The words we say to ourselves are powerful. For many years I’ve been saying to myself and out loud that “I’m not a runner” or some version similar to those words – (I suck at running, I hate running, I try but I hate it, I’m not built for it, I could never do a long run/race, etc). I think it’s similar to the way so many women minimize how they look, minimize their success in anything, always find the negative, let people treat them like crap…on & on. I really try not to do that with most things – but I totally do it with running. It’s my default setting and very hard to break.
My scary goal is to do a Half Iron distance by the end of 2020. I do realize that a race that distance involves a half marathon. With my “I hate running” mantra that I’ve pushed deep into my existence, this is going to be a challenge. I must, I have to, change the words and feelings I have about running.
How? I honestly don’t know the answer but I’m starting here: I’m going to do two things. First, I’m going to commit to doing my first Olympic distance tri for 2017 – that means a 10k (6.2 mile) run attached to a longer open water swim and a longer bike. I’ve only walked that distance of 6 miles once before. But, if I can work up to that distance walking, then I can work up to a bigger distance running. It’s a test, challenge, and step toward the 70.3 distance all in one. The second thing I’m going to do is deliberately change the words in my head about running – as of today I now have a bunch of positive things about running in my bathroom. I even have a tiny little red Ironman logo in the top corner. I see this every day, more than once. When I’m running I’m going to be sure to think positive thoughts rather than the old “I hate this crap” that I’m used to. Even if I don’t mean it, I have to try to convince myself that I’m a runner.
I wrote that paragraph above a few days ago. I was supposed to go to the pool but I misread the schedule and they had already closed. This was after standing up for hours on concrete and I really wanted to be in the pool. But I went back home and I went for a run instead, 2 miles. I have no idea what was different but for the first time, it didn’t feel painful both physically or mentally. It didn’t feel like torture. I probably ran about 1.5miles of the 2, with a mix of walking & running. Never did I think THIS SUCKS or any other negative things I’ve been feeling previously. I almost (almost) ran an extra mile around the neighborhood on the way back home!!…but I thought to myself, let’s not be too crazy! I’ve never wanted to run MORE before. Maybe it was just good timing. Maybe it had something to do with proactively trying to change my mindset. Maybe all those notes on my bathroom door are seeping into my brain and neuropathways. I kinda’ felt like a runner on Sunday if only for a little bit… that’s never happened before!!
My goal for 2016 was to become a swimmer through all these triathlons and the training – to become comfortable in the water, confident. That will be my same goal for running in 2017: become a runner that’s comfortable running and someone who doesn’t hate it. I have a very long way to go from being able to run one mile to thirteen miles (or even six). But I went from hardly any swimming knowledge and experience to being able to swim confidently in open water. What the mind believes, the body achieves. Easier said than done but I have started.