Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Patience vs. The Ego

Wait! What?!

This was my response when I read an email from Annie at the Ottawa Marathon.

The email invited me to be one of four runners to be coached by Canadian Marathoner Rob Watson, for the 2014 Ottawa Marathon.

Wait! What?! <is this a joke>

It seems as though my experience of being a recovering boozer and a runner, along with my blog highlighting these accounts caught the attention of the folks in Ottawa.

Wait! What?!



After reading the email several times to be certain I was clear on what was being offered, I sat with it for a bit. I didn't quite know how to feel.

"Why me?" was the first thing that came to my mind. My story is not unique. Recovering alcoholics/addicts that run are almost a dime a dozen. I have connected with many of them through social media. What is different about me?

I still don't have that answer, but I am on board, sailing with this ship.

I have (as far as I am concerned) served my surgical recovery time and as of this week I am ready to run.

The next four months are going to be filled with a lot of work as I prepare for the Ottawa Marathon which will be my second marathon. Here's the problem...

I am already setting lofty goals and putting a bit of pressure on myself to work harder, and be faster. This is the "got to be better" mind set that, in running and in life gets me in trouble. I was patient and accepting (begrudgingly) as I trained for my first marathon for two reasons. The first reason was that I was more focused on getting through the training cycle without being injured. The second factor was that I was inexperienced and until the day I actually ran 42.2km, I didn't really believe I could do it. For these two reasons, I was kind to myself and told myself that finishing the damn race was good enough, never mind how fast or slow I finished it.

I followed my coach's training plan and let things happen organically. I pushed when it was called for, I ran easy when it was scheduled and I rested when I was supposed to. I made it through the preparation without any catastrophic injuries and I made it to the start and finish lines of my first marathon. I am pleased with those accomplishments...but I am not really pleased with my performance which is why I have started to get all pressure-y with myself for Ottawa.

"I gotta do better. I gotta be better."

These are the words I hear in my head. I can lie to myself and say it doesn't matter about "better", but it does, it always has. I have tried many times to outwit my ego, in fact there have been times that I have done it for short periods, but it always manages to weasel it's agenda into my thinking..."be better than you are".

Rob has sent me a few emails inquiring about my running history and today I got a message from him with encouragement that already, early on in the training, is in effect saying  'patience, young Padawan'. I am thrilled that with a few emails back and forth he has zeroed in on my ego and its damn need for me to be 'better'. He is urging me to trust him and my training and once again be patient with the results. This is the same song and dance my previous coach gave me and I am suspecting that when I run my fifteenth marathon, there will be a coach echoing the same sentiments. It's the ego's fault. I want to be reasonable and realistic but there's always that voice that says " be better". I don't resent this voice. I actually wonder who I would be with it constantly at me. The ego may have misplaced intentions behind its drama, but it definitely motivates me to produce and succeed. I might be an unmotivated couch potato without it.

Along with the physical preparation for the Ottawa marathon, I am going to examine my ego and how it
impacts what I do and how I do it. Can I be the same 'me' without my ego pushing me? We will see.

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