In last week’s blog I shared why I believe running is a metaphor for life. You get out of it exactly what you put into it. If you get out and do it, you can get better at it and you improve your performance. If you do nothing, nothing changes.
For all the years I’ve been running I’ve had a love/hate relationship with it. I don’t particularly enjoy getting out there to do it, but I always know I’m going to feel much better when it’s over. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment. It has only been fairly recent that I’ve begun to really enjoy it. It’s one of the few activities I use to clear my head and to stay in the moment. I get that same feeling from hiking and yoga. Each of those force me to stay present.
Now, I’m gaining something even better. It wasn’t until I finished my long run two weeks ago that I began to notice the contradiction of my behavior on the road versus my behavior in life. It has me feeling like a fraud living a double life, and it’s time to come clean!
1. In life, I often compare myself to others. I look at what others have accomplished and question why I haven’t done the same or better. And if I’m being honest, I’ve occasionally allowed the successes of others make me feel bad about what I haven’t done.
When I run I don’t compare myself to others. I never get caught up in the hype at the starting line. I set my own pace because I know what I have to do to run my best race. When people push ahead at break neck pace I graciously move to the side and let them pass. What I always tell myself is, those same people pushing pass me right now, I will be lapping them in a couple of miles. More often than not, that’s exactly what happens by the time I’m halfway through the race.
2. In life, I often allow myself to get thrown when I’m having a bad day or a series of bad days. I expect things to go well and when it doesn’t it can throw me off course or send me into a downward spiral of self criticism. I tend to think I’m always suppose to be on my game and when I’m not I beat myself up.
However, in running, I accept that every run will be different. I never expect that just because my previous run was good the one I’m currently running will be the same or better. In fact, after coming off a good run I tend to expect the next one to be bad. When it isn’t I’m pleasantly surprised. But when it does go bad, I don’t let it bother me. I just tell myself I’m doing the best I can on that given day and tomorrow will be better if I hang in there.
3. In life, I’m extremely judgmental of myself. I’ve started to get better, but I still have a lot of room to grown in this area. In running, I show myself much more compassion.
4. In life, my ambition gets the best of me. I set a lot of goals to keep me motivated and inspired. That’s not a bad thing. The problem this presents for me is I don’t allow myself time to savor the accomplishments of my goals before I’m on to the next thing. I rarely take it in. Consequently, I don’t see all I’ve accomplished in my life. I rarely pay attention to it until someone else brings it to my attention. I just don’t see it. However, in running I’m the complete opposite. I take time to celebrate the small victories. I will ride off the high from victories on the road, especially when I meet my mileage and speed goals.
5. In life, I will feed into the negativity and the fear that comes from stretching beyond my comfort zone. When I’m in the midst of a challenge, I have a harder time encouraging myself for an extended period of time. I will do it for a minute, then get back to being discouraged.
In running, I encourage myself the entire way through until I finish. It’s easier to encourage myself when I’m in the midst of the run, when it’s hard. I will do everything possible to prevent myself from quitting. I will slow my pace, give myself encouraging self talk. I say, “you’ve got this.”… “you can do it”… “you’re more than half way through”…”you’re past the point of no return just stick it out for a little while longer.”
All of those things help me get back to the moment and focus on the task at hand – finishing my race.
Even as I’m writing this so many bells are going off in my head. I’m overcome with “Aha” moments. It’s clear to me now that If I can exhibit such an awesome and winning attitude when I’m facing challenges in running, I can do it in life. I’m the same person, I just have to tap into that part of me more often in EVERY area of my life.
These last two blog posts have definitely been a turning point for me. I hope they have allowed you to see yourself as I have seen myself. I also hope you will share your personal revelations with me. I’d love to hear from you!