Yesterday I ran 26 kilometers during a competition called the Lidingö Ultra. It was both a 26 and 50k competition. I was complete garbage during this race. 26km for the most part is not a problem for me, but 26km on a course that likened a roller coaster I found to be too much. for the first 16km life was good, I was truly enjoying the run and having a great time. Then somewhere along the line doubt started to creep in, maybe it was the burning in my thighs, or the pain in my back, or my empty stomach screaming louder than normal. In any case, the doubt crept in and the more doubt I had the bigger the challenge became.
This particular course has 20 steep inclines and deep declines to match along the 26k course. I don’t normally run these kinds of courses but I thought it would be a great challenge. It was definetly a challenge, and I times I just wanted to throw in the towel. In any case I crept along the finish line and can say I did it. Though along the way I started doubting me ever becoming a real runner, you know, the runner that runs 50k on this kind of trail in 3 hours? which by the way was the winners time.. 3hours 16 minutes on a 50k roller coaster. Insane!
When I got home I crashed on my sofa and just watched football and ate anything my body could take in.. I was spent. No matter how much I ate I was still hungry.. Crazy day. With that said, today I am looking forward to my first marathon in june. Yesterday I was hating the idea and was thinking about dropping out, not anymore. Today I feel good mentally and physically.
Once I was done with the race I started thinking about all the times I let self doubt get in my way. When I let self doubt become my provibial brakes to achieveing my goals. This was certainly not the first time I had self doubt, and won’t be the last. This just happened to be in my mind the biggest physical challenge I have ever had to overcome. We all have self doubt, it’s a perfectly natural occurance, it’s when we let the self doubt become the main voice in our heads, that’s when we fail. Yesterday I was feeling good, my body was feeling fantastic, until I let my mind take control of the situation.
Today when searching articles about self doubt I ran across Zen habits recent post on just this specific feeling.
“We doubt ourselves, feel inadequate, dislike our looks, criticize our failing harshly, feel uncertain about whether we’re worthy of praise or love.
The result is anxiety, procrastination, fear, and the inability to change our habits. I’ve seen so many people who are unable to stick to an exercise program or healthy diet changes because they don’t believe in themselves. At the heart of their failure to make positive changes is a deep feeling of unworthiness and inadequacy.
Every time we fail, we are harsh with ourselves, and we see it as just more evidence that we suck. Every time things are less-than-ideal, we blame ourselves (or, if we don’t want to be blamed, we blame other people).
What if, instead of beating ourselves up (or blaming others), we just accepted what happened and then took appropriate action? What if we took this as an opportunity to see our humanness, to love ourselves, to see ourselves as innately good?”
When backpacking and self doubt starts to creep in I can just focus on what an amazing experience being in the outdoors is. When the weather turns to shit I can just say the old swedish mantra to myself “no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. When writing, I am convinced that my writing is terrible, even this stops me from writing sometimes. But to get over that feeling I just start writing and eventually I find a flow in what I’m doing and everything else disappears.
With running though? Obviously I have some work to do… But my strategy going forward will be as follows:
- Medidate pre-run to clear my mind and relax my anxieties.
- Train better – I had been training for a relatively flat marathon the last couple of months. I don’t see and hill training will hurt my marathon running so I will start adding some hill work in my runs.
- When doubt starts to creep in mid-run find somthing other than pain to focus on. Yesterday I got so focused on how much my legs hurt from the roller coaster run that I couldn’t find any joy in the run itself.
- My focus point when all else fells should or could be a mantra of some kind. Scott Jureks mantra is “sometimes we just do things”… simple and fun.