Thursday, April 5, 2012

On Peer Pressure

I want to start this post off by saying how much I truly love being a part of the blogging community. Everybody is so supportive and friendly and I love the sense of community that there is.

I first started blogging about a year ago after I had my third surgery in as many years. I was officially done swimming competitively and felt pretty lost with my life. I had always been defined as a swimmer but all of a sudden I could no longer compete. At this time I made a bucket list of all the things that I wanted to do since I didn't really have any commitments anymore. I specifically remember thinking about putting an Ironman on my list but then decided that it would be too hard and took it off my list.

After I started reading running blogs, though, I started thinking that running a marathon or completing an Ironman were no longer out of the question. I was reading about people like Page and Aron who were gearing up to run their first Boston Marathon, and people like Emily who was training for her first Ironman. I was constantly reading about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and this made me aspire to be like them. All of a sudden I found myself thinking about what it would be like to run a marathon.

I took this inspiration and decided to sign up for my first half marathon. I loved that I was doing that required training and was considered an endurance event. And as much as I truly loved every moment of running my first, and even second, half marathon I felt like I wasn't a true runner or endurance athlete yet. So many people were doing more than I was and reading their blogs only reminded me of that.

After I ran the Rock N' Roll USA Half Marathon a few weeks ago I was trying to decide what I wanted to do next in terms of running. I knew I wanted to focus on completing my first triathlon but I felt pressure to do more. I am a pretty strong swimmer, and even though I have done some road races I still do not consider myself a strong runner. I spent hours trying to come up with some training plan that would enable me to complete a fast triathlon.

After a few very stressful days, though, I realized that it really doesn't matter how fast I complete anything.  Of course I love reading about super speedy runners and triathletes but they also have a lot more experience than I do. I was putting so much pressure on myself to perform at a level that was comparable to my favorite bloggers. But that just isn't realistic.

I am making a pledge to myself to spend the rest of this training cycle solely focusing on myself. No more comparing myself to others. No more telling myself that I am not an athlete. Just because I am not the fastest doesn't mean that I am not doing something amazing. It is so easy to get caught up in what everyone around you is doing but that is not going to help you at all.

I often forget that I have been running for less than a year. I am not expected by anyone to go run a BQ marathon with such little running experience. I fell in love with running last year because it came with no pressure and because I truly enjoyed it. I think it is great that Page is training for her first Ironman and Aron is running her first 50 mile ultramarathon this weekend but that is them. I need to focus on making myself proud and doing the things that push my limits.

1 comment :

  1. I think this post is a great step. Trust me, I've been in your exact position and felt like I wasn't doing enough. But it's so important that we do this for ourselves and no one else. Find what makes you happy and do it because it makes you happy and no one else.