BQ Or Bust: The Final Episode

When I decided to chase down impossible and try to train to qualify for the Boston Marathon (BQ), I didn't want to share the "best of" highlight reel. I wanted to show the doubts, the fears, the nerves, and what it was actually like for someone like me, someone who doubted that they'd ever be able to actually survive a track workout, to try to BQ.  

Once I started writing about the experience, I caught myself picking and choosing what to share. I immediately starting hiding how I'd give up moments into a workout. I didn't want to hide, I just couldn't help it. I was insecure. And afraid of being judged because I'm a voice in the running community. I'm supposed to be better than that. (This is stupid and something I used to tell myself. OK STILL TELL MYSELF. I'm human. I'm working on my inner critic.)

I didn't really know much about shooting a vlog. I didn't understand how difficult it was to record on the run and then spend a few hours editing a five to ten minute video. When sleep is the most important element of training, a daily vlog when you don't know how to daily vlog probably isn't the greatest idea. But, shooting the daily vlog was the best way to get absolutely real, raw, and vulnerable with all of you and I don't regret it for a second.

SO MUCH has happened over the last year. I had to move out of my apartment. I couldn't find a new one. I didn't get enough sleep and I spent so much time stressing about making ends meet that I almost quit blogging entirely. Because I was so stressed out, my grief was difficult to manage. It's impossible to condense the sheer magnitude of what I experienced over the last year into one video, but I wanted to try to share some of the moments that really stood out to me. 

The moment I met my coach Josh for the first time. The first time I ever really told anyone (my PT Mike) that I wanted to try to qualify for Boston. And the first time Dr. Bob told me about making the decision not to suffer. Or a few of the very many f-words that got bleeped (or made the cut) along the way.

The last year has been anything but easy. And the only thing harder than trying to BQ was trying to film myself trying to BQ. But a few weeks ago when I started watching the BQ or Bust vlog again to try to pull clips for the final episode, it was amazing to see that the mental struggles I'd already fought through were rearing their ugly heads once again.

Doubt.

Pain.

Fear.

Self-defined limits.

A fear of failure.

A fear of succeeding. (I've yet to talk about this and it's the only piece of the experience I didn't open up about. But I had/(have) a real fear of actually succeeding. Sounds stupid, but it's still something I'm trying to wrap my head around.)

And redefining success and failure for myself.

Last year, Dr. Bob gave me the gift of no regrets, no excuses and it's something that has bled into my everyday life both professionally and personally.

So often we step just outside of our comfort zones and convince ourselves that that's good enough. But BQ or Bust taught me what it's like when I live the life I deserve to be living instead of the one that I've convinced myself that I'm happy with. Every day was terrifying and a tiny bit overwhelming. But personal growth will not happen unless you challenge yourself. Sure, it will probably scare the shit out of you and you'll doubt yourself every step of the way but there will come a point where you'll look back and feel devastated that once upon a not so long ago, you struggled to believe in yourself.

Impossible goals are the best kind of goals because they show you what you're capable of. It doesn't matter whether or not you do what it is you set out to do. All that matters is that you had the courage to show up every single day and give your best effort. 

Am I devastated that I didn't BQ? Yes. Am I heartbroken that I didn't have the race I worked and sacrificed for? Absolutely. But this ache I feel is human. You can't hide from it. And knowing that I had the courage to go for it is infinitely easier than how it feels to give in to fear and hold yourself back. 

There's a line in the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that I think about whenever I start to give in to my doubts, fears, or insecurities--

"Harry, there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe."

This is the beauty of no regrets, no excuses. As long as you give your best effort, whatever that means to you today, you absolutely cannot fail. It doesn't mean you won't feel pain or disappointment, it just means that you won't have to look in the mirror and see someone who is too afraid to believe in themselves.

There can be joy in pain. Or pride in disappointment. There are too many grey areas in our lives for it to be so black and white.  

I'm allowed to be disappointed that I gave up on myself so early on during the London Marathon. But I'm also allowed to be proud that I didn't give up and went on to kick ass in those final 3.2 miles. 

I'm not giving up on my goal to BQ.

I'm not going to stop running.

I'm just recovering.

You can't run for life unless you take care of yourself. I want nothing more than to go out and find a marathon to re-try in a month. But I know how terrible of an idea that would be. My tank is empty. I need to recharge. It takes great courage to employ patience. And that's what I'm going to do.

Thank you for joining me over the past year. It's been one HELL of a ride. Today, that once impossible goal doesn't feel impossible. I know I can do it. It's just a matter of time.

This final episode of BQ or Bust is dedicated to everyone who has the courage to chase impossible goals.

Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.

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Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.