Visualization is a technique that many runners use when preparing for a race. They may play out the whole route in their head, imagining themselves keeping their goal pace and feeling strong, and see themselves giving it all they’ve got down the home stretch.
And while visualization is something that can benefit everyone in any future endeavor (preparing for a big presentation, negotiating a raise, etc.), remembering past successes can be just as effective as imagining future ones. Have you ever just totally killed it in a job interview? Do you remember that stellar critique back in art school? I like to call this collection of moments my Highlight Reel of Success.
A mere three years ago, shortly after our first Lady Project Summit, I decided that at some point in my life, I would like to run a marathon. At the time, I was a fair-weather friend to running. I had maybe two 5ks under my belt since high school -- I ran when the weather was perfect and I was feeling lethargic, but I was in no way consistent or competitive. It was around this time, I signed up for the Girls on the Run RI 5k. I was barely able to run a mile without feeling like I was going to die, but I was determined to run the 3.1.
I was introduced to Roisin McGettigan via Sierra Barter as we “trained” for the 5k together. I was a little star-struck after learning that Ro had run in the Beijing Olympics (no big deal, right?) and now we were running together on a Saturday morning in Lincoln Woods. This first little meet-up sparked something in me that made me excited about running, fitness, and striving for a goal.
Flash forward to 3 years later and my second ½ marathon. Despite my lack of training during our crazy winter, I felt ready for this one. I knew the majority of the course, I could anticipate the hills, and I felt strong. Before this race, I relived some of my past races, remembering how I felt as I crossed the finish line, or that moment I realized “yes, I am about to break a personal record.” As I was running, I remember passing the 2:15 pacer within the first mile and feeling good about that. I remember groups of strangers cheering and kids giving high-fives on the Blackstone Blvd. I remember looking at my watch and realizing I was already ½ way done! Passing the 8 mile mark, I remembered that I had already stopped to walk at this point during my first ½ marathon, and I remember feeling very confident that that wouldn’t be the case this time. Around that same point, I remember a guy running with a friend and giving her the play-by-play of “only 2 miles and a 5k left, don’t go pushing yourself now, this is the toughest part of the race” and I remember thinking it was very annoying and micromanage-y of him. At mile 10 I remember feeling so good that I could pick up the pace for my last 3 miles and essentially RUN this last 5k. I remember passing a woman a little older than me, as she said “you go get it!” And best of all, I remember turning the corner on to Exchange Terrace, looking down at my watch, seeing “1:59” and BOOKING IT to the finish line, passing a few others along the way.
These collections of memories have definitely made it to my Highlight Reel of Success. The best part of these highlights is that they are memories of me being totally present and enjoying the moment. As many other Lady Project bloggers have mentioned this month, you define your own success. Visualizing past successes can help amp you up before your next big endeavor or in times when you need a little confidence boost.
Thank you for letting me share my Highlight Reel of Success with you. I would love to hear what moments you have on your reel in the comments below!
And if you live in the Providence area, and you have running moments on your HRS, join us for Run with Ro every Wednesday at 6:30pm on the Blackstone Blvd. (@runwithro)
Kate Huot is the Special Projects Manager of The Lady Project, a full time Graphic Designer, and a running enthusiast. When she is not planning or attending the next great PVD Lady Project active event or book club, you can find her either crushing workouts with Run with Ro on the Blackstone Blvd, designing posters for local organizations, working on endless home renovations, or if it’s summer, mostly likely at the beach!