IMG-0012Wow, that was awesome!  Yesterday, I ran 21K of the Squamish 50K course with about 150 other runners.  It was a beautiful day, with perfect running weather.  I was a bit nervous to start, mostly because it was all pretty new to me.  Once I got checked in, and especially once I was running, I felt relaxed and all smiles.

The running part felt really great, mostly.  There was a big downhill section that really seemed to take it out of me.  Also, there was some snow and ice that I ran really slow over.  The second half of the course was more rolling hills and snow free.  The running here felt amazing.  It took me longer than I had expected, finishing around 2.5 hrs.

Even though this was not a competitive run – I did notice that I was comparing myself to others.  And I definitely ran faster at the end because I was running with other people.  But this little bit of competitiveness was mostly fun.  And I didn’t let it dictate my day.  I went out super easy for the first 10K – stopping to make adjustments and chatting with people along the way.

Some things I learned from the run:

  1.  Downhill running is hard.  I will need to do more of this.
  2.  The overall pace may be a bit slower than I am anticipating.
  3.  Running is really fun, especially trail running with 150 people.
  4.  My pre-race breakfast didn’t really do the trick – I felt a bit off for the first hour of the run and super hungry at about the 2 hour mark.

A few years ago, I was doing a bit of climbing with my partner, Riki.  We were at a crag with some pretty easy climbs.  It was just us at the cliff, when another fellow arrived and began doing some free-solo climbing (climbing without the safety of a rope).  As he was climbing, we could hear the guy talking to himself.  And man, was this guy harsh!  He was saying things like “don’t fall now you piece of shit, you suck, your worthless,” etc.

If you are like most humans, the voice inside your head is almost always going.

But what does the voice sound like?  Is it harsh and critical?  Or caring, supportive and understanding.

We have a false belief that if we don’t ‘push ourselves’ then we won’t achieve anything.  We often ‘push ourselves’ by being critical, mean and short tempered.  When I was running in competitively,  I ‘pushed myself’ hard.  And while I did have some achievements, most of the time I was fighting injury, burnout, and disappointment.  So the questions is, what did I really achieve?

On a recent run, I again felt a mild pain in my left knee.  As soon as the pain came up, I launched into a whole story about how ‘this injury is going to get worse, I’ll have to stop running, everything will suck if I can’t run, my body isn’t resilient, I always get injured…’

Luckily, I noticed this narrative, took a breath, and changed my tone…’you must be scared that this will turn out to be an injury that makes you stop running, or course that is scary, running is so important to you, running makes you happy and feel good….etc.’

See the difference?  We all do it, some more, some less.  So check in with that voice inside your head and see if you can be more supportive and loving to yourself, its makes all the difference.

And I’d just like to add one more thing: just because you think it, doesn’t mean its true!