Accept. Adapt. Evolve.
In our world of social media it is almost impossible not to feel bad about yourself about almost EVERYTHING. When you log on, the majority of the time there is a post about a vigourous workout someone woke up at 4 am to do and more importantly- that YOU didn't do. Miles logged and burpees done before your body was even considering opening your baby blues.
Here is a story about how Facebook and Instagram made me depressed but how I learned about myself in the process.
In October of 2014 I ran my first marathon in Venice, Italy. It was amazing and I immediatly got the marathon bug. Come January I was already planning my second marathon for May. Usually my runs are few and far between during the winter months because of the snow and ice. I told myself that this winter would be different. I could suck it up and train. How bad could it be? A week later the snow started to fall and didn't stop until March. It was a bad winter.
Days passed, the snow fell and I didn't run. I would log onto Facebook and Instagram only to see photos of the snow and the runs completed despite of it. Three words; I got depressed. I set a goal, I was loosing time and yet the ice would not melt.
I started to get angry with myself. Why didn't I get those fancy ice shoes and run 8 miles? Why didn't I drag my ass to the gym and use a treadmill? If I really wanted this, wouldn't I just do it? No ifs ands or buts? I fooled myself to think I could catch up. The anger inside me grew.
A friend of mine told me the day before my marathon “Run your own race”. These four words were the most important words I needed to hear. They sunk in for those 26 miles and for every race I have run since. In a nutshell; don't compare yourself to other runners, run your pace and worry about yourself. What I didn't think about is how this could be applied to life in general and my situation at hand.
I started to really think about why I was angry. I started asking myself questions. (What a concept!)
Q: Why are you really not running?
A: Because both of my jobs are physical and I cannot afford to sprain an ankle if I fell on the ice. I cannot risk my financial livelyhood.
Realization: I was being smart.
Q: Why not go to the gym and train?
A: This is a two parter. One: I hate the gym. I hate treadmills. Two: I do not own a car.
Realization: I am not a hardcore athlete. I never have been and I never will be. I was fooling myself. I will never be that person who wakes up at 4 am to run 8 miles in a snow storm or take the bus to the gym. I need to accept that and stop comparing myself to others.
What does this all mean? It means I need to be smarter about setting goals. I should never have picked a marathon that required training in the winter months. I set myself up for failure and dissapointment without even realizing it. Two months wasted with anxiety and depression when all of this wasted energy could have been avoided.
Amazing things can happen just by slowing down and having an honest conversation with yourself. Sometimes you may find things that are not so pretty. Sometimes you will find something so beautiful that has been hidden for years. Both will allow you to take a step forward and understand yourself a little better. By doing this, we can become the best possible people we can be.
I keep these three words written on my mat: Accept. Adapt. Evolve. After the winter presented not so ideal running conditions I chose to loathe the snow and lost all the joy that came with it. I cheated myself out of a great winter.
"Accept then Act. Whatever the present moment contains accept it as if you had chosen it. Always will work with it not against it. This will miraculously transform your whole life."