Friday, March 21, 2014

On Negativity

Last night, while playing with the kids, I sent my coach a message that I felt like this guy.  Seriously - dogs barking, tummy bubbles, and something to do with a rubber band in my leg.  The Operation Guy is clearly a runner.  Right??

I ran for the first time yesterday afternoon since my half marathon.  It didn't go great, but it didn't go poorly either.  I was tight, my hips and lower back were sore.  My pace was nowhere near what I had come to expect from my body, and I came home grumpy and making a lot of quips to anyone who would listen (and several bystanders on social media) that I was crippled and would need a wheelbarrow to be pushed home in if I went out on a group run anytime in the foreseeable future.

In an effort to make myself feel better, I looked back over the last several months of my Training Peaks account, looking for the improvements that I knew were there.  But here's the thing - in addition to those improvements in pace and distance, I noticed that

Most of my comments were pretty negative.

Now granted, most of what I was looking at were my running workouts (I doubt I was that grumbly about swimming or biking), and most of the time I might have been trying to be funny.  I have, on occasion <cough> been described as a somewhat sarcastic person.  But really - this can't stay this way.  This morning I apologized to my coach, and he graciously pointed out that it's been a long winter, training is hard, and a number of other excuses.  I'm pretty sure I'm forgiven.

Why am I spending hours each week doing something that, if I enjoy, I can't say something nice about?

Cue the inspirational posters.  My family and I have made huge sacrifices of time, focus, pain, and money towards my training.  If I can't be present enough to enjoy it, or at least be gracious about it when it doesn't go perfectly, then I need a new hobby.

I firmly believe that your thoughts shape your reality.  

Most everyone will agree that a huge portion of triathlon and other endurance endeavors is mental.  Life is mental.  The above quote is exactly right.  My mind is a cluttered mess of doubts, insecurities, and criticisms that is only holding me back from happiness.  Along with the melting snow and the mountains of dust bunnies under the beds, my attitude needs a serious spring cleaning.  

I took a rest day today.  The only thing on my [athletic] schedule was a Yoga for Runners routine, that I did after dinner in the playroom with my son.  It was bliss.  From between my legs in Downward Facing Dog pose, I watched him try the forms and tip over giggling.  I felt the physical release of muscles that have been taunt rubber bands since Sunday.  I felt joy.

Daffodils in Central Park.  Now this is a positive sight!
Photo credit: Anthony Bagnetto

I am recommitting to finding joy in my sport.  If I cannot, due to single bad workout or rough patch, then I will at least try to be grateful, be realistic, and be positive.  Maybe even to letting this outlook trickle into the rest of my life.  Or at least, as close as I can get.....

How do you snap yourself out of it when you're feeling a dip in confidence?

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