Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Mentor's Perspective

Back in November when Tricia asked me if I would be interested in being a mentor for the Texas Girlfriend's Program for the Zooma Half Marathon, it took me FOREVER to give her an answer.  The reasons for taking so long to respond were few:
1. I look up to Tricia.  She is a REAL runner (or least what I considered to be a REAL runner at the time).  As much as I tout how much strength and power I have and how much I have learned about myself through running and I called myself a runner, I still had insecurities and doubts when I compared myself to others.  There was still a tiny voice in my head that once in a while would yell at me that I was a *poser*, a *faker*, not a *real* runner.  Can I ask ya'll something- WHAT THE HELL IS A REAL RUNNER?!  Someone, please tell me.
Zooma 2011- me, Tricia, and Erika
THAT is why I stopped the comparison game.  Instead of feeling good about what I was doing and enjoying the journey, I was bringing myself and MY accomplishments DOWN because they just didn't seem to measure up to others' accomplishments.  I am not the fastest nor the strongest, nor the ultra distance runner.

I run/walk.
I sweat a lot.
I chug a lot of water.
Sometimes my running is awkward.
My pace hovers between 11-12 minute miles.
I wear a lot of gadgets.
I have aches and pains.
I have to do yoga in the morning before going out for a morning run.
I have to stretch.
I am on a first name basis with my sports chiropractor.
Running does not come natural to me.
I have to work at it all of the time.
Sometimes I hate running.
Most times I love it.

It took me a long time to realize that MY accomplishments are just that- MINE.  Not anyone else's to take away or to compare against.  Just because I don't run 7 minute miles (or even 8m/m or 9m/m - ha!), just because I have never done a marathon, just because I am a mom of three who lives in suburbia and run with every gadget known to man, just because it takes me 10 minutes of adjusting my *things/gadgets/clothes* before I can finally hit the trail, just because it takes me a good 20 minutes of running to hit my stride, and just because sometimes I can walk faster than I run, does not mean I am not a runner.

Mind you, no one has ever said to me that I am not a runner.  This has all been in my head.

The mind- it can either be your best friend, pushing you to do things you've never done before or it can be your worst enemy.

I am completely off tangent.  Well, anyone that knows me knows that I like to ramble and talk and laugh up a storm. Eh.

The point is that once I got over myself and truly believed that I am indeed a runner and that I had something to offer a newbie to the field, then I was ready to commit.

2 (yes, there is a 2).  At one time, I had wanted to RACE Zooma, beating my time from last year.  I had finally added strength training to my running mix, I felt stronger than ever, I was in a good place mentally and I knew, I JUST KNEW, that I could blow my Zooma time from 2011 out of the water.
I also knew that if I agreed to mentoring a new runner for Zooma, that I would no longer be running for me, but I would be helping her.  It sounds selfish, but this really weighed on my mind for a while.  I so badly wanted to train and BEAT my time from last year.  I wanted to see what I could push my body to do, I wanted to see what super-star goal I could I achieve with the right training mix.

BUT then again, the thought of sharing my love of running with someone new, meeting new running friends, and doing something NEW (being a mentor) also pulled at my heart strings.  I came to the conclusion that there will always be other races to run, where I can PR, but I might not have another chance to mentor someone new to running.

I wanted to be a part of this program, the Texas Girlfriends Program.

I gave up thoughts of PR'ing at Zooma and instead, took Carmen under my wing. And Donna. And Laura. And Kim : ).
It has been the best decision I have ever made.

This past Sunday, Carmen ran the Cap 10K.  I had the opportunity to take her picture as she was running towards the finish line.  Check it out- after running 6.2 miles in the heat and humidity- she is SMILING as she crosses the finish line. Beaming from ear to ear.  I freaking LOVE it because I sure as heck wasn't beaming when I crossed the finish line.
I don't care to run for me this Saturday.  Today, just a few days from race day, all I care about is helping Carmen get through some aches and pains that she is experiencing and helping her across the finish line.  I will do whatever it takes to make sure she can do just that, whether it's jabbering away for 13.1 miles, or making her laugh, or being so darn silly on the course that it makes her forget exactly what we are doing, I will do whatever it takes.

Carmen is one strong woman.  We have so much in common in regards to life.  She has brought joy back to my running and for that, I thank her.

Now, bring on the 13.1!!!!
Also, could ya'll leave Carmen and I some kind words of support, encouragement and love?  We're ready for Saturday but it always feels nice to know the internetz got your back : ).


Erin said...

I love this post so much! You are a real runner and thanks to your help, Carmen is a real runner, too. I can't wait to hear your race report.
I am a little jealous, too. I'll be going my first half alone on Sunday--I wish I had someone like you by my side to cheer me on.

carla said...

I LOVE how you say she's brought the joy back to your running.


Brooke said...

of course we've got your back!!! :) maybe carmen can do a guest blog race report? or a joint race report? either way i can't wait to read all about it.

Carmen said...

You brought tears to my eyes, as I sit here hoping that this sciatic pain ends quickly (by the way, it is feeling sooo much better today).
You have been such an inspiration to me...I don't consider myself a runner...yet...but you have made me feel closer to it! I am ready to finish that race with you by my side!!
Thanks for all you have done to help me!
Besides the pain in my ass right now...I am really looking forward to this run on Saturday (that's why when it started hurting...I started crying).
Anyway....THANK YOU, LISA! and thanks to Tricia for pairing us up!!!

Thea @ It's Me Vs. Me said...

You hot ass RUNNERS are going to kick ass on Saturday. I can't wait to hear how awesome you did!

This crazy life of mine... said...

I *love* this post. If you recall, more than a year ago, I messaged you on FB and told you what an inspiration you were to me and you were helping me to get off my butt. I've had ups and downs since then but I have in the last several months realized how much I love to run. And the list you made about your running is so much like mine. SO much. Thank you for all your inspiration - I am always watching for it! And, GO CARMEN!!

Julliat said...

I have learned about myself through running and I called myself a runner, I still had insecurities and doubts when I compared myself to others. There was still a tiny voice in my head that once in a while. Lidocaine

Leigh Ann said...

I'm so glad you shared this! That was exactly my hesitation with mentoring someone in the challenge. I feel like such a noob that I wouldn't have anything to contribute. Sometimes I'm so wrapped up in my own head that I forget to reach out to those I'm committed to helping. But if I get through this race and if I'm lucky enough to be chosen as an ambassador again next year, I will definitely look to mentor someone. You're an inspiration!