October 20, 2013

Project Positivity

Last Saturday, I won a 10K. Even though I had lots of odds against me that day (not going into it all), I was HIGHLY disappointed with my time and race. (Yes, I'm so crazy in the head that even winning isn't good enough.)

After whining and crying to Keith, he sat me down for a little talk. He asked me to listen to some of the things I said about myself. He made me realize how MEAN I was being to myself. He told me that I always build up everyone else, but me. He told me couldn't stand to hear me say those things about myself. Ouch. Reality check. Then he put it on the line. Every time I said something negative about myself, he would not give me my nightly leg rub. (Yes, I'm spoiled, and my hubby rubs my legs every night.)

Monday I earned my leg rub. I had been nominated for Teacher of the Year and made it to the final 3. I found out Tuesday that I did NOT get it. Yeah, didn't earn my leg rub that day. Wednesday I called myself fat, and I lost it. Thursday I got my leg rub.

It's no secret that I have issues in the head with my racing, specifically in racing confidence. This whole post was going to be about my new outlook on life, and how I had taken a turn for the better in regards to my training and racing and mental battles. Then yesterday happened.

Friday morning, I had a 3 x 2 mile tempo run planned. I struggle with these, and most of the struggle is my own doing. In my head, I feel like since I am getting a recovery every 2 mile, I should be hitting faster paces. And yes, I *should* be, but sometimes it's about the effort, not the actual pace. My coach tells me this CONSTANTLY, yet every tempo run I am an absolute slave to the Garmin, and I will nearly kill myself to hit the appropriate pace, regardless of any interfering conditions.

Friday morning, I set out on a new tempo route, a slightly more challenging route. (Long story, but I was followed while running in the wee hours two weeks ago. I have changed a few of my routes since then.) I start off running, and I felt like complete crap. So tired. I did my 2 mile warm up and then started into my tempo. It immediately felt miserable. I felt like I was sprinting in the dark for 2 miles, constantly hitting the glow button on my Garmin, trying my absolute HARDEST to hit the tempo pace. My head was saying, "This sucks, you suck, just QUIT already." It was so bad that when my watch finally (thank you Lord) beeped at the end of the first 2 mile set, I started walking. I had a little talk with myself. I identified how negative I was being, told myself to toughen up, and to quit thinking and just RUN it. Then I made up a little mantra for myself, "strong is the new fast." I started the next set and guess what- The paces got faster, with equal effort. Then the last set was the fastest, and by that point, I was feeling so much better than I was enjoying the workout. Um, as much as you can enjoy a workout at 4 a.m. Score one for Project Positivity!

I don't want to go into the ins and outs of XC right now, but we placed 4th yesterday in our county meet that I had expected/wanted to place 2nd in. I was highly, HIGHLY disappointed. I left the meet, and I truly felt like the world was crashing down on me. Drastic, I know, like I said-  ISSUES IN THE HEAD. I think I actually took it harder than the kids. I put on my big girl smile in front of them, said all the right things, but INSIDE, I could've kicked a puppy. I got home and was so mad that I went out running in a driving rainstorm. (Yes, sorry coach, my 2nd run for the day.) I only went 3 miles, but I ran HARD. I just had to get it all out. As I was sloshing down the road, I started sobbing (highly ridiculous, yes). I just felt like my best was NEVER good enough. All the work and never the reward.

And as a whole different topic, I honestly blame my mother for these feelings. She is my biggest critic, always quick to tell me how I should (or should have) do/done things. She gives me "gentle reminders" to always wear make-up, to dress better, to talk better, to do XYZ better. It's never ending. She actually told me after my wedding that she was amazed at how many people loved me. And for her, she wasn't trying to be mean; that was a compliment. I think her taking care of my dad has really gotten to her in ways I don't fully understand. And in her defense, I can't imagine the stress of what she's been through- to nurse your husband back to health and then stand by his side when he's a totally different person, someone that she barely knows now, and has to watch him struggle so much with tasks that used to be simple.

After I felt like I had released some toxins and gotten out a lot of bad feelings, I went and met Robyn for a late lunch. Robyn (who I am attempting to coach) is the kind of person that will make you feel better just by her friendly and positive nature alone. We had a little wine with lunch, and then went into a consignment shop a few down from the restaurant. Admittedly, I had a buzz while I tried on a few items. The weirdest thing happened. I was absolutely SHOCKED by who I saw in the mirror. I don't know if it was the wine or what, but I looked in the mirror and saw someone that was surprisingly THIN, but I also saw something else, someone with tired eyes. I wasn't the fat girl that I'd been picturing myself as, and I am not invincible. I needed sleep.

Later that evening, I started brainstorming some ways to continue Project Positivity. Yesterday had NOT been a good day for my self-esteem. I came up a with a few things.

*Get more sleep and for the millionth time, eat/drink better. Some of my old habits have been creeping back up, like skipping lunch for cheez its and dehydrating myself. I've even had a couple diet sodas recently.

*Between now and Oct 31, I have to re-convince my team that they can qualify for State. Our confidence has been shaken, and I can't let it doom us. I have a few team building ideas to help with this, but I also know my own attitude with reflect. NEED TO BE SUPER POSITIVE. It's not over for us yet.

*I need to quit tying how I feel about myself to numbers, scores, and rewards. I didn't get Teacher of the Year. Disappointing, yes, but I am still a good teacher and valuable to my students and community. Even if we don't make State, I have to focus on how far we've come as a team the past two years. The relationships and experiences we have are more valuable than anything else.

*Work on the relationship with my parents. I've purposefully distanced myself from them, mostly my dad, in the past 2 years because I can't (or don't want to) deal with his changes and how they make me feel. My parents deserve that from me. I'm planning a sit-down with Mom during the holidays.

As for my own racing, I am choosing to skip one of the biggest 10Ks around here in two weeks. I'm skipping in hopes that we will be preparing for State and need to practice that day. (The race doesn't allow race day registration.) I have my eye on a local 10 miler towards the end of Nov, and I am signed up for the same 50K that I did last December. I really looking forward to that! After that... we'll see!!! ;)


  1. Aw, you're so cute and talented, how you could ever be negative about the person you are?! You better snap out of that mindset quickly, before leg massages become a thing of the past ;-)
    Congrats on the 10k win, btw!

  2. Sorry if when I tell you that this made me laugh!!! This blog could have been writen by one of my athletes, so I know what you are feeling.

    I know what my girl need, and maybe this would help you as well... She needs me!!! but while I'm her coach I'm 300 miles away so it's emails and facebook... She needs me there to run with her to control her when control is needed and to work hard when hard is needed and to pace her at a couple of races till she knows she can do it...

  3. Congrats on the 10K win.

    Cut yourself some slack, already, huh? Life is short, no sense in spending a single free minute beating yourself up -- there are plenty of people who will do that for you everywhere and you can use the time in a better way!


  4. To hear you be so honest about your mothers comments, it makes perfect sense why you beat yourself up mentally. Now that you'e written that "out loud" for all of us to read maybe you will realize that she wants the best for you, which also makes her opinion of you a little bit skewed (because she'll always want more for you). Your readers see you as an amazing woman.....you need to see that too!

  5. You so married the right guy! You know how much I love you and want you to see yourself for who you really are, not just a good runner, coach, and teacher (because you rock at all; and don't have to be perfect)-but amazing PERSON!

    Here's a couple quotes that I love to kick around in my head when I get negative:

    1. "Be relentlessly positive"-Sally Meyerhoff

    2. "Perfection doesn't exist".

    Let's make the Huntsville race one to remember because of all the fun we had, regardless of our results!! :)

  6. R- IT's really good to read this. There is so much inside.

    I think some of us can be incredibly hard on ourselves- and it takes an inebriated look in the mirror to cast off the misconceptions we have.

    Thank goodness you have your hubby to take care of you. He sounds like a keeper- knows how to build you up emotionally, and gives good leg rubs!
    FWIW, even being nominated for teacher of the year is a HUGE honor!

  7. I won't sugar coat this, I know you can take it and hopefully you will know it comes from a good place. I hear you beat yourself up in virtually every single thing you write. You are one of, if not the most open, honest people I have ever 'met'. Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve! I admire how you can open yourself up, you say you're frightened of getting hurt and yet I watch you open yourself up time and time again in what you write.

    What's my point?

    You need to break the cycle. You REALLY need to break the cycle. I hear the pitter patter of tiny feet in your future (everything crossed for you guys) and you must not ever criticise yourself in front of your kids especially your daughter(s!!!).

    So you must start now. If not for you (but your worth it!) for your future babies. They will look at you and see a princess, a strong, beautiful, princess. If their mummy is not good enough, how will they ever be?

    If you met you what would you have to say about yourself? It would be all good right? I hope you can learn to give yourself a break.
    I hate to end with a guilt trip but your hubbie doesn't need to hear you talk about his wife that way, he will get tired of it.
    I would go one step further than your hubbie, not only are you not allowed to criticise yourself you've got to tell him one thing that you like about yourself every day. Make it kinky, he'll like that ;)
    ps my dad described me in his speech at my wedding as being 'hard'. ouch. They make us like they make us but we don't have to stay that way.

  8. Thanks for your post! I think many of us struggle with negative thinking, but few of us are so honest and open about it! You might check out the book "Feeling Good" by David Burns. It totally helped me identify and challenge my negative thinking patterns. I think it might help you, too! Thanks again for sharing!

  9. I could really relate to this post. I struggle with being more positive and not focusing on the negative. I also talk badly to myself and my self-esteem suffers.

    Like you, a lot of my issues come from my mom. She was always critical and nagging and it's hard not to focus on the negative. I also believe she suffers from anxiety and OCD (undiagnosed) and growing up with definitely effected me. I see myself becoming more and more like that--obsessive and anxious! Time to break the cycle!!