Comparisons.

Today, I was planning to blog about my ‘running progress report’ anticipating that I would have a good run today, dammit (despite uber high humidity and temps in the 80s…at 5 am), but instead, I sit here stuck in another comparison game with myself.

During the barre n9ne challenge (which is three days from completion, I might add. Sniff. Excited at measuring in on Thursday though!), I’ve come to realize how much I fall into the comparison game. Against myself, against my sister Jess, against other bloggers, and against the mirror.

The good news is, I think I have tackled comparing myself body-wise to others and the mirror (more my friend than my enemy now – big rock!). The bad news is, that comparison game has shifted into my struggles with running.

~~

During this morning’s run, I started out strong, I felt relatively fast (side note I might add, on Sunday’s run with M, our first mile out of the gate? An 8.25 minute mile…I’ve never run that fast. Of course, that was followed by the next several that were struggles as the sun was blazing hot and I lost my focus a bit, but managed and didn’t panic) and was relieved the sun was not yet out. But as I started to tire and my breathing labored, I slid back into comparison mode. I compared myself to my sister, running with ease (as she heroically kept me going, helped me breathe and was honestly my rock and savior. Thank you sis), I thought about how effortless M and my brother in law Scott make it look, I thought about other blogs I read and their own running triumphs and wondered when I would have my own…

if I would have my own.

I started to think that maybe I am not a half-marathoner. Maybe I am destined only to reach a 10K and no further. Nothing to balk at, but deep down, I want to run this half marathon to prove to myself that I can. And not give in to comparisons, fears, and panic. I started to feel ashamed of myself as I allowed myself to go into hyperventilation mode as we neared the last hill. I was crying in anger, pain and fear. And massive frustration that I let my mind take over and not conquer it.

You see, I am not weak though.

I am strong. I am able. I am fully capable.

It’s not my legs that won’t carry me. It’s my mind that won’t believe. It’s my breaths that mimic my fear, not my ability.

I need to take the advice I uttered to myself and to M this weekend. I need to take it one run at a time, and not leap ahead to planning runs (and distance) for the week or month or half marathon. Just one run at a time.

~~

I wish I was better at envisioning myself after the run, sweaty, but accomplished, legs tired and tight, but strong and worked.

I wish I was better at breathing…consistently.

I wish I could stand proud, not feel ashamed.

I am…determined to fix this, to erase the mental block and just do this. I know I said pretty much the same thing last week in my plea for running help. But I saw it most clearly today when I began to panic. It’s not because I can’t do it, it’s because I am not letting myself. I am going halfway and then stopping. If I can conquer this barre n9ne challenge, I sure as hell can conquer my running struggles, the comparison game and – hopefully – this half marathon.

I am committed. I have to be.

“Run if you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must…but never, ever, ever give up”

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48 thoughts on “Comparisons.

  1. Don’t we all suffer from self-doubt and the comparing? Whether we can admit it or not?

    The key, I think, is to take it in stride (and then I hi-fived myself for a running reference – it’s the little things!) – AND to not beat the crap out of yourself a second time for the comparing. It’s normal – and something we have to train ourselves to be better about.

    There’s also something to be said for just allowing the sucky days to just happen. We all have sucky days. It can’t be rainbows and unicorns ALL the time, right?? And maybe the thing is to realize: You WILL feel better tomorrow. It’s ok to feel like crap today.

    PS If it helps, you can compare yourself to me. I don’t run. Ok. That’s a lie. Sometimes, in the winter, I run on a treadmill. I can make it about two minutes before I walk again. So. Compare yourself to that! 😉

    PPS Remember this: 8.25!!

    1. Can I hug you? 🙂 Thank you for the support and kudos and honesty, too. It’s true, EVERYONE has self-doubt and compares. I just feel like I do it far more than I should and more than what’s considered normal. I just need to realize that my run was ok, not great, just ok and in part because of the damn humidity, not because I am not able. 8.25!! YES!!! 🙂 (and I won’t compare myself to you, my dear..I am a dreadmill runner in the winter too!)

  2. Girl, you’re doing great! Unfortunately we are our own worst critics…and women especially seem to need to compare. My guy friends never say “Oh that dude has nicer legs than me” or “Oh that guy is a way better runner!”. Haha. But, my gal pals (and me!) do it all the time.

    I completely agree with your new mantra- one day at a time. I will not be perfect every day, but every day I will be proud of what I accomplish. Be it eating healthy, getting to the gym/workout or not choosing to be lazy. Celebrate your victories, no matter how small and just keep going! :0)

    1. Thank you! So true, guys don’t do that! Us women are our own worst enemies, huh? Thank you for your support and I DO need to celebrate victories far more than I do!

  3. The thing is, you’ve already proven that you CAN do a half-marathon. You’ve done it already! You’re putting so much pressure on yourself with this, you’re making it such an important thing…running should be fun and enjoyable as well as challenging. It seems like you’re sucking all of the fun and enjoyment out of it. Sure, it’s good to have goals, but those goals have to be balanced against your own sanity.

    Hang in there. Keep working on that mental block. You’ll get through it. 🙂

    1. You’re right, I have proven I can do it, and I need to REMEMBER that more often and not doubt myself so much. It’s just adding to the pressure I don’t need. It’s unnecessary. I WANT to enjoy running again. I hope to start fresh (again) tomorrow and just enjoy it. Some quiet time with M before the day begins.

  4. This is a great pep-talk-to-self post, sis. I couldn’t have said it better myself and I’m GLAD you’re at the point where you’re ready to truly tackle this mental struggle of yours because I TRULY and FIRMLY believe that you are physically the strongest you’ve ever been. Mentally – you’re also incredibly strong and determined…in EVERY area of your life with the exception of running. I’m not sure why you are suddenly questioning your ability to run because you can and DO run and have had some wonderful running experiences. I think this is just one of those ruts that sometimes happen to ANY runner (not just you), and it’s one of those things that will undoubtedly make you an even stronger runner overall. I wish there was a magic switch I could flip to help you see how strong (mentally) you are and that you CAN do this, but I can’t. All I can do is stick by your side and coach you through, in good times and in bad, right sis? Let’s find more sprinklers on our next run, mmk? 😉

    1. Thank you sis and thank you for not giving up on me this morning even when I was giving up on myself. I just want to live by these words and not by my fears. I need to trust more and not fear. The worst that can happen is that I lose my breathe, right? Not the end of the world. Though it feels it in the midst of it. More sprinklers, yes please!

  5. John just started training for a half marathon. He’s done halfs, a full, and triathlons. He’s naturally athletic and running with him is really tough for me, because I’m not naturally athletic and I’m not a strong runner, nor am I a distance runner. While running with him is frustrating because I’m panting and gasping for air and he’s gliding along like he’s just taking a stroll in the park, it’s also good because he’s really supportive and he pushes me. Last night we did an interval run and while it was torture during, I felt great after, although I hated that he barely broke a sweat while I nearly killed myself trying to keep up with him. I told him that I wish I could be one of those runners that just goes for miles and miles and loves it, but I’m not. It is really hard for me, and I don’t know if it’ll ever be easy. So, you’re not alone in this struggle.

    One of the best pieces of advice I have ever gotten was from a fellow triathlete the morning of my tri, he saw that I was nervous and he said “run the mile you’re in” which applies to every single thing in life. Just run the mile you are in, don’t worry about the one you just did or the next one you have to do, just run the mile you’re in.

    1. Freaking exactly the same with M – he runs like a freaking gazelle and I’m struggling! He hasn’t run a tri or a half or anything either, he’s a relatively new runner which makes it even more frustrating 😉 But he IS a great running partner and very patient and supportive, just as John is with you. That’s great. And I LOVE that advice, I really need to keep that in mind always, not just for the half.

      1. Seriously, I’m also stealing that one. INCREDIBLY good point!! And PS. Momma Sunshine – loved your advice too…getting back to running being fun and enjoyable may be the key to this thing…

  6. I don’t even know where to start, especially since we’ve talked via Twitter just a few minutes ago.

    I think Jess and I agree on something: you’re fighting a fight that a lot of people don’t even attempt to fight. I remember back in high school when I kept getting this urge to run. To try. I remember it really well…and I’d give up 30 seconds into it.

    I chalked it up to not being able to run.

    You know…I think I need to write a post about this. 🙂

    There’s one point I want to make, though. So many people choose to sit it out. They choose to sit on a couch or do “just enough”. You? Me? We’re choosing to fight against our minds. The mental aspect of running is most certainly my big “issue”. I’m right there with you, and to be honest with you, I’d prefer to be in a very big battle with my mind and keep pushing than give up again. I want this. You want this. I think the problem is that we have this fear of failure. Fear that we’ll either never hit the finish line or that we won’t get there under our “standards”. Not fast enough. Too out of breath, And to be honest, I think that we fear that our inability to focus…is an indicator of failure. And it’s not. Not even close.

    You know…I am going to post about this. You inspired me. 🙂

    Keep your chin up, Jolene. You run…and it doesn’t matter how fast or how long. What matters is that you DO it. You push yourself past boundaries that so many people can’t get past.

    1. YOU inspire me! And I think you do need a post on this too. For sure. You have a lot of good to say and you also need to take your own advice, as do I! I am battling myself needlessly and likely you are too. XO.

  7. determined you will overcome. The stronger runners have to go through the mud and the muck first. Its thick and daunting, but nothing you CAN’T handle!!

  8. You’re already doing SO much that you should be proud of, don’t be so hard on yourself! Just keep doing what you’re doing–that is a feat in itself. You will get to where you want to be!

    1. Thank you! I am being hard on myself…I guess it’s what I do. But I am putting too much pressure on myself too, which is messing with me royally right now. XO.

  9. I wish I could be a marathoner, but my knees say TEN MILES MAX. After I royally screwed up my IT band running a half marathon, I had to admit – my body is built for lots of activity, but it has limits. I’ve learned to respect those limits, not compare and I’m so much happier for it.

    Don’t panic. Be proud of where you are at. I’m proud of you!!

    1. Thank you for being proud. I want to be proud of me…and I am mostly, just not when I get into those panicky moments. I WILL find a way. I must.

  10. Yes, exactly!

    That’s the thing: WE can tell you all day long that it’s a mental game and that you’re limiting yourself with your thoughts. But YOU have to experience it before you’re able to make the shift.

    You’re shifting! You’re shifting!

    Holy shift!! 😉

    Cheering you on from here.

    1. holy shift! LOL, I love that 😉 I have to make the shift myself, nobody else can help me, even though everything said here and on my other post has been completely helpful in many many ways.

  11. I really like this Baron Baptiste quote that I think applies to your situation: “Don’t try hard, try easy.” Let it happen, girl! Just focus on the basics of running: one foot in front of the other.

    1. LOVE this quote too! Don’t try hard, try easy. Letting it happen is equivalent to letting go…and I just need to actually DO that.

    1. THANK you Tina, to know that others see improve from the outside looking in? Well, that speaks volumes to me. I need to trust myself and have confidence.

  12. You’ll run it easy!

    Us men are taught not to compare from an early age. It is drilled into us, “eyes fixed straight ahead, no looking down and if you do just remember they always look bigger from that angle!”

    Anyway, enough of men’s urinal etiquette!

  13. Seeing as I just nearly collapsed from my hour and a half WALK in the heat, I’d say I’m unqualified to give advice on the actual running, but as for the comparing thing, you know that’s my biggest weakness of all. I compare myself to everyone and everything, so even though I have no “fix it” like advice, at least I can say you aren’t alone in that. 🙂

    1. Thank you dear…I know you can completely relate to the comparing thing, like whoa. It’s a tough thing to break, way tougher than I ever thought.

  14. i love that quote too and had a plaque made of it. i had a hard run this morning too and wondered if i am even meant to be a runner. but i willed myself to finish and you will too! even if every training run is a bad one, on race day, your will, determination and this amazing thing called adrenaline will carry you thru!

    1. Wow, even YOU – my running hero – have bad runs? Well that makes me feel a teensy bit better 😉 I love the quote and love the plaque idea…where did you have it made?!

  15. But you CAN do a half marathon, hell you can do the whole effing thing if you want to! I know that you are capable, Jo. The only thing stopping you is your head.

    You know what though, you may struggle… because maybe running doesn’t come easy to you, but think about all of the other things that do. There are many things I’m sure you’re better at than your sister or her husband or M (sorry guys, haha). It’s okay to struggle with this, you can’t be perfect at everything, damnit!

    Let the fact that you can set your mind to do it and your body will follow- easily or not- be enough.

    1. Thank you for the massive vote of confidence!! I need it. Like whoa. Running doesn’t feel like it comes natural to me at all, probably why I want to conquer it, ya know? I need to keep my focus and my mind set and you are right, my body will follow. I just need to let it.

  16. Jolene, good for you! I’m so impressed that you keep pushing forward. You’ve got this. You’re strong. And I’ve seen such growth in your mental toughness, too. Patience.

    Life is yours for the taking.

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