I just ran the Mercedes Benz Corporate Run. I did what?! Yes, I just ran the Fucking-Corporate-Run! It took me 44:57 minutes to finish it, slow as funk, hip-crushing-painful, calves-burning, lungs-on-fire, but I FINISHED IT!
If a year ago you would’ve told me I was going to run the Corporate Run today, I would’ve laughed in your face and called you crazy. I never had physical aptitude for sports, much less for running. Exercise me? You must be out of your mind. Today I stand in awe of what my body just did. And I am floored. It has taken me months of interval workouts, intermittent runs, scarce spinning sessions and lots of self-pep-talk to make it to today. More than training sessions I had moments of self-discovery.
When I run I usually make the same mistake over and over. First I sprint like a motherfucker. Then I walk. Then I realize I should not have sprinted and I pace myself. But while I’m pacing myself my brain takes over. It goes on autopilot and starts hammering about anything and everything that I have ZERO control over. He who breaks your heart, she who you must raise, that to pay the bills, they who’re getting old, they who judge you constantly. And the next thing I know, I’m sprinting again. And then I crash and burn and finish my miles walking because there is no way on earth I’m going to run that last mile.
Demons are real, peeps. They live inside your head. But here’s the secret: it is still YOUR head. Take control and cage the demons. How I do it? By faintly following MY rules. Not theirs.
Pep-talk yourself everyday. This is your business. Make a list of your Standard Operating Procedures. Follow them.
It goes something like this. Break it down:
1. THROW YOUR EGO IN THE GARBAGE CAN:
Get rid of the misconception that you always have to win. We’re not all straight A students. Some of us get Cs, and THAT-IT’S-OK! So what if you didn’t win the race? You had fun didn’t you? That’s what matters. Do it for fun, not for recognition. Your ego is your very own worst enemy. Shut it out. Ignore it. Stop comparing yourself to others. You are unique and you run like yourself, not like your friend (that’s a seasoned race runner), not like your cousin (that just ran a 50 miler), not like Forrest Gump. You run your own run. This is your show, no one else’s. Rock it!
2. TELL YOUR BRAIN IT’S NOT IN CHARGE:
Brains are a dangerous thing to have. Blessed are those who lack the wit. Your brain will tell you everything you cannot do. You cannot run. You cannot succeed. You cannot be happy. You’re not good enough. You will never find love again. You will never be a good mother. And the damn thing will drive you to tears. IGNORE IT. It will get the message eventually and it will follow you. Yes it will. I promise. When your brain tells you to stop running because your legs are giving out on you, challenge it. Tell it: I bet you I can make it to the corner. And when you make it to the corner raise your bet. Always bet on you. You’ll be rich in confidence by the end of the run. Yes you will. I promise.
3. DESIGN THE SOUNDTRACK OF YOUR LIFE:
Music is an instant mood altering mechanism. Choose your running playlist wisely. Last thing you want to do is to be in the middle of a great run and a total downer to pop-up in your headphones. That kills the soul. Spend lots of time seasoning your playlist. Take pride on it. Make it bold, and spicy and, well, yours. Taylor it to your body. I find it empowering to run with Eminem blasting in my ears. There’s something about his angry rhythm that just sets my legs on fire. Find that song that just hits you in the gut. Put it in replay if you have to. I have had the same song in replay for days. FIND-YOUR-STYLE.
4. FUEL YOUR FIRE:
Find that spark that fuels your fire. No matter what it is, find it. Search for it relentlessly. And don’t ever stop. Everything can turn into fuel. So you’re heartbroken? FUEL. So you hate your job? FUEL. So you’re so busy you can’t breathe? FUEL. So you look at yourself in the mirror and frown at that image? FUEL. FIND-YOUR-SPARK! Tell me I’m a quitter, I finish. Tell me I’m horrible, I shine. Tell me you don’t have time for me, I will show you what an empty space looks like. Find the cause and the effect will follow.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY:
I have read every article there is on training for beginner runners, how to eat, how to walk, how to comb your hair, and every other ritual there is about the sport. Cut that shit out right now. While it is very important to inform yourself, be selective on the practices you adopt from others. Listen to your body, it knows best. If you don’t feel like drinking that bucket of green gunk and prefer a cold glass of chocolate milk, drink the damn chocolate milk. You’re not violating the running code of conduct. The sprinting police won’t come after you. THIS-IS-ABOUT-YOU, and only you know when to push yourself or nurture yourself.
6. SURROUND YOURSELF BY GREATNESS:
Recognize what’s weighing you down and let that shit go. LET-IT-GO-NOW! The only things that weigh you down are those you allow to be stepped on by. (Refer to number two.) You are in charge. So what if he wasn’t there and you had the perfect evening planned out in your head? He wasn’t meant to be with you on race day. Let go of the script in your head. Live the real movie. Adapt to change. Rejoice in the fact that your best friend just pushed you through the finish line and she didn’t even want to be there! Find more fuel in the smiles of the people who cheered you the entire time and you have no idea who any of them are. Surround yourself with those who fuel your fire. Rumi said it and if Rumi said it, it’s law:
“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.”