I subscribe to The Positive Split by Peter Bromka and his “Fear of getting fit” this morning, hit closer to home than I wanted to admit when I first read it. While it is nice to know that he and most likely many other runners share some of the same meandering thoughts about regaining our running fitness after injury, life getting in the way or whatever the reason that we lost it. Reading the post did make me stop and think about how many times I have lost my running fitness and had to fight mostly myself to get it back.
That evil voice of doubt has a huge and sometimes subtle hook and can snap into you without you realizing how deeply imbedded it might be until you are caught up believing that you cannot or will not regain you fitness again. Which is almost never true, but we become what we believe.
Yes, if you are training to achieve a purpose or goal some of that training will be uncomfortable, it might even be momentarily painful, you might toss your last meal on the side of the road or track and you might think of all those others who are out there mocking your efforts to get better or back to where you were.
When in fact we know some of those things are true, other parts are just parts of our delusions that others really are interested enough in our training to give a damn about what we are doing. Most people don’t care about what we are doing, they might glance at our contributions to Strava or other social media site, but for the most part everyone is too busy with their own lives to worry about some other goofy runner out there.
No, most of the mocking efforts comes from the voice within our own heads that tells us that we can’t, won’t, don’t deserve to, are never going to succeed, too damn old, too damn whatever. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies and in order to be successful we have to battle the person in the mirror.
In my case it is about who I used to be, what might have been and more than a little self-sabotage for fear that I might actually succeed in what I chasing. If I do what do I do then, the pressure will be on me to do even better.
That kind of thinking holds too many of us back and I am working on letting go of the old me and accepting that the person I am now. Who has a different perspective on life and certainly different goals and dreams than I did 10, 20 or even 30 years ago.
It is that battle and realization that I have to deal with daily in order to get me where I want to go now. Fortunately, for myself, I am beginning to like the person I have become and while I have a ways to go still, the progress is there and I do notice it.
Today was the first day that I have run without feeling like the Periformis is going to get pissed and attempt to strangle the Sciatic nerve anytime soon. I was able to run my test course without thinking too much about how my legs were feeling, which is definitely progress. My splits were where I would expect them to be for my current fitness levels and while the weather is helping a lot, getting back to discomfort-free running is so very nice.
Which means that most likely next week I will begin training for something again. I am not sure what the something will be with the pandemic still holding court and not a whole lot of races on the horizon that I and my wife would be comfortable with me running anytime soon. Marriage is a partnership and we do rely on the opinion of the other in matters of importance and remaining healthy is one of those things we definitely agree on.
While I may not have a race to prepare for, I will still train, get ready to run something that means something to me and will figure that out over the next week or so.
As I look towards this next training cycle with some trepidation, I hope that since I am at the bottom of the mountain looking up at the challenges ahead, that my new dreams, processes, methods and perspectives will challenge and defeat or at least minimize the impact of the person in the mirror who is always telling me that I can’t.
I like the words that Peter ended his article with and share them here to end this blog post:
You never know what a training cycle will reveal at its onset, but you must begin with grace for yourself and excitement for the discovery. Must set out with an appreciation that it’s not simply the times earned with the fitness gained that matters, but the success of navigating the lifts and lulls of the journey there.
For this reason, true appreciation for my past best is impossible to fully grasp until much later.
Not at the finish.
Or afterward reminiscing with friends.
Only now, once I’ve fully descended from the mountaintop of ability and I’m standing here, looking upward with my finger on the timer, ready to climb again.Peter Bromka – The Positive Split 8.27.20