Face your fears.

I heard someone say, “do one thing every day that scares you.”  Not the kind of “stick your head in the lions mouth” kind of scary, but perhaps more along the lines of welcoming new challenges and not letting those pesky inner voices talk us out of them.

Sometimes, we have an internal dialogue that says, “I can’t do that.”  “I’ll fail.” or “I’m too ________ to do that.”

Maybe we know how we got that negative internal dialogue, maybe not.  Either way, we can choose to listen to the negatives and reinforce the belief of failure; or we can challenge it, argue with it, tell it to shut up, or ignore it completely.

Personally, I think we’ve been letting that negative, critical voice have waaaay too much control.

So here’s my dilemma.  In case you’ve just come to this blog, I’m getting ready to turn 50 in April and decided to run a 1/2 marathon to celebrate.  Initially, the 1/2 marathon was/is set for mid-November, but that’s months after my auspicious birthday, so I found one that is the weekend before I turn 50 – and I signed up.

I used to run when I was in my late teens and twenties.  I ran with ease and I ran often.  I’m not at all sure why I stopped but now at 49 3/4 I’ve decided to take up running again.

I notice that my thoughts are playing a HUGE part in the preparation for the April 1/2 marathon.  I have a running plan (you have to have a plan) and last weekend I ran (or really walked & ran) 4 miles.  It was fun, it went quickly, I was super proud.

And, I was sore this week after the run.  Stiff from not stretching enough or the right way, an old soccer-knee injury griped all week about being much too old to run a marathon.  I have some arthritis in my foot that’s complaining too.  Blah, blah, blah.

The weekend, the plan says, “run 5 miles.”  I think how pleasant the 4 miles were and I think, “great.”  Then in the next nano-second, I think, “Sh*t  I can’t run 5 miles – that’s a long way!”  I find that I’m holding my breath while I think about the 5 miles and the plan – THE PLAN.  I feel anxious that I can’t do it.

It’s driving me nuts.

So as I work with my dear clients on facing their fears and pushing themselves to do something new and different, I’m also doing a lot of internal work on facing mine.

The PLAN calls for running a bit and then walking a bit and repeat till finished.  I got an Ironman watch to help with time-keeping.

Ironman watch from timex

Ironman watch in "Power Pink"

Two different marathon running friends suggested the Jeff Galloway method for running. He calls it the run-walk-run method, I call it the PLAN.  I love that the cover includes the words, “You can do it”

Jeff Galloway's 1/2 marathon book

You can do it!

Sunday’s the day – as soon as it’s in the 40′s, I’ll run (and walk) five miles.  It’ll be fun, or scary, or some combination thereof.  I think a big part of this running endeavor is about confronting those voices and getting on with what’s in front of you.

A friend said to me, “You can do it.  Just go left foot, right foot, etc., and you’ll be finished in no time.”

So here’s to facing my fears and you facing your fears, quieting less-than-helpful inner voices, and doing something new in this new year.  You can do it.  That’s my goal this year, embrace “You can do it” in all it’s glory, messiness and opportunity.


4 responses to “Face your fears.

  1. Hi Cynthia, I so relate to this post! I took a decade off
    of running after being a runner in high school. Then when I turned
    30 I decided to start running again. The morning of my 30th
    birthday I got up and tried to run like an adolescent (no
    stetching) and threw my back out. That was a decade ago, and it has
    taken me a while to get some consistency back. Now I run every
    Sunday around a pond with a friend, for 2.5 miles. It is getting
    easier, and what has made it easier is that now I stretch and try
    to run with a friend so I can keep my mind engaged with her rather
    than focusing on my running. I think the run walk run is also a
    great metaphor for us. I think it is a better option than building
    up a sense of frenzy and saying on some level, “I’m going to run
    every mile that I should have run since 1990 today!”

    • Mike, I really appreciate your feedback. It is a wonderful metaphor and one that is particularly useful to therapy. I hope you have a great Sunday run tomorrow, and I hope I do too!

      I’m off to Costco to buy Glucosamine.

  2. Cynthia,
    This isn’t about a race or a birthday. It’s about life and it’s about death. To me, anyway. The one step then another is great advice. One breath and then another. The last one will be an exhale. We’ll be at the finish line. Not sure exactly where it is. But we’re on the path… Listen to your body, use your breath to open the kinks, exercise self-compassion. And have fun! Love the pics from the road! – Robin P.S. We’ve got to head your way one of these days…Is the Welfare Care still open on weekends?

    • Wonderful comment – I think it is about vitality so maybe it’s a life/ death crossroads. It’s really wonderful to challenge my body & mind with this. Welfare Cafe is open. Look up their website.

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