Attitude Adjustment

Another post from the running archives, in which I get a reality check and a new mantra.

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


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.

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.

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!

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