Monday, September 13, 2010

Head Games

Well I've spent all day up inside my head, sorting through the junk that is there and have come to the conclusion that what I really need is to stay OUT of my head. :)

Before I share the other insights I discovered today, I'd like to take a minute to thank everyone for your support! I've received a variety of feedback (mostly on Facebook) over the past few days, and I'm taking it all to heart. Some of you I will try to respond to individually, but in case I take a long time to do that, I wanted to make sure all of you know how much I appreciate your concern! You could easily roll your eyes at my silliness and just go on with your lives, so the fact that you've taken the time to respond to me is touching, and is absolutely appreciated!

Today I managed to move on past the idea of failure. My darling husband, who is my biggest fan, conceded the point that I did in fact fail at this race. Regardless of what anyone else thought my goals should have been, my stated goal was always to complete my first 5K without walking, and I failed to do that. However, I in turn conceded the point that one failure, however huge it felt at the moment, does not make me a failure in general. You win some; you lose some. I lost this one but I might still earn a winning record before the season of my life is done.

Once I removed the "big fat failure" label from my head, I spent the better part of the day ruminating on quitting. I'm not a failure, but I absolutely am a quitter. I've earned that label on more than one occasion, and like I mentioned yesterday, this is a tendency I've been struggling with all along. Quitting is a gross betrayal of self, and it's hard to cope with the aftermath because the enemy at whom my anger is me. There was no outside force responsible, not even a vague one like chance or bad luck. Quitting is always a choice.

What's killing me most in retrospect is not that I initially slowed to a walk, but that once I quit, I embraced that status wholeheartedly and refused to try to start running again. I think part of the problem was that I've focused completely on preventing that urge to stop in the first place, and never bothered to develop mental strategies for getting started again after a stop. Maybe what I need is to accept that the tendency to want to quit will always be with me, and just work harder at starting again, and maybe decrease the amount of time between the stops and starts. If I can do that, then I'm never really quitting - I'm just taking breaks!

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” --Lance Armstrong

I found this quote today and it really spoke to me. I think I will classify what I've been going through the past few days as mental "pain," but what happened Saturday will not ultimately be quitting because it will NOT last forever. I have to run again. I've invested too much time, energy, and money into it just to stop now. I've got expensive shoes with a lot of wear left in them. I've got a 10K in October for which I've already paid. You could say I'm "pot committed" at this point, and I have no choice but to go all in.

So I'll be taking one more mental health and physical rest day, and then Wednesday morning I will rise before dawn, lace up my Asics, slip in my earbuds, and hit the road. I'm a little apprehensive because everything feels different now that I'm operating so far outside of my original plan. I might still be stuck all up in my head and will psyche myself out of a decent run. Even so, the road will still be there on Friday.

I'd like to close on a lighter note...some more thoughts from Lance Armstrong that I found particularly poignant today:

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