Running away from insecure me

Interaction with a new colleague of mine has left me pretty frustrated and exhausted recently. In my eyes, he’s good at what he does. He’s on the ball and uber-efficient. But he doesn’t see it. He hides behind his computer, he lacks confidence and when I rave about his work, he refuses to acknowledge it. He’ll make excuses and shrug off every compliment he receives.

In a way, he reminds me of a lot of myself whenever I mention my running. I must be the most insecure runner I know. I keep making excuses for my pace. I tell people I’m more of a ‘jogger’ but in my head, I know I’m running as best I can. When people ask me what distance I ran, I’ll say “Agh, only the 21km race”. Only?

Just recently, I was chatting to a newbie runner who was complaining about her slow pace and I said, “You can’t possibly run slower than I do!” When she said she ran 1 km in just over 7 minutes, I said, “well, it take me over 8 minutes.” It was a lie.

Tear you down

Yes, so my pace is often 8 minutes but that’s over 21.1 kms. In shorter distances I can manage to keep up a faster pace. So why do I do that? Why do I constantly run myself down? Lately, I keep thinking that other runners I’ve met avoid me. That they dread running with me. I’m even too scared to ask to run with them.

So when my colleague goes on and on, I tell him I don’t want to hear his negative talk. I tell him he’s talking nonsense and try make him see just how great he is and to stop comparing himself to others and think he’s not good enough. Because he is. So what’s wrong with me?

*Images: Google

Thoughts from my run: Things change

In conversation with some colleagues the other day, we chuckled at the fact that we have been employed at the current company for so long now that it doesn’t faze us when someone resigns, we don’t seem surprised when a restructure is announced and in fact, we generally grow concerned when things stay the same for too long. That’s comforting in a way, but perhaps also a little disturbing.

If there’s one lesson I try to teach my 11-year-old niece it’s that she embraces change and equips herself with tools as a youngster to manage the uncertainty in the world and for her future ahead. I find so many people I interact with on a daily basis see change as a negative thing. Not only do they fear it, but they struggle to see opportunities and potential doors opening when things happen.

On my run this morning, I ran into (you see what I did there?) an old Twitter friend of mine. Both of us have moved into new roles at work and as we briefly chatted, it was great to find out that we both love the work we do and happy for the changes we made.

I wouldn’t say it was an easy route. Change is hard and I have been stressed at most stops throughout the journey. But I’ve been lucky that I have managed to “come out alive?” I’m blessed that things have worked out for me. If only I could find a way to bottle the learnings so that I know what to do next time. Because trust me, change comes whether you like it or not.

Talking about being blessed, how beautiful are these Jacaranda trees on my running route?

Jacaranda trees

Focusing on the negative. (Expert level)

The first kilometer of the running route from my house starts on a very semi-steep uphill. Because of this, I usually use the first kilometer to ‘warm up’ and walk. But my running has been getting stronger and one afternoon, I found myself managing to run the entire kilometer without stopping. I was thrilled! When I reached the top at the swimming school, my heart felt like it would jump out of my chest, more from happiness than exertion. I could not stop smiling. My inner voice was saying, “Well done Bron!” Best . Feeling. Ever!

Two minutes later, another runner caught up to me and we started making conversation. We exchanged pleasant neighborhood chatter and discussed some of our road races. A few minutes had passed and I was enjoying running with her when out of the blue, she said, “Well, nice to have met you. Enjoy the rest of your run, I need to get going and run a little faster. I need to get home before the sun sets.” And off she ran…

That’s when all the negative thoughts flooded my head:

Before the sun sets? What the…? Yes, because I’m so slow, right? No one wants to run with you Bron. No one! You’re too slow!

When she was out of sight, I slowed down (even more) and was still grumbling to myself when I suddenly thought back to how my run had started. I had managed to run up to the swimming school without walking. That was a great moment and it was brilliant! So then how the hell did I manage to allow my run to dip into such a negative mood. Why did it become all about my speed? How did I go so quickly from celebrating reaching a goal to focus on one of my biggest running insecurities?

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Lesson learnt: It’s an area I need to work on. Breaking myself down happens so quickly and so easily. It’s destructive. I need to focus on my achievements and stop obsessing on the negative. I’m proud of myself. I ran the first kilometer from home all the way up the hill, to the swimming school, for the first time, without walking. Yeah! That’s what I want to take out of that run. Because that’s what counts!

(Image from Google)