Encountering Roadblocks and Self-Doubt

Running Diary, Week Two: I think I still hate running.

Unfortunately after the elation of last week’s run settled, I didn’t get out much – as in not at all. It was cold. I was tired. I had plans. All of these were clearly excuses; I knew it then and I know it now. I understand this to be true because not too long ago I made fitness and exercise my priority and I would maintain my workout schedule regardless of weather and laziness (disguised as tiredness). Last night I finally got my ass in gear and went for a short 3 km run with my fiance, who I guess we’ll refer to as D. Things did not go well.

An image that illustrates my emotional state when running : always on the verge of the unknown.
An image that illustrates my emotional state when running : always on the verge of the unknown.

I know 3 km is not a long distance so the expectation was that I would bang out the run no problem. While I began with confidence, somewhere around the 2 km mark I started to lose faith in myself. I started to slow down, which isn’t inherently bad, but D kept pushing me to finish strong since we were so close to home. Without warning I snapped, telling him that he annoying me and then you know what I did? I sprinted the rest of the way home, maintaining a steady pace and breathing easily without breaking a sweat. As I mentioned last week, running has never been problematic from a physical standpoint (not under the 10 km mark at least), all of my road blocks are mental. I eventually apologized and as we were talking it through I realized how much I get in my own way sometimes.

Most runners begin with busy, cluttered minds and gradually forget some of their issues, if only temporarily, and concentrate on the act of running. This is not true for me. Rather I usually start off with a clear focus and imagine myself gliding over the pavement, eventually turning my attention to my stride and breathing. However this is interrupted by a strange fog of self-doubt that settles upon me and tears up my will power. It’s not that I have negative thoughts circulating in my head per se, instead it feels more like a compilation of all the things I try to avoid normally. I can’t find the clarity that so many others have and I don’t know how to be kind to myself.

After my run I went home and did some straightening up but disappointed by my own attitude, I decided to go to a yoga class and collect myself. I’ll say right now that the class was demanding. I sweat through my clothes and my hair was drenched. I was pushed physically and I loved it. I loved the feeling of being alive. I didn’t beat myself up over poses that I couldn’t hold, or positions that weren’t available to me. I was content to be where I was and grateful that my body supported me. So why couldn’t I find that happiness in running?

I know that not everyone will enjoy running but many years ago, I used to love it – for the challenges it presented, the freedom it provided, and the happiness I felt. The problem is that at some point, I told myself I couldn’t, or rather wouldn’t, let myself enjoy this sport and then I started believing it. So here’s yet another goal to add on my long list of things to do in preparation for the Terry Fox Run on September 20. In addition to raising funds, and physical training, I am also going to teach myself kindness and allow myself to rebuild my confidence in running, which hopefully will help with the self-doubt and negativity. Although these two things will never be completely removed from my life (I’ll do a quick follow up post later this week on this subject), I do hope to make some changes.

Still, even though things didn’t go quite according to plan, I’m glad I went out last night and know that I am better for it.

P.S. I’ll spare you the post work-out selfies which always look essentially the same… gross and sweaty. You can thank me later.

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