I have talked about this before. If you know me, it is likely we have had this conversation before. It was the reason I started the Be Brave. Be Strong. Be You. Movement, and I intend on keeping it going, showing every single person I possibly can that YOU, yes you, have something to offer this world.
Runners can often fall into the trap (and then fall into it again and again during our lives) of associating our self worth with our identity as a runner.
The activewear video may be a parody, but there is a part of that which rings very true for runners.
I remember when I was a teenager, I was embarrassed to be seen out running. I did not want people knowing that I thought cross country was “cool”. As funny as that is for me to now look back on, in some ways life was better that way. I went out and did what I needed to do, and then got on with the rest of my life; working hard at school, building friendships, spending time with your loved ones.
In a lot of ways, my life hasn’t changed, but the running aspect has.
Not only does everyone now know I am a runner, but I promote it, runners want people to know we are runners, and we wear those clothes around with pride.
Now running is cool, and more and more people are taking it up every day, I LOVE that, but during my life it opened my eyes to one major thing; there is so much more to life than running.
Don’t worry, I am not giving it up, nowhere close!
You now know that I have had the opportunity to make the world team for the half marathon championships, and if not, but in 2015 I had a lot of good races, and upon reflecting, I realized that a lot of that came down to the fact that I did not try to control everything. I did not place my self worth on the result of that race, and I did not think about what others would think of me if I did not race to my potential.
Okay, that last part is not quite as good as it sounds. Of course those thoughts still came through my head, and I even had a few moments in races where I would be thinking about what I would write on my Instagram picture post race or what I would say on my blog post write up. BUT, I knew that at that finish line, no matter what happened, I would still be me, and those people who loved me, would love me no matter what, and the people who would say mean things, or want you to do badly, well, those are not people we want to surround ourselves with anyway.
I still struggle with this, every day.
But in 2015, I really allowed my true colors to come through, and one of my biggest strengths is that I am prepared to share the shitty things that happen to me, including my weight gain.
I am a very optimistic person, and I loved the article I read a awhile back on Huffington Post about why I will not apologize for what I share on facebook, I am a big believer in an attitude of gratitude, and the more you dwell on things, the more bad will appear in your life as you are looking for it.
However, as we all know, running is full of ups and downs. In fact, there are more downs that up, and we often wonder why we put ourselves through it.
It is because running is so fulfilling, so rewarding.
In a world where we have access to almost everything we need at all times, it feels so good to be challenged. So good to see what YOU can do, and discover who YOU are, THAT is what makes us feel the most alive.
Running does give us this, a chance to feel alive, strong, powerful, confident, and do something that is just for us, but at the end of the day, you are still you. Running will always be there waiting for you, but we have to have other things going on, and that’s where so many of us trip up.
When I was on my honeymoon, one of our runs in Australia, I looked over to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and I thought about just how much this world has to offer. As an elite runner (or anyone who is committed to their running), we give up a lot to be good at running, and it does bring us those wonderful moments I just talked about, BUT we cannot live in a state like that for our whole lives.
That, my friends, is why I am urging you to let go.
After those big races, after you have accomplished a HUGE goal, or not. If you gave your all for that goal, and still fell short. Let it go.
Running will be there for you for life, its something that doesn’t hold grudges, or prevent you from ever returning, but missing out on memories and moments that you will have for life, those will pass you by, and before you know it, the excuses will be too easy to reach, and it will be too late.
So that is why on our honeymoon, we took unexpected days off. We ate everything and anything we wanted. We stuffed ourselves so full of fat and sugar that we could barely walk, but you know what, those are the times I will remember.
I worked so hard for my running goals this year, but that also meant I earned some time to just be me. Be the Tina where running falls a little down the list, where running does not dictate my day, and where I can put my love for another human being before my own desires to run fast.
Yes, I chose carefully, I made sure I did this at a time where I was only in base building mode, so it did not really matter too much, but the point is, we tend to accomplish one goal, and barely finish raising our hands in the air at the finish line before we are thinking about what we want next.
I am vowing to take more time to appreciate what my body has done, and give more time to just living than I have in the past, and I hope you will join me.
My running is now back to dictating my life, but with a renewed sense of content thanks to the time where it was not the focus.
Even with this realization, I still have to re-remind myself to let go, just a few weeks later. As I drive myself crazy trying to figure out if I have a hope of being selected for the GB team, I need to keep in mind that regardless of if I am picked or not, it does not define who I am.
Don’t let running define your life, we tend to run our best races when we are happy, in every area of our lives, and I hope I can keep this balance going for 2016 and beyond.
Be Brave. Be Strong. Be You. In every single area of your life!
I love this so much as, the older I get and the longer Im a mom, I’ve realized NOTHING IS MY EVERYTHING. I need all things in order to live fully and completely. <3
Such a great post and something I am still learning, xx
I want to stand up and applaud this Tina! Running and competing is what I DO, not who I AM. I constantly remind myself of that but, as you know, it can be hard.
Great post Tina and I can relate. I think as runners and humans, we get into a trap that our hobby is our life but everyone has more. We are more than what our favorite hobby or job is. When I get injured, it’s a time to reflect and to allow me to look at other things. I can’t wait to see how you’ll do with upcoming racing and I hope you are able to run Worlds!
LOVE IT!!! And I love that this mindset can be applied to any hobby, etc. Thanks Tina!
I know we’ve chatted about this a little. When I was injured and felt so far from a runner, I felt lost. I felt like I wasn’t me anymore. It’s true running is what I do, but it’s not what makes up ME. I learned that I can survive without running and it’s a small part of who I am. Love this and love you! 🙂
Great post, lady! I think it’s important not to let any single thing define us, because who we are is a culmination of SO many different thoughts, beliefs, experiences, etc. And putting all our eggs in one basket just means we’re selling ourself short of the awesome multi-faceted thing that we are.
So true. It became so clear to me that I was letting running take over and have a control over me when I got injured and couldn’t run. I became so down and sad, nothing could make me feel better. It’s dangerous to focus so much on one thing and depend on it for happiness. Now I have more balance and other things I can get enjoyment from.
I don’t think anything should be allowed to define you–you should define you. I am a runner, but I am also a wife, a foodie, a writer, a blogger, a coach, a trainer, a dog lover, a yogi, a cat mommy, a future mommy, a daughter, a daughter in law.
I always find it difficult when people ask what I do. I do what drives me. I am “working” on my vacation, but this is my life, and I am not losing out on any experiences by working, because it has its time and its place.
Great, thought provoking post. I did let running define me this past year. I’m working to get some balance back in my life. What do they say, recognizing the problem is the first step?
This is a great post and how brave you are to discuss and share your story about weight gains. It is not easy. Thank you, friend, for helping me to focus on the good and minimize or at least squish the bad into a tiny box that can be reviewed, dissected, and then kicked out at a later point.
I love this statement: Running will always be there waiting for you, but we have to have other things going on, and that’s where so many of us trip up–I think it’s such an important realization that we need to have goals in ALL aspects of our lives, because if we just focus on one aspect, then the others will falter.
I love this post. I think maybe it’s something that you realize as you get older. Although I’m not that old, I’ve realized X activity or group or whatever isn’t everything. We all easily fall into the mindset that things we do define us, but they don’t! Most of my favorite moments were too busy being enjoyed to be shared on social media this past year anyways!
Absolutely… so many good nuggets here. I wrestled a bit with running taking over my life in marathon training, and I’m not doing anything near the miles you do! The breaks are really key to avoid burn out and remind ourselves that life is about so much more than running!
Love this Tina! It applies to so many aspects of life too beyond running. xoxo
This is great and I have always believed that defining yourself by one thing no matter what that one thing is can be dangerous and very frustrating.
Loved this post! One of my big goals for the year is finding a better balance between running and everything else. I tend to be so focused on one thing (now it’s running but was other things before running) that I lose sight of everything else. I know I need to change that and am working on it. Thanks for reminding me why it’s so important to achieve that balance!
I love you, Tina. You are such a running inspiration. Here you are doing what you love but knowing that it’s not everything in life. LOVE that about you! You share the whole picture, not just what people think “elites” do and think about all the time.
Some very wise words and will try to remember them every time I cross the finish line – on good days as well as bad. I keep forgetting your mantra be brave, be strong, be you… but then when I see it again, I remember how good it is. I need to remember this!
Really love this post and I think it can apply to anything we get caught up in, running or not. It’s easy to lose ourselves and with that lose perspective, but those are the times we miss out on the great moments!
Love everything about this post. I have loved running for so long and it has always been important to me, but I agree that balance in key. When I was having my babies, I put running on the back burner. It was there and I loved how it made me feel, but it wasn’t as important to me.I remember signing up for a marathon when my son was 8 months old and ultimately I didn’t run the race. I just didn’t have my heart in it – my heart was completely at home with my baby! 🙂 I think it ebbs and flows in our life and that is what keeps us healthy. I love how you balance it all and it was so wonderful to see you fully enjoying your honeymoon!! xo
Such a great post Tina! This truly applies to so much in life beyond running too!
What a great post Tina and I can totally relate. I think I came to a similar realization this past year and I’m kind of letting go of the pressure this year and surprisingly it feels great. I still have goals to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but I”m going to take this year to just be, run for the fun and enjoy some things that I push to the side when I’m training. Running doesn’t define me, and I’m trying to expand on that as I apply for grad school and put my focus and energy in other places of my life!
This is well written and it is so true that running can’t be everything, I completely understand your struggle worrying about your weight. However, I read your post Be Brave. Be Strong. Be You. and I just wanted to clarify one thing: you indicate in the article that you “never let yourself go down that [eating disorder] path”. I’m sure you didn’t mean it like it came off but just as an FYI, an eating disorder is not a choice, it is a deadly mental illness and while there are many factors that pre-disposition someone to developing the disorder it’s not something where people wake up one day and decide to just get one.