How Grit Can Become a Crutch
I am forever grateful for the grit that I have within me. I will always grit it out. Don't get me wrong, I am not a death over DNF girl when there are physical limitations that border on dangerous. But I am a fucking grinder on race day. I am a gritty ass bitch.
At times, this is not a strength, but a hinderance. I can rely too heavily on the fact that I am gritty and use it as an excuse not to work hard enough in workouts. That might look like me skipping the last interval because I am really fatigued from not sleeping well, which is a reality. But I could have done the last interval. Maybe it is me under-hydrating on a long run because I was just in a flow and instead of doing the rig
ht thing by my body and forcing myself to drink instead of just going through the motions. It might be me pouring myself a glass of wine and staying up way too late watching The Challenge like it's 1999 the night before a workout because "it's fine, I'll still get it done." Or maybe it is me cutting my 20 mile run at 19.5. Because whatever, right? It's a half mile. But it's not. It's the decision to do that that chips away at my progress because "I'll just get it done on race day." Because that is what I do. I grit it out.
But that is a crutch. I do not want to rely on grit to perform. The reliance on this unreliable trait to shine through is not how I want to race. It is not how I want to train. I do not want to rely on grit. I want to rely on smarts, on doing things logistically to set myself up for success, and not rely on my will power to get through difficulty. Because I could be so much better if I do things the right way to minimize mistakes that create difficulty, and then grit shit out to push beyond THAT threshold.
The smart thing is to take water when I need it. Not to have the thought, "I'll push through even without those sips." No. Take those sips.
The smart thing is to take the extra gel even if I'm gagging it up. Not to have the thought, "I can still push through without the extra, I don't want to gag." No. Fucking gag. Who cares if I gag if i get a few extra carbs in there!
The smart thing is to finish the workout even if I'm tired and the last rep is really fucking slow. Not to have the thought, "I've fallen off the pace, I should call it because I'm clearly fatigued." I can run the last rep even if it is slow. Get the shit done.
Finish the fucking long run man, instead of having the thought, "It's just a half mile, it's not a big deal. I will always show up on race day ready to grit it out."
Grit can be a crutch. My personality can be a crutch not to work hard enough. It is the thing that I love most about myself, and the thing that I resent within myself because it leaves untapped potential. The expectation that I'll just get it done while cutting corners or not giving myself the things I need to do my best, is a limiting factor in my training and life. Just because "things will work out," doesn't mean they work out in the best way they could have. In the way that is most fulfilling to me.
So here is to untapped potential. Not relying on grit. Relying on smarts. Doing the work. Taking care of yourself. Not leaving cards on the table.