This morning I woke startled to no alarm and immediately began to freak out. I had less than 2hrs to get to the New Years Day “Drouthy Bear Set the Pace 5K” in Camden, Maine – 65mi from my home. What a great way to start the New Year!
Then “my-selves” started their familiar internal tug-of-war. For reading ease, let’s name these dueling personas “Negative Nancy” (the pessimist) and “Positive Polly” (the optimist). Of note for the past few years, I have listened to Negative Nancy far more than I should have. How could I not? She can be loud, temperamental, disruptive, and emotional. While Positive Polly means well and I readily identify with her, she seemed to loose her voice over the years, becoming reclusive and submissive. I want to listen to her, but sometimes it difficult to hear her over the other.
“I miss complaining about the heat”
This is how their morning conversation played out:
Negative Nancy (NN): “It’s friggin’ cold out there! Bone-chilling cold, as in below 0. You shouldn’t do this!”
Positive Polly (PP): “It’s been colder this week. It’ll warm up once you get moving.”
NN: “You didn’t finish all your errands yesterday. Now you’re going to run off and play?”
PP: “I wouldn’t call this playing. Plus you need to take care of your physical well-being.”
NN: “You can’t even find something decent to wear. Just give up!”
PP: “Keep looking, I know your warm gear was right here last week. You don’t have to match; nobody knows you there.”
NN: “What if there’s a bunch of people? You don’t do so well with crowds.”
PP: “Social anxiety – that’s all it is. You can overcome it. Smile, be polite, but don’t get worked up.”
NN: “Where is the Drouthy Bear? Is that a pub?! Are you really going to put yourself in that position being sober less than 6 months? You might as well start drinking again here in the comfort of your own home.”
PP: “You’ve been around alcohol and not drank, even upheld yourself with grace and dignity. Look forward to this being your first race without alcohol as a reward.”
NN: “Aren’t those the pants you wore on Mt Kinabalu when you had to turn back. Failure pants, FAILURE PANTS!!!”
PP: “Yes, but today you can make new memories in them. Today you can succeed and rename them.”
NN: “Last night you didn’t drink enough water to seriously think you could run today. You’re not prepared.”
PP: “Chalk this up to a lesson learned, and do better next time.”
NN: “You haven’t ran in months! You haven’t prepared. You’re insane.”
PP: “You’ve ran farther with less conditioning.”
NN: “Meh, a banana and coffee. You call that a proper breakfast?”
PP: “You can eat better after the run. Come on, you like these pre-race treats.”
NN: “Those shoes? What if there’s ice on the road? You’re going to get frostbite or at least injure yourself.”
PP: “These shoes still have decent tread and you’ll just have to be more mindful of the road conditions.”
NN: “You’re going to be late. Remember the last time you were late? They started the race, and you were left behind. You drove all that way for nothing and felt horrible driving home, degrading yourself the whole way. Do you want to repeat that episode?”
PP: “You don’t know if you’re going to be late until you get there. Maybe they will have a late start.”
NN: “What if you fail?”
PP: “What if you don’t!”
Finally, Rational Raquel (the realist) stepped forth quietly but fiercely stating…
“Yes, it’s bloody cold! Throw on another layer. No, you’re not going to give up before you start. Sure, your toe hurts, but a lot more is gonna hurt before this is over. Take an Aleave! Those errands will be there when you finish; take care of yourself first. Nobody cares what you’re wearing. There’s even a category for ‘least dressed’ … no, don’t even think about it!!!
This is your initial run of the year, a benchmark to improve upon. If you suck, fine; just don’t quit. You ARE going to be late if you don’t stop making excuses, now get in the car. You have an hour to get there. You are going to run. Go!”
To be continued….