As the year comes barreling to a close, I find myself reflecting a lot about 2011. For some reason, I've never been a huge fan of odd numbered years. No real reason for it although I'm sure if I tried, I could make a list of bad things that went down in odd years. I'll spare you that though.
While this year hasn't been all bad race wise (I mean hello, I did finish my first Ironman), I've definitely had my share of less than stellar races. Even though some of the challenges this year have been tough, I really wouldn't trade them for anything b/c that's what makes you stronger. The tough times are the times that define you and show you who you are. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have some not so challenging races but I'm glad I've been able to learn the lessons I have this year.
It seems that this year I've had trouble with my own head. I've found myself doubting my abilities more than I'd care to admit although I've thankfully been able to stifle that noise for my bigger, more important races. My biggest issue this year has been my lack of confidence in my running. This has been a little strange to me as running is what I started with and what I truly loved. What the heck happened? I think we need a timeline........
Jan 2008 - 1st half marathon. My goal was to finish in 2.5hrs and I managed to finish in 2:10.
Feb 2008 - Having loved my first experience so much, I signed up for the Austin half the next month. I was on track for the same time as Houston until my hip went nutty at about mile 8 and I was forced to walk a ton.
Aug 2008 - After spending the rest of the year racing like a crazy woman, I started having leg issues. In August/September I found out I had a stress fracture in one of the smaller bones in my left leg. Bummer. No running for about 6 weeks.
Jan 2009 - Ran the Houston Half again. Finished in the 2:20 range. Disappointed but was coming off stress fracture so.....
Apr 2009 - Ran Angie's Half Crazy Half Marathon with a fever. Dumb. Finished in 2:20 or 2:30 range.
Aug 2009 - Are you kidding me? Had leg pain again and found out I had a stress fracture in the other small bone in my left leg. Major bummer. Did not start running again until after Thanksgiving.
Jan 2010 - Ran Houston Half again. I believe this was another 2:20 range. Bummed but thankful to finish given how much training was missed.
Jun 2010 - Sign up for IMTX and get focused....well, as focused as my job would let me!
Summer 2010 - Can't remember what exactly but was experiencing some cramping in legs a lot. No stress fracture but something wasn't right.
Sept 2010 - Clear Lake Sprint (C race). Had a very good showing in the swim and on the bike. Bad leg cramping for run. Went from placing 5th to last in the run. I was pretty bummed. This was a turning point for me.
For the purpose of this blog, I will stop there b/c what's happened since has been pretty well journaled on this blog. As I sat here today thinking about that race, I realized that was the point where I started thinking differently about my running. During my post race debrief, I was told that the run was my limiter and ever since then, that's what I've believed. While I don't think the person who told me this meant for it to have the impact it did, it certainly stuck with me.
So limiters are funny things. We all have them. Right? I don't know if this is going to make sense but I think a limiter is only a limiter if we allow it to be. I get it, I'm never going to run a 6 minute mile and so maybe that means I'm never going to win a race but if winning isn't my goal, then why does a slower run = a limiter? Does that make sense? And as I typed this paragraph, it occurred to me that as soon as I tell myself I will never run a 6 minute mile, I am guaranteeing I won't b/c I obviously don't believe in myself. Let's not kid ourselves though, I am no Adrienne Langelier. :) I wasn't gifted with the ability to post those kinds of numbers and that's ok!
As I (we) head into 2012 I think it's important to remember why I (we) race. If we are doing it to learn, grow, improve & have fun, then why must we look at our abilities as limited? The only limiters are the ones we impose on ourselves. I'm challenging myself to keep the negative talk out of my head in 2012 and get back to really enjoying racing and having fun when I'm out there. There will be no talk of limiters when you're around me!