Yesterday, I mused over the art of showing up. And running (or jogging or even trotting) is a great companion to that notion. At least it is for me: everyone is different.
If I said I’d enjoyed running, it would be a lie.
I definitely get an endorphin rush at the end and sometimes that feels just amazing. A good run can completely turn around a bad mood. It can make me feel strong, calm, confident, powerful, happy! It’s a great start to the day.
To me, running and childbirth aren’t that dissimilar. While you’re doing it, it’s mostly a horrible, horrible experience that you wish you’d never started. But at the end, you get this amazing rush of chemicals and hormones that make you feel so utterly amazing, that you forget all the bad stuff that happened before, even to the point where you’re willing to do it again! Side-note: I realise that this is an extreme example and no, I’m not saying that any woman’s labour experience is on a parr pain-wise with a light jog around the park! The point is that whilst the run itself often isn’t very pleasant; the end result is what keeps me going back for more.
Following a rather good weekend, a heavy dose of PMT and an awful nights’ sleep, I had a particularly tough run this morning. Most mornings now, I can employ a few mindfulness techniques, distract myself and use positive self-talk to make the best of it; none of that was working today. My mind was screaming at me to stop.
So I went back to an old strategy I used years ago when running longer distances. I just kept telling myself, “Just get to the dustbin up there… then if you want to stop, you can stop,” and then when I got to the dustbin, “Just get to the railings up there…. then if you want to stop, you can stop.” I picked point after point, pushed forward, told myself I had an out and funnily enough, when I got there, I didn’t stop.
This is why I love to hate running. Because it offers endless opportunities for growth and success; endless opportunities to want to quit, but carry on anyway; endless moments when you can prove that inner-critic wrong. When you run, knowing that you’re probably not going to enjoy most of it, ‘just showing up’ really is a massive achievement. And it’s the first of many.
Many of us – myself included – have battled with our willpower throughout our lives and it can lead you to a place where you begin lose faith in yourself. Even you don’t buy your own bullshit anymore. Pushing forwards through adversity like this has the opposite effect. In fact, you begin to lose faith in the inner-critic and start to regain faith in yourself.