An Athlete’s Lesson In Self-Talk


It looks pretty, but it's not great to run in!

It looks pretty, but it’s not great to run in!

I have been struggling a great deal with my running lately. I had such high hopes, at the beginning of this year, that I would be able to stick to the training schedule I had set for myself – a schedule that was demanding but certainly within my capability.

I tell myself that the main reason for my struggling of late has been the weather, and it is true that Mother Nature has not been on my side. Temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius, snow and ice have combined to make running conditions very difficult. I have gotten around it to an extent by going to the gym and running on the treadmill. Like most runners, I intensely dislike the treadmill, but it is better than nothing.

Still, I have to be honest with myself and ask the question: to what extent have I been using the weather as an excuse? Yes, it’s been hard and I am sick to death of the treadmill. To my credit, I have not missed any of my speed training sessions. But I have missed two of my long runs, in two consecutive weeks. On both occasions, I had the opportunity to make up the run the following day, and I didn’t. Out of the four days – two Sundays and two Mondays – I can only claim prohibitively bad weather on one of them.

The truth is that in recent weeks, I have been walloped with depression. Along with depression comes low self-esteem and inevitably, negative self-talk. I’ve been telling myself that I’m just not good at anything, and I’ve been fulfilling my own words. This negativity has touched every area of my life, without me even realising it.

I got a bit of a wake-up call yesterday. I decided that, snow be damned, I was going out for my long run. I was quite excited as I dug out my winter running gear and put it on: it felt good to be doing something positive instead of making excuses.

Before I’d even run a block, I knew I was in trouble. My breathing was laboured and I was struggling to find any kind of rhythm. To be fair, the conditions weren’t great. It was snowing, and the ground felt all sludgy. Telling myself that this was just a part of winter running in Canada, I trudged on gamely.

I managed about three kilometres before giving up. I kept slipping in the snow, and I just didn’t feel that I was in good enough shape to last for 18K. Bailing on the run was the right thing to do from a safety point of view. If I had continued, there was an excellent chance that I would have turned an ankle. Knowing that didn’t make me feel better, though. I felt that I was failing as a runner.

As I spent the afternoon brooding over how hard it had been for me to run those three kilometres, I thought of how poor my diet has been lately. I have been doing what I usually do when depressed: eating very little, and eating absolute junk on the occasions when I do eat. It’s no wonder that running has been such a challenge, that yesterday’s short distance proved to be too much for me. I haven’t exactly been fueling my body properly.

These thoughts were swilling around my head throughout the afternoon. I told myself that of course nutrition has been a problem. I’m a person who has been going through depression, and I have a messed-up relationship with food at the best of times.

You’re an athlete, piped up a little voice in my head, out of nowhere. Eat like one.

Well. That shut the negative part of me up. It derailed a train of thought that badly needed to be derailed. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard that little voice, the one that has confidence in what I can do. That little voice, in addition to reminding me that I am, in fact, an athlete, made me realise just how unkind I’ve been to myself lately.

In a sudden flurry of activity, I attacked my fridge, throwing out junk and old leftovers, getting rid of vegetables that I had bought and let go bad. And then, armed with a shopping list containing healthy foods, I corralled my family and dragged them to the grocery store with me.

Last night I cooked a healthy meal with a touch of carbo-loading. I ate it and went to bed feeling better than I have in ages. When I woke up this morning, I had peanut butter toast instead of breakfasting solely on endless cups of coffee. And then, once I had packed the kids and the husband off to school and work, I went for a run.

It was hard going. For about ninety percent of the time, I was running on snowy sidewalks and streets that hadn’t been shoveled or plowed. In addition to running, I had to work hard to keep my balance, and I had to push off from a slippery, slushy surface. I worked muscles that I didn’t even know I had, and the last couple of kilometres were excruciatingly difficult.

But I did it. I finished 18K.

Because I am an athlete.

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit to the author.


GUEST POST: A New Journey Begins

This weekend, I decided that I had had enough of not being as healthy as I need to be. I catch too many colds and take too long to get rid of them. I am always tired and run-down. I don’t run as fast as I know I’m able to, and in spite of having lost a lot of weight, I’m still about twenty pounds overweight.

Since I was a teen, I’ve had a one-extreme-or-the-other approach to eating. Either I consume calories as if they’re going extinct, or I live on the smell of an oilrag. That I have psychological issues with food is without question. Part of my problem, though, is good old-fashioned lack of discipline.

My nutrition habits suck because I haven’t tried hard enough to fix them. This weekend I decided that I was going to turn over that particular leaf. Right after I made this resolve, I went to see if anything interesting was happening on Facebook. And there, right on top of my newsfeed, was a status update from my good friend Mimi, who had made a very similar resolve.

I emailed her excitedly, and we decided that as we strive to improve ourselves, we will swap guest posts once a month, to tell each other’s readers how we are doing in our quests.

Mimi is a special needs mom like me, only with way more special needs kids. She is patient and kind, and she knows the true meaning of friendship. I recently did the 2012 Blogathon alongside her, and I am so thrilled to be embarking on another challenge with her – albeit a challenge of a different nature.

Today, Mimi tells us what her goals are. I am delighted that she is sharing her journey with us.

When I look back, I can see myself at various weights.  Some bother me and others make me wish I was back there again.  Before I had my first daughter at age 19, I weighed in at a whopping 97 pounds soaking wet.  I had no shape to my body whatsoever, but as soon as I got pregnant, through those 10 months of pregnancy (yes, my daughter was 28 days late!) I gained 91 pounds!  That was a whole me that I put on!  I worked very hard to get the weight off, and I managed to get most of it off, I got myself down to 120 pounds and was happy there, but then I got pregnant again and up went the scale.  This time I went up to 150 pounds with my daughter and after her birth, I managed to get myself to GAIN an additional 10 pounds.  See, my daughter was born with Down Syndrome, so I was more concerned with her health, than mine at the time.

I got married in 1994 and my weight was 160 pounds, which I was technically happy with.  I had a little pudge on me, but nothing that I was embarrassed about.  But then I had our next daughter and I immediately put on the weight again, and this time with each pregnancy I had, the weight just kept piling on, I couldn’t get back down to 160 no matter how hard I tried.

I remember the day that I was at the doctors office and I stepped on the scale and it said “200” in big bright orange numbers.  I about died right there on the spot!  It affected me so badly that I started eating my emotions, and my favorites are carbs.

I have since given birth a total of 6 times and am currently sitting at 225 pounds.  Just in March I was 216, but I’m stressed, there’s no doubt about it, but to pack on 9 pounds in just a little over a month, that’s a problem to me.

So I decided that now at my age (44) I need to fix this problem for once and for all.  My doctor has promised to take me off of my diabetes medications if I can get down to 175, but I want to do better than that… My goal is 160 pounds, like I was 17 years ago when I married the love of my life.

I want to lose the weight not only for me, but for my family.  If I can do it, then it will show them that they too can do it.  My hubby is over-weight as well and I think this weight loss program that I started would be great for him too.  He had one knee replaced last year, and is going to have the other one done this summer, so if he could take some of the extra weight off his knees, they will last longer.

But really, I’m just tired of looking at myself in the mirror and looking pregnant.  I’m not fat anywhere else except in the stomach, butt and hip area, which is of course where all of women’s weight tends to go.

The program that I am doing is the CTS300 which is sold at Complete Nutrition.  I’m really excited about doing this program because I’ve seen the pictures of the locals who have lost the weight and I am more determined now than I ever have been before.  I’ve tried Weight Watchers, that didn’t’ work for me… So I’m hoping that this program does.

I have an exercise routine that I do two times a day, I walk the treadmill at various inclines for 20 minutes, 2 times a day and I carry two 5 pound dumbbells with me as I’m walking.  By the time I’m done, I’m glistening like a diamond ring – because women don’t sweat!  My thighs are usually on fire by the time I’m done on the treadmill, but that just means I had a good workout, which is what I’m looking for.

So I’m not looking at this as a “diet”, but more as a lifestyle change.  I’m changing the way I look at food now, and I think before I go reaching for something to put in my mouth.

Check out Mimi’s blog at Wife… Mom… Writer… All Blessings!