Sarah 2.0 is here. Sarah 1.0 quit. She DNFed the academic job market.
Everyone who knows me was confident I would absolutely become a tenured professor somewhere. I’m Dr. Sarah Axelrod, Harvard PhD who runs marathons in her spare time. I don’t fail at anything I do, of COURSE they believed in me. They know ME...but they don’t know the broken academic job market I was trying to enter. They didn’t know that success had nothing to do with how hard I worked, that I was fighting a losing battle.
I hated talking about my job search, even with the people I love most. Everyone needs to believe that hard work is always rewarded, it’s destabilizing to think otherwise. They were going to believe in me no matter what. They needed me to be okay, and I was definitely NOT okay most of the time. As job after job slipped away, I started wondering what I was doing, what was all this work for? Was I working smart, or performing hard work for the people who loved me?
DNFing the career I’d worked towards for 13 years was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. I knew some people, those people who love and believe in me, would still think I am a quitter because they cannot imagine a world where Dr. Sarah Axelrod can not, in fact, win through hard work; it’s easier to think I’m the problem to solve. I am proud of myself for calling it anyway. I am so excited for the things that await me now.
This is where life intersects with running: it’s detabilizing to think that hard work won’t be rewarded, that you could be fighting a losing battle due to injury, illness, or weather; all forces that are beyond your control and can outweigh months of hard work in an instant. It’s easy to say, “why bother trying?”
Please know that I see you and I hear you. I respect the hell out of you for staying, and I respect the hell out of you for calling it when it was time. I respect you for choosing to run every day because you love it and it makes you feel good, and I EXTRA respect the hell out of you for stopping when chasing that goal doesn’t make you feel good anymore.
Sarah 2.0 is not second place to Sarah 1.0. This is a brand-new Sarah with a brand-new attitude. She is not a wimp, and she is not a failure (she never was). Neither are you. Those forces that you’re working against - that you’ve been working against all your life, whether others acknowledge that or not - they say nothing about you, except that you’re tenacious as f*ck because you’re here
. Your finish time in - any event you enter, no matter the weather or the elevation or the competition - says nothing about you, except that you were willing to take a risk and put yourself out there to see what would happen. Your DNFs aren't easy ways out, they are choices that are tough as hell. I know, because they are choices I've made, too.
Your willingness to recognize your accomplishments for what they are, to value yourself first even when that means turning and walking in a different direction with a resounding “THANK YOU, NEXT” - that’s what tells me everything about you.
I cannot wait to see what’s in store for you, and for me. #coachedandloved
You are #coachedandloved and #winningatlife
Note from Coach MK:
Over the past five years, I have developed two distinct voices and approaches for the two very different audiences I was serving. Starting September 1, each voice will warrant its own brand. As such, there will be two newsletters: this one, CoachedandLoved from Coach Sarah, and Fitness Protection from Coach MK. You may subscribe to either or neither or both, depending on which voice is the best fit for you.
We are sending this to both FPP and CL mailing lists to make everyone aware of the new newsletters. Click the button below to opt into Coach Sarah's weekly newsletter from here on out, please. As a gift, you can download two of the recipes that changed her approach to meal prep!