Only recently have I been able to say to people that I am a runner. The reason that calling myself a runner feels so strange is that I envision runners as mentally tough, unabashedly positive, pain loving, crazy persistent winner types. I do not envision myself as this kind of person. The reason why? My mean inner voice.
I have this voice in my head – you probably have one too, although I hope yours is a lot nicer than mine. Sometimes the things she says are hurtful but true, and sometimes the things she says are just plain mean. Take today for example, I ran in a local 5k and was hoping to improve my 5k time. This morning before the race my inner mean girl started to pipe in. “I feel tired today, I’ll never make it”. “It’s really hot out today and it’s going to be so hard – why would I want to put myself through this?” “I didn’t make my time goal in my last race 2 weeks ago and I probably won’t make it this time either.” I stood on the starting line listening to her go on and resigned myself to running this race anyway. As you may have predicted, my mean girl voice spoke up and told me that I was tired (I was). That I was hot (I was). That I would like to stop and go sit in some air conditioning (I did.) That this was just too darn hard (sigh). So I stopped, literally stopped and walked for a little while. At the end I managed a bit of a kick to pass the person in front of me because I did not want to be seen by friends and colleagues running lazily into the finish. That’s when it really struck me that I didn’t just have a bad race today – I gave up. I quit. I let my inner mean girl talk me into doing what I really wanted to do, stop running.
The problem with this is that I have another voice in my head that wants to do hard things, that wants me to push myself, that wants to believe I have some ability to be a winner. This nicer girl wants to be challenged, she likes competition, she wants to run with the faster group and thinks it’s possible that she can, she doesn’t think about win or lose she just say yes when an opportunity presents itself. Why don’t I listen to this girl more often?
It’s easier to believe the mean girl and just not try. If you fail because you really don’t try then it’s not truly a failure right? There’s still the possibility that you could have done something great, and so the fantasy can live on in your head. If I want to be the person that I think I can be, then I need to evict my mean girl.
I need to make a place for my inner happy voice – it really can’t be that hard right? After all, I consciously made a choice to keep the mean girl around so I can, now, consciously make a choice to keep the nice one around too. If I do this, then I really will be eating my words. Never run a marathon? Ha! Doing the Baystate Marathon on 10/19/14. Never run under 25 minutes for a 5k? Ha! I’ll get there. Next race is next weekend – I won’t get to my 25 minute goal yet, it’s a work in progress, but I can work on pacing and not giving up. Let’s see what happens then, shall we?
If I see you out on a run or on the next race course – do me a favor – shout down my inner mean girl, will you? I have a feeling she will put up a fight.
Until next time, stay positive out there – ok??