Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dealing with my Debbie Downer

One of the challenges of being a "newbie" runner is learning to develop mental strength…or basically, dealing with that inner voice that yammers on and on about how I must be crazy for even THINKING of running a half marathon.

I have two inner voices that I deal with…and let me say, just by typing that, I'm feeling like you think that I really MUST be crazy - but not because I'm running, but because I have voices in my head.

I promise I'm not crazy.



I like to call the first voice "Motivational Mary" - who every so often pops up in my head as I'm running, with quotes and inspirational sayings that keep me going, like, "You are AWESOME!" and "You can DO it!" and "Think of how you're going to look in a swim suit!" and stuff like that. Motivational Mary is full of unicorns and puppies and rainbows, and I love her.

However…the other voice, aka "Debbie Downer", seems to be more prevalent…and THAT is the voice that I need to squelch. Debbie Downer is that voice that focuses on the negative, rather than the positive, and by working on my mental toughness, I hope to kill. Debbie Downer says things like, "You're too old. You're too flabby. You can't run. You're nuts." Gah.

This morning, unfortunately, there was more Debbie Downer than Motivational Mary…

It doesn't help that I have to wake up at 6:00 A.M. to run, due to the summer heat. I am NOT a morning person, so Debbie Downer was out in full force immediately.

"Do you REALLY want to do this at 6:00 A.M.???" she began, as I was rolling out of bed. "Besides…it's going to rain. I think you should stay in bed."

As tempting as that was, I realized that Hubby was already out of bed - and out for HIS run - and being the competitive person that I am, there was NO WAY IN HELL that I was going to let Hubby get a run ahead of me. Yeah, cuz I love him like that.

As I was heading out the front door, I met Hubby as he came back from his run, and he says, "You should have ran with me this morning. There was a beautiful rainbow, and you've missed it."


So, I head out the door, and Mother Nature at that time could not make her mind up on whether she wanted it to rain - or not. It was hot. It was humid. It was soupy. It was yucky. It was definitely NOT prime time running conditions. Bleh.

Debbie Downer complains, saying, "Soup??? You should be at home EATING soup on a morning like this…not RUNNING in it."

Motivational Mary says, "There's no lightning. There's no tornados. You can DO this. Move it."

And so I do.

I head out, and within a minute, raindrops are falling on my head, which sends Debbie Downer into a tailspin.


I quickly assessed all body parts for any signs of melting, and not seeing any flesh falling off my body, I ran on. This proved that contrary to what my kids may think sometimes, I am NOT the Wicked Witch of the West, and Motivational Mary whispers that it will be fun to dispel that myth with them later.

After about two miles, my lungs were struggling a bit, and Debbie Downer immediately picked up on this.

"You should turn around right now. YOU'RE GOING TO DIE."

Motivational Mary immediately chimed in with a calming, "No, you're not. No one dies running 3 miles."

I'm pretty sure that that is technically not true, but it was good enough for me to keep running.

The run progressed with a few more complaints and moans from Debbie Downer, but fortunately, Motivational Mary kept me on course and squelched any thoughts of quitting.

I've noticed that the more I run, the more that Motivational Mary steps up to the forefront, and the more that Debbie Downer takes a back seat. I think this is true with any "good" habit we start…it takes awhile for the habit to take hold, and we often have to silence those negative thoughts that want to bring us down.

When I made my way back to the house, I was feeling pretty good. I was wet. I was winded. I was tired.

But I DID it.




Jay said...

You always push yourself...go go go , you can do this!

Susan Wilson said...

Good stuff, Sherri! And timely. I am training for the Tower of Terror Ten Miler in October, so I totally get you. Galloway talks in my ear (I use his 13.1 training app) and says "think about how great you'll feel AFTER this run". That's all it takes to get me through. And after, I do feel great. And I get to eat something special/extra that day :)

Sherri O said...

Susan, I use Jeff Galloway, too! I LOVE his training program - it's a perfect fit for me! The Tower of Terror sounds amazing; I am probably going to sign up for the Princess Half-Marathon in February (depending on how my FIRST half-marathon goes here in KC in October!) Good luck on your training! :)