July 21, 2011
Lee is running too, and sometimes after one of us runs, we'll complain to the other about various challenges - an aching shin, the heat and humidity, how difficult a certain pace felt. The other day at lunch I was moaning about something running-related, I don't even remember what it was exactly, when Lee interrupted me by putting his hand in the air, palm out - the universal sign for STOP.
"Sweetheart, I love you," he said, but in a way that I knew I was about to hear something unpleasant. "But you seem to spend an awful lot of resources on something that makes you so miserable."
I was really surprised by his comments for a moment. I mean, yeah, I was whining, but running doesn't make me miserable. I feel overwhelmingly positive about running.
When I talk to most other runners about running, I get all excited to discuss running form and training strategy, overcoming the personal challenges, the races, etc. But I seem to save my complaining for Lee. And for myself. I complain a lot to myself while I'm running.
So really, Lee did me a favor. He helped me see that I when I let my guard down, I focus too much on the things that are difficult about my runs and less on the fun of running.
Not long after that revelation, I picked up a copy of Runner's World magazine and was reading an article about quick fixes to common running issues. Most of the advice was about physical technique, but the final "issue" addressed was a mental one. The runner had a problem with negative thinking on her runs, so she developed a word to halt the bad thoughts and a mantra to usher in the good ones.
It sounded kind of hokey, but I decided to give it a try. For stopping the negative thoughts, I chose a phrase I use with Camille. When she's whining and needs an attitude adjustment, I'll give her a stern look and quietly but firmly say, "Fix it."
I like this tactic because it doesn't just say "stop the behavior," it instructs you to improve it.
For my manta, cheesy as it sounds, I chose "You've got this." It's improper grammar, I know, but that makes it sound just a little feisty. And when your run gets tough, you need feisty.
The first time I ran with my new attitude and my manta to keep my company, I ran 4 miles. Four great miles - my longest distance so far. True, I was on vacation, running with an ocean view to look at and a nice morning breeze, but I don't think the temps or scenery were solely responsible for my good run. I stopped the negative thoughts and focused on the positive ones, and made both literal and figurative strides.
I've totally got this!