“Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory.” – Arthur Ashe
|I have these invisible thresholds. They keep me from either going over the edge into the abyss or push me to a goal. It is sometimes as dark as it sounds. It is also sometimes as thrilling. It may come from being a competitive person, I don’t know. To be sure it has served me well, this competitive foundation of my ambition. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to imagine so many of the things I’ve been able to accomplish. Using competition pushed me to win. But as I got older and tasted failure an aspect of my competitive spirit turned into ‘perfectionistic’ thinking (which can lead to procrastination- if I can’t workout perfectly and win, what’s the point).|
Sometimes I learned from failure, you know because we all have to say that. Quiet as it’s kept, sometimes failing sucks and it makes you play it safe or stop playing all together. No one likes to talk about that time you stomped off with your ball and bat across the park, kicking rocks all the way home.
Strangely, this stinkin’ thinkin’ attached itself to my workouts, specifically running. I never loved running outside. I really loved running on the treadmill. Why? Because, it came easily. My body would quickly go into a zone and I could run for an hour like a metronome. Oddly enough, I was a big smoker at the time (I know- stupid).
Then life happened and I stopped running. What really happened is that I didn’t win anything. Without that goal of ‘winning’ pushing seemed inefficient and a waste of time (wrong attitude to be sure). Simultaneously, I started my on and off again relationship with yoga. Learning to breathe and push in yoga made me look at the brat who didn’t feel like she was the best. Yoga taught me to be okay with where I was. Growth is worth it but working it out can be a b*tch, especially when you’re standing on your head. Anyway…
Flash forward 10 years and I decided to start running outside. Subconsciously I think I chose outside because it was something I previously hated. I still don’t know if it was the zen nature of my yoga practice being okay with something I didn’t like or if it was the King of the Mountain attitude to crush a goal. Whatever, once in I go all in. My first few runs were awful. I wanted to be faster than I was. It hurt more than I thought. I pulled up Zen and the Art of Running on my nook™. Sometimes you just have to start at the beginning again. It’s not a competition.
My reward, progress.
Steady progress. I credit the yoga, the book and my ability to step back and be present. I still push myself hard but it’s for the sake of pushing hard rather than in comparison to a younger self.
I ran 6 miles yesterday and it felt great. 6 miles was the marker in my head from impossible to possible. A storm was headed to NYC and Hudson River was choppy. It felt amazing to run at a comfortable pace with the wind whipping (my hair back and forth) past me. So yeah, a marathon is in my future. I’ll run it in the present and not for the past.
Stay inspired y’all.
Have you experienced something similar?