I realized the other day that I have a really hard time with talking positively about my self and my athletic abilities. On morning runs with my running group, I joke that when I begin my run, the "slow bus" is leaving the station, and urge everyone to give me at least a 10 minute head start. I tell people that I can't wait to run with them....and then follow up with..."I mean waaaaaay behind you". I even bought a shirt that says, "If it weren't for me, you'd have no one to pass" on the front, and "If you can read this, I'm not last" on the back. Hilarious, I know. That's why I felt the overwhelming urge to buy it.
I usually do my runs outside in the whee hours of the morning, but I was forced to run on the treadmill a few mornings ago. I ran a total of four miles, and I'm not going to lie- it took a while. At my gym, the cardio room and weight room are separated only by a few glass walls and some large flat screen TVs hanging from the ceiling. A big beefy Hulk Hogan look-alike, who had been lifting ginormous weights, happened to walk by as I was hopping off of the treadmill. He jokingly asked me, "Did you just run like 30 miles?", since he had watched me run for so long. I replied, "nope. four. I'm just that slow." He said that I did better than he would, and I wondered how in the world he would fit all that muscle between the handrails on the treadmill anyway. Of course, I did not share that with him though. Some things are meant to stay inside my head...until I type my blog, of course. Aren't you lucky! :)
As I walked away, I thought to myself, "why do I always do that??" I can't just take a compliment, and walk away. I have to insult myself, make some derogatory joke, of which I am the butt...literally. It's no wonder that I doubt myself during more challenging long runs and new athletic pursuits. I constantly say that I am incapable, even if it is "just a joke".
All of that has to change. It may give people a little chuckle, but each little negative comment I make about myself chips away at my confidence. No more, "But, I'm not a real runner", or "I run slower than you can walk", or "slow bus" comments. It's time to celebrate that I have the mental and physical ability to complete my physically demanding workouts. I should remind myself that not everyone is able to do these things that we take for granted. I would be willing to bet my life savings that a quadriplegic patient or ALS patient would give just about anything to get on a treadmill and run a few miles, no matter how slow. I know I have said it many times in previous posts, but I am so incredibly thankful that I can. It's time for me to celebrate that, and you should too!
If you see me finishing up a run at the gym, shaking my "groove thang" as I wipe down the treadmill, don't mind me- just celebratin'. If you happen to be in spin class with me and I let out an, "WOOP WOOP, can I get a witness?!"- just celebratin'. And the next time I get a compliment about how hard I work out, I promise to try (very hard) to take it like a woman and keep my mouth shut, except for a polite blush and a "thanks". I may even follow up with an, "oh, that was nothin." Before too long, I'm sure I'll start to believe it too.