Some lessons seem to take longer to learn than others. For me, anything that involves giving myself a break or cutting myself some slack is exceedingly difficult to do. As I get out for more training runs this is coming into stark relief.
I spend my days denigrating myself without even putting up a fight. I receive luke-warm feedback from a supervisor, say something with not quite the right word choice or affective modulation, get on the scale and see anything other than a number lower than the last and I'm off and running. The things I say to myself and about myself, I would never say of another human being. Although I often enjoy the fact that people see me as a tough cookie, who speaks her mind and doesn't take shit from others, I simultaneously really value human beings and human subjectivity. When others are suffering around me, I take their perspective seriously (whether or not they may carry some sort of diagnosis). When someone tells me they are worthless, hate themself, or are inherently flawed, although its easy for me to understand and I truly empathize with their bind, I can't say that I have ever agreed. Silently (or aloud), I fight for people to honor themselves and to know themselves. Yet, I am my sternest critic. I am my worst enemy...
Back to the running now... In the past, when I have decided that I wanted to be "a runner", I would quickly and viciously put myself down for my shortcomings. Feet too flat. Body too heavy. Pace too slow. Not surprisingly, the running hasn't lasted long and I've returned to safer waters.
Slowly, I think I may be learning something. Now, I will admit that it is easy for me, on a day like today, when I ran exceedingly well, felt strong, and came in with an unexpectedly good time, to tell myself that things could be different. More importantly though, when I was about two miles into my run (I don't have a watch, only the track switches on my ipod to retrospectively check pace) and had forgotten which street marked the two mile mark, and counted as one minute and then another passed and I still didn't see the road I was looking for and started telling myself that I was way off my pace from last week, I miraculously let it go. I told myself, that I was out on a beautiful Sunday morning, with pain-free feet, comfy new running shorts and whether my pace was 8:00, 9:00, or 10:00min/mi it would be fine. And it was. Legs kept pumping, scenery kept moving. Two miles later, another shift: I started thinking about what my body was doing for me. Now this may seem like kids' stuff, but for me it's significant. I tend to relate to my body in terms of what I can subject it to or how it withholds success from me. A body that is on my side, rather than against me, sounds pretty damn good.
As I sprinted the last 200meters of my run and then gasping clutched my knees for about 2 minutes, I said "thank you" to myself - and meant it.
8:12 splits over 6 miles, was just icing on the cake.