I signed up for this virtual half marathon through Nike+ (a running GPS pace/route/distance tracker gadget I use). Run 21.1k on January 15 and receive a bracelet! Plus $10 of the registration fee goes to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society!
I signed up because it sounded like a good excuse to get out for a long run. I booked the babysitter and then registered and then she cancelled cause she was sick. My good friend offered to watch the kids for a couple of hours while I hit the road, so around 2:30, I laced up my sneakers and thanked her profusely and headed out into the cold (COLD! SERIOUSLY!).
Sometimes when I run alone for a long time, I talk to myself. I bring up shit that’s been bothering me and figure out a way to get rid of it. Or I tell myself positive things about myself (You are worthy. You are loving. You are strong.). Sometimes, like today, I turn up the music and tune out and just get all zen with the pounding of my feet on the ground.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve done a long run, solo, and man. I needed it. As I ran, I wondered if the fact that a two hour run is sometimes the only thing that can clear my head was a touch on the drastic side, but ultimately, I figured it’s a healthier escape than vodka.
I’m so hard on myself. Insanely hard. I’m critical and unforgiving and sometimes, just downright mean. One of the things that the therapist I was seeing last year tried to get me to do was to pretend that I was someone else and think about what I would say to her (mother of two, long distance runner, fit, active, healthy, student, run coach). Would I be so critical of the grubby corners in her bathroom? I hated that exercise. It seemed… stupid to me. It may have been because logically, I see that my criticisms are too harsh and wasn’t really ready to face that. Plus, what the hell does someone else’s bathroom matter to me? Or their grades? I only care about my own.
Then we tried an exercise where she played Devil’s Advocate, telling me why I was a crappy person/useless and I was supposed to defend myself. That one went over like a lead balloon. I opened and closed my mouth silently, like a fish, as she prodded me along into what she thought was a great exercise. After that session, I got into my car and burst into tears. (Who can’t defend themselves in a pretend situation? WHO??)
What ended up working for me was a mantra that I created. I am worthy of love. I’ve written here before about how I arrived at that conclusion, so I won’t go into detail. Last winter, I spent five minutes everyday writing that mantra in my notebook. On my strong days, I elaborated and got into more detail. Not so much a list of my accomplishments (listing those has never seemed to help me feel better, unfortunately), but reasons why my life is valuable.
I thought about this a lot while I was running today, because I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to therapy. It did what I needed at the time last winter, but to be honest, I never really clicked with the woman I was seeing. I think that there is still some self-esteem work I could benefit from.
When I get really blue, it’s hard for me to remember why I’m lovable at all. I can’t fathom any way in which I add value to anyone’s life other than a cook and warm pussy. Granted, I don’t get really blue very often, but after I come out of it, it’s always a little upsetting looking back. Plus, when you’re mean enough to yourself to bring you to tears, it takes time to get over those words.
For me, it’s physical. That’s where I focus the hate. I won’t bother going into the list of dreaded details I’ve thought this week, but the reality is that this weekend I cleaned the house (bathrooms, dusted, vacuumed, mopped, de-cluttered), did laundry, sat on the floor and played with my kids, took them to see my younger brother before he headed back to BC, made a healthy and home cooked meal, gave my husband a blow job, and then ran a half marathon for shits and giggles. And yet, somewhere in my mind are thoughts about not being a good mother/wife/caretaker, about being weak, fat, ugly, worthless. The reality and my reality are so glaringly different, it’s no wonder that Steve is left baffled and frustrated by it all.
Anyway, the whole point of this was that I think I left most of it out on the road today. The pat-pat-pat-pat of my sneakers on the uneven asphalt and the music in my ears and the huff-huff-huff and cold pushed it out. It’s pretty damn hard to feel weak and sad when you’re running up a long, steep hill on kilometre 15 of a 21k run.