My run Saturday morning was pretty terrible. I joked that there are no bad runs merely runs that offer more lessons than others. My friend, Randy Young, who is currently in his peak marathon training with the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, corrected me with, “Oh no…there are definitely bad runs.” Well, Saturday was a bad run. My self doubt surfaced during the run and all I could say was, “Hello, old friend”.
This friend of mine occasionally comes by to let me know that I can’t run whatever I’m training for or that I’m a terrible sister/ daughter/ wife/ friend/ human or simply that I have nothing to offer. I used to believe this voice which lead me to bouts of depression or melancholy until I realized that this voice wasn’t the truth even if it felt very real to me. Once I recognized this pattern I initially treated this voice as Enemy Number One. Ignore it at all cost!! Over time I have come to understand that it is just an over protective or misguided “friend” trying to save me from potential pain or suffering. Though it can be a bit overreactive there is insight in those moments that I can either run from or embrace.
It may seem strange that I am sharing the interworking of my interior life so openly (unless you know me then you know this is normal!) but this past week has been peppered with others discussing that inner voice and the destruction it can and has caused. This is a universal experience.
A few examples from this past week:
- My friend, Don, talking about his “should” voice telling him to do each thing differently or better.
- Ross, who had his first art show this weekend and sold a couple of pieces (woo hoo!!), stating he isn’t a “real artist”.
- A lifelong friend, Stephanie, discussing how she may not follow a creative outlet she is interested in because “others can do it better”.
- A TEDxVermilionStreet speaker that I am coaching wondering if she really has anything to offer to a larger audience after being selected through a rigorous application process
I’m grateful to these people for sharing themselves and reminding me that we are all in this together. So, what can we do with this voice? When my “friend” shows itself I often use a technique taught by Tara Brach, a renowned Insight Meditation teacher. The four step process is easy to remember since it is presented as an acronym: R. A. I. N. The short explanation is below but for a more thorough understanding please visit this link.
Recognize what is happening
Allow life to be just as it is (not how you think it should be)
Investigate inner experience with kindness (I.E. without judgement)
Non- identification (You are not the thought or belief that is occurring)
Saturday I utilized this process during my run which helped me detach from the thought that my bad run somehow questioned my self-worth or my abilities; it was just a bad run. That voice which offers a restricted and limited belief lost it’s powerful grip over me. I was then able to focus on finishing my run and, more importantly, obsess about the Sunkist I was going to drink after my run! This experience can seem insignificant but as Charles Comiskey expressed, “It is the small things in life which count; it is the inconsequential leak which empties the biggest reservoir.”
Training Recap for Week 3 of 24: 48 miles total
Monday- 4 miles
Tuesday- 8 miles plus planks and pushups
Wednesday- 6 miles with mile repeats
Thursday- 8 miles in parking towers
Friday- Body weight workout
Saturday- 14 miles on St. Tammany Trace
Sunday- 8 miles