Golden Retrievers · Running

Running, Self Sabotage, and Using it to Make You Stronger

Hi there. This post isn’t going to be super cheery, but it won’t be depressing either, I promise.

Allow me to share something that is not-so-secret. I have a serious self destructive streak.

If you are a friend of family member reading this, you may think, duh Becca... you run marathons for *–* sake (<enter your own offensive word, not trying to offend anyone). That is the definition of torture.

And it is tempting to think, well, we all have a destructive streak, and while I think that is true to a certain degree, I also think… maybe it’s not. Maybe self doubt and self criticism are inherintely related to, yet fundamentally different from self destucting or self sabotaging.

Let us get technical (read: nerdy) and look at Merriam-Webster’s definitions of the words Doubt, Critical, Destructive, and Sabotage.

Doubt: to be uncertain about (something): to believe that (something) may not be true or is unlikely (source)

Critical: (In the sense that I am referring to in this post): expressing criticism or disapproval (source)

Destructive: causing a very large amount of damage : causing destruction or harm (source)

Sabotage: the act of destroying or damaging something deliberately so that it does not work correctly. (Source)


I think for runners, and all people for that matter, self doubt and self criticism are inevitable. But I have done enough reading to know in my head that self destruction and self sabotage are not. I know this in my head, but I am still learning this in my heart. When you have been telling yourself one story about yourself ever since you were a child, it will take time to reframe those thoughts. So I am trying to be compassionate towards myself rather than frustrated with myself at this particular moment in my training.

Maybe you are in my boat. Maybe you are training for your big race of the fall season and are running into road blocks that feel more like boulders than rocks or bumps on the road. Maybe you should be weeks into tapering, but you are running your longest distance of the training season this Saturday (ehemm…). Maybe this fall weather is seriously impacting and altering your mood and mental state. Maybe you are in my boat.

Rather than pretend or deny the BOULDER in the road ahead of me, or try fruitlessly to move it with my two arms, or give up and plop down on the street in defeat, or turn around and run the other direction, or veer off course to avoid it, I am running straight towards it. I’m going to be like Froto, walking straight towards the craggily mountain on his way to Mordor. And my Garmin will be Gandolf, and my compression socks will be that angry dwarf whose name I can never remember, and my Mizunos will be my Sam (and oy this is either the most terrible or most brilliant analogy I have ever created – LOL). And once I am close enough to the, what from a distance appears to be impenetrable rock, I will see a crack. A crack that I cannot see inside, and will be pitch black, and terrifying. And I will not walk trepidaciously into it. I will run into it. Because you know what the truth is? I’m not going to let my anxiety, and self doubt, self criticism, self sabotage, and self destrucive streak win anymore. I don’t care if I don’t know if I can or can’t. I don’t care if it is going to hurt. Badly. I don’t care, because I finally understand, going into my third full marathon, that that is what the marathon will always be for me. It will always push me to grow beyond my self-imposed limitations. And that is the beauty of it, is it not? Any journey worth taking will have obstacles. The harder the obstacle, the more rewarding the journey.

If you made it to the end, thanks for reading. If you liked this post, you may want to check out these other ones that relate:

3 Tips for Getting Past a Slow Run
3 Tips for Running Faster (that have nothing to do with physical training)
Book Reviews of books that have helped me overcome self limiting beliefs:
Running Within by Jerry Lynch and Warren Scott
Running With the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham

🙂 ❤

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