or do another 10k. But a HIM? an IM? It's all building to just that one day. And then again, it is just one day. It shouldn't negate an entire season of training and hard work.

    Thanks for such a thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

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  16. I wish I had an answer Katie, I've been blown up by calf cramps in so many times in races and never once in training.

    My Coach sent this link to our club members. Seems a crap day happens to some of the best. It's a great read!

    http://mightymagali.com/panama-70-3/

    "My last blog was me realizing okay: so this is what I have to do, this is what I need to change!!! I have to race fearless, do it for me, go out and get what I deserve, forget about being judged, take risks. I guess this blog and some that will follow will help me answer THE NEXT QUESTION: Now HOW EXACTLY do I do that!!! Now I know that things going REAL bad can bring a NEW source of inspirations that may be VERY STRONG as long as I have integrity and am prepared to race FOR MYSELF. I need to change my goal and re-focus when that happens. Seems simple but emotions get very strong out there and when I would think about a race, I didn’t like to think about visualizing what could go wrong, I just shut it out. Huge MISTAKE! I do need to also imagine situations where things go wrong and have a super strong game plan. I have to know EXACTLY where I will find inspiration even when everything is falling apart because on the moment, it is sometimes hard to think straight and frustration can also sometimes get in the way. I feel that will apply to way more then the flat tire situation!!"

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  17. Whoa. In a bunch of ways I could have written a very similar post. This is hard, and working on it is painful, but so, so worth the effort. I'm finding my answers. I hope you find your, too.

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  18. As I was reading this I was struck by the quote that Thom shared with me during Philly training (and put on his shirt). Of course I can't remember it exactly, but the spirit of it that I remember is that our greatest fear isn't failure but of being the best that we can be.

    I wish I had some advice, but I think I struggle with the mental aspects of racing just as much as the next person. But I think identifying your fear is the first step to overcoming it.

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  19. "I am afraid of the best that I can do. I am afraid that my best is not good enough."

    Wow, this is deep for a Monday. OK, for any day. But I think the thing to do now is to face your fear head-on. You know it, you've acknowledged it, so now you need to throw yourself at it.

    The thing is, your best WILL be good enough for that day. Maybe not for your entire life, but that's a good thing. If you never do your best, you won't have a new barrier to break doesn. It's one thing to look back and say, "I bet I could have done better." But it's so much greater to look back and say, "Oh wow, I kicked that much ass? Does this mean I'm capable of something even greater?"

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  20. It's gutsy to think about this stuff and even more so to put it out in the open — so kudos.

    I didn't grow up an athlete; I raced for the first time at 27, and the first race where I even had a frame of reference for caring about how I did was when I was 29. It's been hard for me to figure out how performance and improvement are supposed to work. I share your sense of wanting the world to be fair, and I also have this idea (that I know is false but is still how things play out in my mind) that improvement is linear: "Well, I ran a 400 in x:xx this one time, so now EVERY 400 I run should be x:xx or faster." There are some very real factors there about how every race day is different, and you might crash, or the wind might suck, or your breakfast might be timed ever so slightly off so you want to puke for three hours — and I don't think you're MAKING those things happen to you (I've had similar things suggested to me, but in the end, I think positive thinking only goes so far; it can't change the whole universe). But at the same time, I think it IS possible to be afraid of doing your best and finding out that that number doesn't match what you think it should be. I don't have any answers, because I'm often in that place myself, but I think it's clear that you're NOT afraid of trying most of the time — quite the opposite. I don't think anyone but you is going to judge you for doing your best even if it's not THE best (and if they do, you need new friends, but all the friends who show up in your comments seem pretty freaking awesome, so I don't think that's it). And if you judge yourself for it … well, yeah, I've been there, and it blows. But there's power in knowing — and your best that day isn't your best forever, it's only the best till your next best blows it out of the water.

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  21. Obvious response, but you really need to switch the brain to OFF mode during a race and NOT look at any timers/clocks/watches or anybody and JUST RACE. You got it in you!!!

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  22. Like you motivation is never lacking. I get up and go after it like a bull in a china shop....but why? Its because come race day I know what pain feels like for weeks and months and that I can handle that pain for a few hours.

    I love having guys like Jeff, Kevin, Matt, Jon and others surround me because they ARE fast and I want to chase them down and get into that group. If it doesn't happen at Race 1 it will happen at Race 2 or Race 3 but dammit it will happen......we have the motivation to get there and that cannot be taught.

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  23. without having read the comments above, i'm fairly certain that a lot them read "this happens to me too." b/c honestly, this happens to me too. if i'm on target for a good race and something happens (such as your bike crash, or my bike fall) then we sort of mentally give up. i think it's normal. now, i don't think you should let it happen every race. that's one thing you can def work on. (and ok fine, so can i.) now go find us some tips for your next post. ;)

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  24. We're all similar in that we face challenges, but all different in the challenges we've faced.

    And the hardest part is figuring out what your true challenge is. And you've done that. So now have at it. And blaze a path for me to follow. (/selfish).

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  25. I love that you are thinking about this and reflecting on your approach. You're right-- you already know how to work hard, so being an athlete isn't teaching you that. It's making you a stronger person not only physically, but also emotionally.

    I relate to a lot of stuff here. The "unfairness" of someone getting perfect weather when they didn't train for the race and still doing well. And also, I understand that mentally, it's easier to bonk or give up when you know your goal isn't within reach. Or when you fear it's not within reach.

    I think acknowledging that you are struggling with this is important and the more self-aware you are, the stronger you will be.

    I know you're feeling down right now, but you have sooo much support on this blog. So many great followers and people who care. :-)

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  26. Our soccer coach used to say (ahem, YELL) that running/training/playing was 20% physical and 80% mental. The ratio never made much sense to my young mind, until I ran my first 20 mile run. I remember totally freaking out, and D texting me right before I left (it was an after-work adventure), with "Run strong. Be confident." That was all I needed. "be confident", read: you're capable of this.

    I read this earlier and didn't even know where to begin with a comment. The fact that you could put this out there says a LOT about where you are, mentally, and in terms of self-awareness. Not only have you climbed over this mind-block hill, but you reached a point where you could put it out there. You could admit that you've set yourself up for failure, you didn't trust your training or your muscles, and yet you still keep going.

    All of this may have been hard to realize, even harder to really process - but mull it over. Once you get this block behind you, *that's* when the fun really starts. The puke-threshold but-holy-shit-I-did-it races. ;) xo.

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  27. When I was running my race on Saturday, I kept thinking about how something always seems to go wrong in my races. That I never seem to be able to bring to the race what I have on a regular run. So, I decided I was over that. It may have been a hilly race, my legs may have been dead, but I gave it all I had at that particular moment and then owned the end result.

    You are doing a great job of figuring out what is going on in your head. Now you just need to figure out how to be proud of yourself, regardless of the outcome. There will always be people who are faster. Always. No race will likely ever go perfectly. Just be proud of yourself for giving it everything you have and own your awesomeness.

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  28. Hey lady.

    It looks like you have a lot of awesome comments here, and at the risk of repeating something that someone else has said, I'm not going to read them. I don't have time for that.

    What I do have time for, though, is to tell you something.

    You are enough.

    It doesn't matter how much or who or what you think about yourself. You are enough. And you always will be. And if I need to hold your hand and help you to see that, I will.

    And hell, if you really just need to take a run with someone who's slower than you are, well... I'm available. :)

    Love and big hugs.

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  29. I don't have anything profound to say. But one thing we did learn on our swim team in college was that in your inner dialogue before and during a race, avoid negative statements such as "I will NOT blow up" or "I will NOT slow down" because your brain will often discount the "nots" and will instead register "I will blow up" or "I will slow down." So you want to frame the same statement without a negative word - "I will stay strong" or "I will maintain my pace."

    That might help. It might not. But there it is.

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  30. Excellent post, Katie! Thanks for sharing - I can complete relate to the fear of failure, and how that can mess us up on race day.

    Suffice to say, EVERYONE needs mental training. When I attended the USAT coaching clinic back in October, one of the speakers Bobby McGee gave a great presentation on mental training, and talked about visualization, positive self talk, being focused on the present, goal setting and so on. (If you want his article on mental training, I'll be happy to send it to you. Just email me mariaismaslife@gmail.com)

    One of the things that he talked about that I think applies (and that has REALLY stuck with me and worked for my fear) is identifying the distinction between goals that we can control and goals that we can't control.

    For e.g., we can't control the weather, and a hot or windy day may mess with our time goals (time goal = goal we can't fully control). Buuutttt, we can control our attitude about it - regardless of the weather, I'm going to race the best effort I can.

    This distinction has been a really key one for me. It helps me keep my focus during a race no matter what happens. And, no matter what, something wonky will ALWAYS happen on race day. There is no such thing as the perfect day (or if there is a perfect day, it happens maybe once in a racing lifetime).

    And, when/if something does not go exactly to plan on race day, relying on positive self-talk (as Victoria mentions above) is a key strategy to help you get your head back in the game. And, just because something doesn't go to plan, doesn't mean we can't bounce back from it. To quote the Ironman cliche: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. And, believe me, Katie, anything is.

    I've spent the last two years racing Ironman full of fear, and not racing to my potential. I've let excuses keep me in the safe spot you write about here. So, I completely understand what you are saying here. But, not this year. I will NOT be beat because of fear this year--and you won't either.

    When someone beats me, it will be because they have the better engine. And, you know what? That's okay. There will always be people faster than me. But, if I can stay in my own head, and race the best race with the body I have, then I will be proud to cross that finish line - whatever the time, whatever the place.

    Keep strong - you will do this. :)

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  31. You took the words right out of my brain. I don't have the same rigorous training schedule that you have, but boy have I suffered the disasters of my mind telling me my body is done. I know I have more in me. I know I can do it. The fear of failure. The disappointment that I only THINK will be expressed by friends/family. None of that should matter, any yet it holds a mysterious and crippling power over me. I have had three horrific marathons in a row and I kept going out of frustration, determination and a little stubbornness. Why were they horrific? Because my dumb ass let me believe that there was something wrong. I panicked. I let myself down. Now, I'm starting to come to grips with all of it. I'm working on convincing myself that what I do is for ME and no one else. My friends and family are here to support me and truly do not see my slower times or not-so-great races as shortcomings. They are proud of me for getting out there. They are proud of me for putting in all that work leading up to a race. They are proud of me just being me. (All of this sounds great as I type it. Now if only I can convince myself of it. All in good time.)

    Just remember - you are not alone. Take care.

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  32. this is one of the best posts I have read in a long, long time. Honest and true. You are not alone in those feelings-that fear of failure.
    What IF I give it 110% and it's still not good enough??? It's scary to think about it.

    Thank you.

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  33. Thank you so, so much for this honest and brave post. I feel like I've been thinking these same things and have felt so very alone in those thoughts. This carries over into all aspects of my life, too. I'm so terribly afraid of going after the things I really want for myself because if I come up short, what does that say about me? What about all those people in my life who are cheering me on? Won't they be so horribly disappointed in me? I blow up at races and I shy away from pursuing my dreams head on because I am gripped by fear of not being good enough, or as good as I want to be, or as good as all of those people in my life already are.

    Just thank you, Katie, for articulating something that's been haunting me for so long now and making me feel a little less crazy.

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  34. I feel like I could have written a lot of this post. I read it the other day and saved it so I could comment to tell you that you're definitely not alone.
    If you figure out the answer, please share. I have a huge fear of giving my best because what if it's not good enough. I suffered through a pretty bad racing season last year because there was always something off. Truth be told, I think it was a lot of self-sabotage because what if everything went great and I still couldn't hit a goal. Like you, I want to figure it out. I have run 3 marathons at nearly the exact time, several 5ks and halfs, same story. It's time to put the pedal to the metal and make $hit happen.

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  35. This is such a great post. Failure is f-ing scary and being able to dig to the root and see what's happening is immense. Just know that we are all cheering for you.

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  36. The brain is the most important muscle on race day. 2010 was a TERRIBLE season for me, mental-toughness-wise. Terrible. I fell apart during both of my Ironmans, I was afraid to set and try to achieve many of my goals because I figured I was going to fail anyways, and I always, ALWAYS cracked under pressure. 2011 was a better season, I still have a long way to go. But I've found that turning my mind off, NOT looking at paces or my HR monitor during races, keeping my head out of the game has been a huge help (I know that sounds counter-intuitive to my first sentence that the brain is the most important muscle on race day). Numbers are a distraction and a limiter on race day. You've been training, you know your body and how it should feel during a race, race by feel and trust that your body and training will get you across that finish line.

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  37. Although I'm beating a dead horse here, it's true that the brain is crucial to racing. The other weekend, I went to bed the night before a race thinking "Tomorrow, I'm going to get up and win that sucker" and I fully believe that it helped me achieve my win (well, 1st place female, but it still counts in my book).
    I actually have the exact opposite issue that you do. I get mentally down on myself during training, which can make finishing workouts a real struggle. However, when race day rolls around, my mental toughness kicks in and I rock out. That being said, failure sucks just as much during training, especially because you're training 5x as much as you race.
    Regardless of how anxiety manifests though, it happens to all of us. We understand!

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  38. So awesome that you were able to pin point the underlying issue! I hope that talking about it has lifted some weight off your shoulders.

    :-)

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  39. I used to think I just really liked training and didn't care for racing, but I've come to see/understand that I'm more fearful of racing and just not measuring up to me/them/etc. Generally I train alone and don't have to face my own "I'm the slowest here" demons because of it. You are so brave, honest, and open in all your blogs, I really enjoy reading them. Sending lots of fearless vibes for your race!

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