Disappointment is a Big Scary Monster
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I was lamenting the crawl of morning traffic to Coach MK on the phone the other day, and she asked, “has it been raining? Why aren’t you biking like usual?”

“Oh,” I said, “no, the weather has been beautiful! I’m just trying to rest a little more.”

“OH, that’s right, you’re tapering! Sorry, I totally forgot!”
I laughed. “You know what, me too!”

It’s weird, but both my running coach and I keep forgetting about the marathon that’s a week away. I’m taking this as a good sign. She’s not worried about my physical or my mental state, and I’m honestly too busy to do much besides go out and do my run, and the discovery that actually, the last 20-mile run is done , and I *only* have 40 minutes to do today is the one thing that reminds me of what I am about to go do. It’s weird how stealthily the marathon has snuck up on me, and even as I’m here shrugging it off, I’m starting to get excited. Not even nervous, just giddy excited.

The Morning Mantra Podcast episode that aired yesterday examines disappointment and the way I relate to it. I taught myself at a very young age that occasional disappointment was far less tolerable than perpetual pessimism, and that if I always erred on the side of resignation I would be able to go through life giving disappointment a wide berth. Nothing hurt me worse than hoping for something, much less planning on that thing, and then seeing it fall apart. Nothing felt like more of a failure than falling short of expectations, especially my own.

I resolutely concluded some time ago, after too many frustrating races, that the only way for me to continue running was to approach it with the attitude that my 8-year-old self discovered years ago: expect that nothing good will happen, enjoy being pleasantly wrong if it ever does, and grimly congratulate yourself on being right the rest of the time.

Back in December, I wrote about how I’d eliminated the idea of goals and expectations for my running in 2018 . No signing up for races until the week of; focus instead on just moving through the year one month at a time, maintaining enough fitness that I could pretty much sign up for anything I wanted on a whim. It was a great year, and I ran some unbelievably good 5Ks and 10Ks . But I was still hiding from the potential for disappointment behind the lowest possible expectations. A good and self-preserving way to go about things, to be sure, but one that prevented me from confronting my belief that disappointment - me disappointing others, and me disappointing myself - was the worst thing I could ever feel.

Fearing disappointment to this extent has always been second nature, barely even worth noting. As my daughter got old enough to form expectations and manifest disappointment, though, I found myself trying to anticipate and avoid her disappointment almost as much as my own. I go out of my way to give her accurate expectations about what will happen, and I never tell her about any hypothetical possibility that isn’t yet a sure thing. But then I see that when something doesn’t go as planned, she’s far more resilient about it than I’d thought possible. She’s pissed for a minute - she really wanted that thing! - but her excitement is never slow to return. Maybe disappointment is the inherent counterpart to the rush of emotion and anticipation and curiosity.

For this upcoming marathon, as much as MK and I keep forgetting that it’s happening, I think it might be a really great day. I’m letting myself feel excited and hopeful. I think the chances are high that I will have my first really good marathon experience since 2007, and I want that more than anything else; while I am genuinely curious about how fast I will go, I’m turning firmly away from making a wish list on a sliding scale of exciting-to-merely-acceptable finish times. I will be disappointed if I don’t get to have the great day I want: if the weather sucks, or if I get a side stitch, turn my ankle, catch a cold from my kid, and you know what, I better stop there before I jinx myself. I know any of those things could absolutely happen, but I’m willing to hope for better. Maybe even for the best. #coachedandloved.

You are coached, you are loved, and you are winning at life,
Coach Sarah

PS: If you are interested in how the athletes we train in the Fitness Protection Program ramp up to marathon-ready, visit our website to learn about our approach! Marathon training plans are available FOR FREE to our paid subscribers, and we provide all the guidance you need to use them wisely!

PPS: If you enjoy the content I am creating over here, PLEASE forward this email to your friends and encourage them to sign up! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your support as I start this totally new, totally unexpected, career change!
Weekly Podcast Roundup
Speaking of fall marathons, we tackle several questions from our runners in Maintain who are getting ready to race in our latest #AskAway live Q&A session!

This week on the Running Life podcast, we launched a critical conversation about what we saw, heard, and felt when we watched the movie Brittany Runs A Marathon. Starting with a teaser episode last Monday featuring Amy, one of MK's runners, we went full-blown Brainfire of the Vanities yesterday with a discussion of fat-shaming, diet culture, and some very ingrained cultural beliefs about bodies. BUCKLE UP.

Tuesday's Morning Mantra was Nah, I'm good, which was how Coach Sarah felt when she watched the trailer for Brittany Runs A Marathon. BUT, she went and saw it so you wouldn't have to!

On Wednesday, Coach MK issued a powerful message about what true help looks like. If your response to someone's struggle is an effort to educate them about what to do differently...you may be doing it wrong.

Thursday's mantra was a short, sweet, and NEEDED reminder that sometimes the greatest gift you can give yourself is a big old NOPE. AMEN TO THAT!

Finally, on Friday's episode of the Mantra pod, Coach Sarah reflected on her age-old fear of disappointment and the barriers it has built around her heart. They may not fall overnight, but they are far from eternal.
Do you like silly faces and downloading things? ROS DOES!

Are you interested in giving our ReBuild program a try?
Click HERE for the ReBuild Puzzle Document that accompanies the ReBuild Episode of the Running Life Podcast (air date 9/7/19).

And don't worry, we are cooking up an exciting episode of Running Life (coming October 4th!) that will be ALL ABOUT our Maintain program, featuring the voices of our amazing athletes!

Click HERE for the EAT Explanation sheets ( and here for the EAT podcast).

Click HERE for the EAT execution sheet.

Click HERE for Coach Sarah's recipes for running success.

BE LIKE ROS and follow Coach Sarah EVERYWHERE!

and SPEAKING of following Coach Sarah, did you hear her segment on Ask A Running Coach with The Half Marathoner? Sarah and Terrell talked races, perspective, and how to get faster as a runner. Click below to listen in your podcast player!
Viola Askey is #winningatlife!!! Viola is an exceptional outdoorswoman, a mom of two, and as of last weekend she is an Olympic-distance duathlete !!! Viola writes: The last 1.5 was amazing. Totally zoned in, I could hear nothing but my breath and footfalls. My head was up and the finish line was in sight. The finish line, scratch that My Finish Line . And my finish was greater than anything I dreamt of.
Viola's TRUE GRIT is no surprise to those of us in Maintain. She radiates kindness and encouragement and truly awe-inspiring tenacity every day, and we are SO PROUD OF HER.
To be featured here as well as our Facebook and Instagram pages, use the tags #coachedandloved or #fitnessprotectionllc when you post photos on Instagram, telling the world what Fitness Protection means to you!
And continuing with this week's theme of multi-sport badasses, we want to give a big shoutout to Alison Melley, who is absolutely positively #winningatlife!!!! Alison is a mom of five, a professor, and a triathlete who WON HER AGE GROUP last weekend in a totally unplanned fashion!
Alison writes:  I kept saying in my head “if this sets back your running because you overdid it, you know how to handle it - because, fitness protection.” I kinda felt like I was doing something i shouldn’t, by going fast - but i was having so much fun! Sometimes I have to take the risk, it makes it easier to make the conservative decisions I usually make.
Congratulations to Alison on her rock-solid consistency through ups and downs - THAT IS HOW YOU WIN!!