By: LB Chambers
Sometimes I find myself needing a little motivation and self-encouragement.
Like most people, I am my own worst enemy. Any flaw, any screw up or misstep, will have me feeling pathetic and dredging up every mistake I’ve made since grade school (like that time in third grade that I gave an oral report on the Amazon, but spent the entire fifteen minutes pronouncing Amazon like amazing without the g? Ugh.)
My big one right now is not achieving my goals. This encompasses all of my life.
Off the top of my head I don’t…
Make healthy meals everyday
Keep to my vegetarian diet all the time
Wash my hair/do my hair everyday
Write as much as I could
Promote myself as much as I should
Walk my dogs as often as they deserve
Make as much as I want
and somehow I always get my family members’ birthdays confused.
But right now, I’m focused on running.
If I run, I feel like I have somehow accomplished something. Like an extra mile makes up for my other failures. After a lifetime of being a terrible runner, I started running this year. First a mile, then two, then a lap at Greenlake. Now I’m up to about ten without dying. I even signed up for the Seattle Half Marathon a couple months ago. Which is when everything got real. Suddenly my entire self worth depended on being able to run 13.5 miles. I trained and trained, and worked my way up (I have a knee injury from my teen years so have to improve slowly) and got to being able to run 10 miles.
And then something awful happened. My husband and I bought a house.
Ok, that’s actually awesome. Having lived in over nearly a dozen houses as a child, and having moved every year since I was seventeen, it is an amazing feeling knowing that I will have a home where I can pack something away and not have to worry about moving it in ten months.
But that’s not what was terrible. What was terrible is that the moving day is December 1st. The same day as Seattle’s half marathon. “Psh, whatever.” I said at first, waving my hand in what I think shows nonchalantness and sassiness. “I can run 13.5 miles, and move into my house, on the same day!”
My plan was to train hard and to remember my super hero/video game heroines for inspiration.
But in the back of my mind was doubt. The timing of our move (having to be out of our apartment) meant I would have to run the entire course in under two and a half hours, then pick up the uhaul immediately and begin moving the minute I got home.
So yesterday, I did a test run I had created. I had to run 13.5 miles and then help a friend move into their new house. The run was agonizing after mile 9, and it was entirely in the drizzly rain, but I finished! By the time I got home my feet looked like I’d been in a bathtub all day, and I was entirely soaked through. However I only had a little time before we had to help our friend (out in Edmonds) move. So I tried to shake off my tired legs, which had only run that far once before, and get prepped. I showered, I had soup and coffee and water. Then picked up my husband got ready to move like the warrior woman I am.
And I completely failed my own test.
I was a worthless mover, just sort of shifting things from place to place and grumbling. At one point I picked up a table, took a step, and my left ankle flopped over and I dropped the table. I am still walking with a limp the next day. So after about twenty minutes of this horrible moving I was sent on a coffee run, the ultimate weakling moving job. And my husband and I exchanged a look over pumpkin spice and caramel brulee. A look that meant, this plan of mine wasn’t going to work.
I would not be able to run 13.5 miles, and then move immediately afterwards, without hurting myself. The move (and my body) was more important than the half marathon, without a doubt, and I couldn’t be a good partner and run the 13.5 miles in one day. So it has been officially decided I won’t be doing the half marathon. Meaning I have been beating myself up every hour about my failure, and my motivation score all day has been at nice fat zero.
So I checked reddit’s motivation subreddit (right here- http://www.reddit.com/r/GetMotivated/) and I highly recommend everyone check it out from time to time for a pick me up) and found this wonderful video, The Roommate by Megan Rosati, that I want to share with everyone I know
It so perfectly expresses, at least for me, what it is like to be your own worst critic- and how completely necessary it is to kick that part of yourself out of your life. While it is a somewhat sadder video, it’s point is clear and one that really resonated with me.
Most importantly it reminds me that sometimes we will all make mistakes, or fall flat, or underperform- but those moments aren’t what define who you are. What defines you is taking that moment and using it as motivation for your next great achievement.
In the end, training for the half marathon got me running more often, harder, and further, then I ever would have without that goal. Before half marathon training, I was pumped if I could finish five miles. Now? A slow five mile run is my easy day.
Recognizing what I’ve accomplished so far, and still can, is far more important than beating myself up over a missed opportunity.
So be ready Seattle’s Rain Run! I am coming at you with a way-too-excited vengeance!
And thank you reddit motivation! And the creators of this video! 🙂