Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stifling Self-Doubt

Well hello there! Howsitgoing?

I have mentioned before what I thought my biggest hurdle would be in training for my 10-miler, and today I want to talk more about that. Let me start by telling you that I am a dweller. I dwell on the negatives, and the what-ifs, and I freak myself out with self-doubt, and worry myself sick. I know this about myself, and I try to embrace it, and then overcome it, because I have come to terms with the fact that I can't change it.


I am well aware of the fact that my biggest obstacle in my training is the self-doubt. Growing up I thought I could do anything! And most things came easy to me, I did have this strong fear of failing, and disappointing the ones that I love, but that changed in high school. During my senior year of high school I failed my first class ever. But instead of beating myself up about it, and making myself sick like I normally would have done, I forgave myself for my bad choices, and realized that failing is part of the journey. Sounds healthy, right? Well, this realization brought on an irrational fear of failing at everything. Whenever something started to go well, I found myself saying, "Hannah, you're probably gonna screw up this next thing, it's only a matter of time until you mess up again." I am a firm believer in self-fulfilling prophecies, and by me just having these thoughts, I had already screwed myself.

Since then college has been a struggle for me, so has balancing a checkbook, finding a job, and getting healthy. I start out by deciding to make a change, doing all of the research, getting all of the tools, trying, and then quitting because I don't believe I can turn it around. And I don't believe the people around me believe I can turn it around.

Running has to be different for me. I have been hesitant to tell people in my "real life" about my race. A few of my friends know (the one that told me about it, and a friend I was trying to recruit to run with me), and Boomer knows. But that was it. I didn't want to tell my family, because I was so scared that they would scoff at my attempt, or tell me I'm crazy, and not believe I'd be able to do it. But I told my eldest sister last weekend, and she is probably one of the most supportive people I know (she takes after our mom), and I'm not scared to disappoint her. She had the reaction I thought she would, she was proud, and excited for me, and even a little bit envious (I'm trying to get her to register with me). But her husband (my brother-in-law), I was scared to tell him. He has some very firm beliefs, and values about sports, what makes a sport, nutrition, and the like. He doesn't consider dance to be a worthy sport, or physical activity (a sport that I devoted 13 years of my life to), he thought I was running my family (financially) into the ground, because competitive dance is not cheap. I love my brother-in-law, I know he cares for me, but sometimes I worry about what he really thinks of me. I think as a person, and a person with values he thinks highly of me, I think he knows I have a good head on my shoulders, but I also think he thinks I'm a bit of a screw up. He is on of the people in my life that I am scared to disappoint.


But last weekend, after telling my sister, I told him. His was very proud of me. And was excited for me, and immediately launched into advice for me about running (he was a track star back in his hay-day), he even offered to do training runs with me. He even warned me that it wasn't necessary for me to run long distances to lose weight, that just being consistent (3-4 miles, 3-4X's a week) about it would help me get to my goal. And when I said to him that running 10 miles wasn't about the weight for me (although it is something I'm keeping my eye on), it was more about setting a goal, and achieving it. He seemed even more excited! He told me that I can do anything, and achieve anything I want as long as I am willing to put the work in. When I told him I was terrified, he reminded me to never let fear get in the way of something I want, because fear is only going to keep you away from discovering new passions. Although he never outwardly said he was proud of me, having that conversation, and hearing how eager he was to help me, and the way he looked at me really lit a fire under me. I want to prove my naysayers wrong, and I want my brother-in-law to always be proud of me. And knowing that I have that support, knowing that I have an experienced runner (and loved one) in my corner to help me, and guide me is going to take me far.

He doesn't know how much his approval means to me. But it means the world. I have newfound strength to get out there, push myself, test my limits, and not be scared. I refuse to let self-doubt get the best of me. As long as I put in the time, and log the miles, and believe in myself, I will get there!


So in an effort to silence "the voice" that creeps into my mind everyday when I hit the trail, and look across the lake watching all the other runners run, and says, "there is no way you will ever be as athletic as those people, and there is no way you will ever run 3 miles non-stop," I am taking it one step at a time, one minute, at a time, and reminding myself that no matter how fast, or how far I go, I am doing something good for my body, and doing more than I was doing last year, and I am going to be proud of that.


I am also looking for new ways to distract myself while running. Something else to focus on, so that I'm not focusing on how far I've gone, how far I have to go, my lungs exploding, or the 70 year old man that has lapped me twice already.

Here are the methods that I think will help me in silencing "The Voice":

  • Focus on the good that I am doing, whether I'm doing it well or not, at least I am trying!

  • Distract myself with something else, new music, a friend to chat with.

  • Be proud of what I have accomplished! Whether it's the miles I've put in that week, or that day!

  • Prove "The Voice" wrong! Whenever I hear that nagging, just prove it wrong! Show it who is boss!


Do you have any more techniques for me to squelch the self-doubt?


While surfing the webs, and trying to catch up on blogs I discovered a new blog last night, and stayed up until 4 a.m. reading back posts. She is funny, and real, and I want to be her friend. So, Cely, if you read this, call me! You should go read her blog too, I promise you'll love it! But the point is that she listens to audiobooks while she runs! I'll admit that I have considered it, but I am such a visual person I didn't think that I would really know what was going on in the book if I wasn't reading the words. But I get so lost in books I think it would be a good thing to silence "the voice". So, today I paid $23 to download the audio version of a book that is probably $10 in paperback, and vowed to only listen to it while running. And I hit the trails (for the first time in a week)!

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It helped! I didn't not once hear "the voice" in the back of my head screaming that I was crazy! I didn't hear it at all! I was so focused on the story, and not missing anything that I didn't once think I wasn't capable! I did walk more than I ran, and my shins started to hurt so bad at one point that I had to sit down at a picnic table for a while. But I covered 1.45 miles in 27 minutes.


When I got home I was starving, so I threw together a huge lunch!


Leftover brown rice and salmon cake over baby spinach, romaine, and cherry tomatoes with the last drips of TJ's Champagne Gorgonzola vinaigrette, and a little plain greek yogurt blended with garlic.


I bought Thomas' Bagel Thins this week after drooling over Julie's bagelwiches for weeks! And they're good, they aren't bagels, but they're good, and for 100 calories, it satisfied the craving. But then again, I've never had an authentic, chewy, New York City bagel. Along with my salad I had a cinnamon raisin, Muenster, lingonberry preserves, and pear bagelwich inspired by Julie! It was as good as it looked on her blog!


And now I am lounging, job hunting, reading, and watching Wheel of Fortune (sidenote: anyone have Comcast, and get switched over to Xfinity? I didn't ask them to do it, and I hate it). I am also craving another bagelwich, and thinking about going out for another walk so I can listen to Something Borrowed.

There is something wrong with me.


  1. Good for you!! I'm so happy you're finding support for your 10-miler in your family! I've been wanting to take up running again but have been terrified of injuring my back. I threw my back out of alignment the last time from pushing myself too hard. I'm soon moving to an area that is more suited for morning runs so I'm looking to start back slow when that move is finished.

    Stay motivated and proud of what you're doing for yourself!

  2. Thanks Lauren! I read your comment immediately after my run this morning, and I teared up a bit! I am glad that you are ready to get back into running, just make sure not to hurt yourself again! Thanks for reading!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog! It means the world to me!