You see that picture?  She looks happy right?  Caught in the moment with a smile on her face, not a care in the world.  You see that picture and might wish or hope that you could be that happy.  That’s what social media is all about.  Nobody posts their bad pictures or their bad days.  You only see smiles on people’s faces and how great their lives are, but don’t see the frenzy going on behind the scenes .  I’ve fallen into this trap.  Writing these articles has perpetuated how much I project on social media.  I’m posting how great I feel after a run and how I’m so happy about how my body is changing with a better diet and increased exercise.  I’ve dug myself deeper and deeper and stopped analyzing how I’m actually feeling.  I care more about how I look on a website than how I feel on a daily basis.  Well here it is, stripped down, with no filter.  It’s time we start using social media to speak the truth.

I’m going to start this off by saying that I have never been more stressed and worn thin than I have over the past month.  I haven’t been myself.  I feel like a robot.  I’m sure you all have close friends or family that have trained before.  It’s not something unique to me and not everybody has had the same reactions as me.  I spent Saturday during and after a brutally humid & dehydrated 14 mile  run looking back and reflecting on myself.  Why did I decide to run with a group who is beyond my pace, just to end up miserable and failing?  Why do I get upset with myself when I don’t reach my desired potential?  For anybody that knows me, they know that I’m a competitive person, more-so with myself than with anybody else.  If I’m going to do something, I don’t settle for anything less than stellar.  I don’t want to miss any miles during the week because if the marathon doesn’t go well, I want to tell myself that I did everything I could.  I care about what other’s think and say about me.  I have to do well and I can’t fail or else people will judge me.

My #1 priority has become training and running.  It’s become so much a priority that I’ve gotten inside my head and I’ve taken this thing that I used to love doing and made it a chore. It’s become an unhealthy competition with myself.  It’s not only affected my running, but my personal and professional life as well.  Of course, when you’re training for a marathon, you’re going to have to make adjustments to your personal life.  It’s summer.  I’m traveling a lot and I’m still trying to do all the things I want to do.  I don’t want to say no to anything.  This leaves me with trying to run 15+ miles in places I know nothing about,  waking up at 5:00 to get a long run in,  asking my friends to do things a little bit later and making sacrifices I never thought I’d have to make. My best friend’s bachelorette party is in a couple of weeks and instead of getting myself excited for it, I’m stressing out about how I’m going to be able to train.   I started writing this blog at the same time I started training.  I work almost 50 hours a week.  I grocery shop and cook and clean.  I’m exhausted.  I’m physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.  I like to think that I’m generally a positive person and that my friends can come to me with anything.  I try to make everybody feel comfortable and happy.  For the past month, I feel like I haven’t been able to do that. I’ve been so wrapped up in my own life that this part of my personality has taken a hit.

On top of that, I don’t see how I’ll ever be able to run 26.2 miles.  I’m doubting myself to a point where I think it’s impossible.  I can’t fall asleep at night because I picture myself not crossing that finish line – not having what it takes and not being a good enough runner.

One thing that I’ve always liked about myself is my spontaneity.  The greatest thing about living where I do is that I can pick up and go to a play or a concert or just out to drinks at the drop of a dime.  Well, I’ve had to say goodbye to that for the last few months.  After work, I either have a run, a track workout or cross training.  I can’t go out for that happy hour with coworkers.   I can’t go out for a couple of glasses of wine on a Friday night because I’ve spent all week working on my hydration for the long, humid run on Saturday.  Those glasses of wine will ruin everything.  My Saturday 14-miler proved that.

Then, there’s dating.  I can’t say that I’ve ever been the most confident girl.  I’ve always struggled with weight, hair, skin or personality issues.  I’m not pretty enough or funny enough or smart enough.  Having some guy interested in me always helped with these issues.  I will say that running has indeed increased this confidence throughout the past year.  However,  I haven’t had a spare second to even think about dating.  In order to date, a guy would have to understand my schedule.  They’d have to know that all of my weekends for the next 2 months are fully booked and weekdays don’t look much better.  This is where the spontaneity thing comes up again.  I want somebody to know that side of me.   How am I supposed to get to know somebody when I can’t spend much time with them? Why would I want to wake up extra early to run in the morning in order to go on a date with somebody who will probably end up sucking?  It’s hard enough dating in New York as it is!  If I was already with somebody when I started this process, that’s a different story.  When you already know somebody and they already know you, they would understand and actually be supportive.  Unfortunately, this is not the situation I have.  I’m doing this great thing in my life and I’m still calculating my value based on what guys think about me.  There’s added pressure, times 1,000!

So, where do I go from here?  Taking the time and analyzing these problems is half the battle.  I have to recognize that I’m training for a marathon.  It’s not just any race.  Of course, it’s going to have a mental, physical and emotional effect on my life.  But, I have to tell myself that this is going to be one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.  Just finish it.  Get through it.  I can’t continue to put this pressure on myself.  I talked with my roommate on Saturday night and she made me realize something.  This is going to be over in 2 months.   I just have 2 more months of sacrifice.  Finishing a marathon is an accomplishment.  I need to step back and take the pressure off of myself.  Run with the slower group on Saturdays,  until I feel ready to push myself.  Get through the next 2 months and see whose on the other side.  Stop putting put these parameters on my life.  My friends and family have been so supportive during this whole process and I need to remember that.  I have an amazing support system and I have myself.  Putting all of this in writing has been therapeutic in itself.  I need to support myself, take care of myself and not put myself through so much.  The weight of the world is not on my shoulders and I’m not going  to win any races.  Just finish and do the best you can.  BE CONFIDENT.

What I’m doing is not easy.  I’m not the strongest person and this has become more clear as the months go on.  I have a limit that I’ve already crossed.  I’ve cried myself to sleep more times than I can count.  It’s time to live real.  I’ve put on this mask to face the world and it’s time to take it off.  I’m exhausted.  Period.  So please, bear with me.  I’m trying my best.  We all try our best on a daily basis.  My mind is frantic and I’m on the brink of disaster.  This post may seem a bit scattered brained, but that’s a glimpse into my head.

Now, to end it.  I do not and will never regret signing up for this race.  In reflecting over the past few days, I’ve learned so much about myself.  Each day, I push myself farther and farther and I know that I’m becoming a stronger person, both physically and mentally. Running truly makes me happy, but the pressure I’ve put on myself is what’s driving me over the edge.  I recognize that I have indeed gained confidence in myself, even if it’s just a small amount.   I’ve learned that it’s important not to just do tasks.  That’s when you become the robot.  Reflect on your process and your journey. It’s not just about the marathon either because I know that people feel like this on a daily basis.  Be sure that you’re always reflecting and make sure you’re happy!  Figure out where you can improve and determine your self worth.  That’s when you’ll truly get to know yourself and in turn, grow.  I’m getting through this hump of “insanity” (I use that term lightly, don’t take any offense) and writing this has actually helped significantly.  I can’t post about my experience without posting the absolute truth.  It’s not all about your successes, but you have to take your failures and the moments in your life when you’re feeling vulnerable and act on them.  I’m not the strong person that I may sometimes come off as and to be honest,  I don’t want to be.  To do a complete 180 from the beginning of this post,  I’ve actually become excited to see who I’ll become in the next 2 months and even in the next year!  I’m done with the pressure and the personal expectations.  I laid it all on the table and now, everybody knows.

Happy Running!