You might be thinking that that is not a particularly illuminating point. However, it got me thinking. Purposefully or not, I am constantly comparing myself to my training partners and competitors. If they run faster than me, they must be doing something or thinking better than me. What if, I am a mellow married mom who enjoys pushing myself and isn't a balls-out predator when I race. So what? Will that mean I will never reach my goals? No! Does that even mean I am actually underperforming right now? No! In fact, what if I am actually doing my best and racing and running very well for myself right now. What is the harm in self-acceptance? Nothing. Self-acceptance doesn't mean I am content to be a low 18 5k'er. I can go for improvement and still accept my racing style, my strengths and weaknesses and my self, generally.
It's easy to get sucked into this self-deprecating spiral during a hard training cycle. Miss an interval, or a milage goal, or a race dream time or whatever, and everything seems for nothing. The world stops. There is SOMETHING wrong with me if I don't do x, y or z. But there's not. We just are what we are and it can actually be ok!
On the advice of E, I read these two blog posts. One by Magdalena Lewy-Boulet and the other a response from Camille Heron. Both stressed the importance of tenacity. After my Johnnycake Jog disappointment I flirted for a brief second with bagging my running dreams. What was the point of all that hard training and butt-busting for 1 second? Mrp addressed my frustration and urged me on: "the difference between champions and everyone else is that the champions keep going after disappointment."
Tears welled up in my eyes as I typed that. I think I finally get it. I am not doing anything wrong. I'm just not there yet.