The Mental Side

I have written a lot about the mental side of running over the past several years.  This started because when I run, I think and think and think.  Then I come home and spill all of those ideas out on the computer screen. Apparently the same is not true for cycling or maybe my brain was just not ready to go there.  Because after 9 months of dealing with my back injury I continue to beat myself up.  I look in the mirror and scoff at the body I see.  I dread getting dressed in the morning.  And even after riding 30 miles this morning before my Pilates workout I found myself berating myself for having fallen so far.

I know, I know.  We all do it.  I do know that.  But isn't it my job, as Ann from Ann's Running Commentary to help others not do that?  Isn't it my job to find the positive in the situation and share that with you?

But for now, I am going to give myself a break.  For now I am going to stop and share not the thought inside my head but the thought of the Pilate's instructor I worked with this morning. I will write more later about why I chose to try Pilates and what I thought and whether it is something I can do again.  Today I want to talk about one single thought.  One comment that changed my outlook at least for today.

"Just imagine if you hadn't been an Ironman, hadn't run all those marathons, hadn't worked out like you had and you got this injury."

It really was that simple but I had not thought of it.  I hadn't allowed myself to see the positive in the situation.  All I could see was what I had lost.

After I left the studio today I sat in the car and thought about this.  What would have happened if I hadn't spent 23 years running, working on my health and fitness and becoming the Ironman I did become.  The injury to my back has been horrible.  When you have to wake up your husband to help you to the bathroom in the middle of the night, when you have to ask your daughter to help you put your pants on, when you can only sleep if you prop all the pillows in the bed just the right way because the slightest movement will send spasms through your entire body you know you are in trouble.

But Jennifer was right.  Where would I be today if I didn't have the drive to spend all of those years running.

I wouldn't be seeking out exercise routines that would strengthen my core and therefore give me a better quality of life down the road.  I wouldn't be taking lessons from a sweet little girl in our neighborhood on how to swim the breaststroke now that I can no longer swim freestyle and I certainly wouldn't be 109 days into a biking streak.  Instead I might be completely debilitated, sitting on the couch, wondering what was to become of me.

As I see it now, I can continue to beat myself up or I can be thankful and proud of what I have done, what got me to the point and will give me the strength to find the next road.

Thanks Jennifer for helping me see this.