Thursday, September 22, 2011

Who is your Worst Critic?

Today, I went running.  Thursdays are our "long run" days for our marathon training.  We started gradually after a summer of not-so-many-runs, and today we reached 6 miles.  A hilly 6 miles.
I must confess, my friends, this was no easy run.   I struggled every step of the way, but didn't walk.  I felt like I worked as hard as I possibly could, but I still couldn't help thinking about the half-marathon that I ran four short months ago.  How could I be having so much trouble running 6 miles when I did THIRTEEN?  

I was so disappointed during the first half as I could tell that I wasn't at my optimal fitness level.  I kept blaming myself, thinking negatively every step of the way.  I just wanted to get it over with and didn't have the runner's high that I often felt during my half-marathon training.

But then, a song came on my ipod: Chris Daughtry's "Over You".  Now this song is obviously describing a breakup, but the chorus really stuck with me.  
"Well I never saw it coming.
I should've started running (no pun intended!)
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I'd doubt you, 
I'm better off without you,
More than you, more than you know"

I consider myself a fairly secure person.  I always pride myself in how other's can't make me feel insignificant or insecure.  But one person I never thought to look out for was myself.  I was my worst critic.  I was the person who made me feel like a failure on this run.

Today, I realized that while running is a time for my thoughts and musings, I was wrestling with a few demons.  I kept filling my thoughts with negativity, and instead of being happy for finishing such a hilly run in a pretty good time, I could only think about how I couldn't go faster--how my body was struggling.

I am better off with all of that negativity.  After that song came on, I realized that I needed to change my frame of mind.  People say that running is 80% mental and 20% physical--boy are they right.  

Today, I realized that I not only needed to exercise my body, but my mind. For the rest of the run, I started thinking more positively.  I began thinking about all the things I was doing right...and before I knew it, I was at the street where I live.  Not only did I pick up my pace with the mental weight that I threw off, but I was happier and more satisfied with the run.  I felt thankful for this run, because every following run I will be on the lookout for when my mind starts to turn down the negative, discouraging path.  

So today, I challenge you to look into yourself and think about the qualities you love about yourself.  I challenge you to question whether you are your biggest and worst critic.  And if you are, change it!

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