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Monday, September 20, 2010

I EFFING BELONG HERE! A Mantra Monday post.

Mantra MondayIf you have ever stood in the middle of a large crowd, sweating, heart pounding, thinking everyone there is more in shape than you are, has been doing it for longer and knows what they're doing, is better than you or faster than you and you're feeling out of place, I have one word for you: DON'T.

Because YOU belong there.

YOU do.

I did the Sand Key Triathlon yesterday (Sunday) and I had an epiphany.

I've been feeling down on myself for my training rut. I've not been able to finish my long training sessions lately, cutting them short because I'm too hot, too dehydrated or because we raced against sunlight and lost, so so many reasons. This training has been really hard. I'd been getting into my own head and the negative self-talk has been free-flowing.

You'll never be able to finish that.

It's just too hot.

All these people are better than you are.

THEY are doing it, but YOU won't be able to because you're not as good of an athlete as they are.

You're slow.

Why are you even doing this?

You're in way over your head.

The list goes on and on. No wonder I'm not finishing.

In the swim in yesterday's triathlon, there were jellyfish everywhere. There was a time when this would have made me FREAK out but this time I just closed my eyes and hoped for the best. It wasn't fast, but I finished. I finished the swim 27th out of 28 people. Yes almost dead last in the swim (even though I didn't know it at the time). But whatever. I ran through transition, hopped on my bike and proceeded to bike my heart out and finish 11th out of 28 people in the bike. So there. Although of course I didn't know any of the placements at the time, I was just going from one thing to the next as fast as I could.

But it was on the bike where I had my epiphany.

Somewhere about half-way through where I was feeling a little defeated and was watching some hardbodies pass me, I picked it up. I started pounding away and passing people. I was passing dudes. I love passing dudes. And for the very first time ever, I thought, ya know what? I *EFFING* belong here.

(Only it wasn't "effing" in my head.)

I thought, I BELONG HERE. I work hard for this. I BELONG HERE, DAMMIT! Sure they do too. But so do I.

Why don't I? I remember reading about someone's training recently and about how they were afraid to do a race because they thought everyone would be looking at them on race day like they don't belong. She thought she might not be as good of a runner as them. That she might not belong.

I remember telling her that of course she belonged, because she had been training too! She deserved every bit of this race, just as the people around her did! And that seriously, no one is looking at you, they're just not. They're stuck in their own heads thinking about the very same thing you are.

Anyway, I remember telling her that and then as I sat on my own bike feeling intimidated, I remembered that I was feeling just like she was that maybe I didn't belong. But I know it's not true, I know it's not true because I belonged there, too.

And it wasn't until I allowed myself to believe that I belonged there too that I gave it everything. I repeated to myself with every pedal, with everything I had going up the bridges and flying down, going down the straightaways passing everyone I could. Because when I don't believe in myself, do you know who passes me? The people who believe in themselves.

Sure, it could be the adrenaline talking. But something has to get you through to the finish line, right?

On the run, my legs were hurting a little but instead I felt the wind on my face and saw the sun shining over the palm trees and they stopped hurting.

I thought about my choice of Bondi Band for the day, I chose something positive, the one I bought from Kirsten for her niece's fundraiser, I chose "You can...and you WILL."

I thought about Kirsten's niece battling cancer and how no child should have to trade in dates and girlyness and movies with friends and all of that highschoolness for chemotherapy treatments.

I thought about how she is going through her own battle and that any of my pain on this run is nothing in comparison.

I got all choked up and remembered how hard it is to run while you're crying so I pulled it together.

And then I thought about how absolutely beautiful the weather was and how for the first time all summer, it was actually cool outside for once (or below 100 degrees, anyway) and how I've been waiting to run in this weather all freaking summer.

I basked in the beauty of this day and I took my mind off the pain and just ran.

And would you believe, there was no pain. None. It melted away and I just ran as hard as I could.

And I beat my goal of 9:40 miles (which I thought was a pipe dream!) BUT I BEAT IT! I ran my 5k in a new triathlon pr: 28:43!!!

And then I remembered how freaking good it feels to be proud of yourself. After beating myself up for so long, it felt really really good to be proud of myself for once. I needed something like this so badly, just so I could remind myself about why I am doing this in the first place.

Training just doesn't work when you don't believe in yourself. Racing doesn't work when you don't believe in yourself. Nothing works when you don't believe in yourself and I saw it for myself this weekend.

It's not enough just to show up. You have to believe that you belong there, too.
* * *

What's your mantra this week? Share it here or write a post and post the link in the comments below!


Karena said...

I loved this post, Christie! I just wrote one last week dealing with these negative thoughts of not belonging and not being a "real" athlete. I'm amazed to see that you have them as well! I'm proud of you for digging deep and realizing that you really DO belong out there!

Brooke said...

thanks cause i certainly needed this right now. i'm starting to freak out - one week away and those bike hills are starting to worry me. what if i just can't bike myself up the hill??

i'd even decided not to wear the bondi band i won from you...because what if i don't?

Dawn said...

awesome post, and so well put! I think as women & moms, most, if not all of us struggle with this at some point in our training & lives.

Thanks for the reminder that we do have to believe in ourselves, and remember that we CAN do it!

Kirsten said...

Oh, fine. Make me cry on a Monday morning. Because I'm in awe of the training you've been doing and how poorly mine has felt lately (now because I'm taking a little rest break so I don't actually break). And you totally made my day when you posted those pictures with you and the green "You Can and You Will". Because you were right. You can and you DID!!

Jessi said...

Um, LOVED this post, girl! Even though I've only raced in one race (1/2 marathon 3 years ago), I remember feeling like I wasn't a "real" runner because I hardly looked like one (despite my gear)...and I was in a slower pace group. :-( BUT you're right, I trained just like everyone else....and I may have finished A LOT slower than the winner, but I finished, too. :-)

eonyc said...

Do you remember the scene in Muppets Take Manhattan where Kermit is about to give up and go home? He has his epiphany at the Empire State Building, and he shrieks "I'm staying! You hear that, New York? THE FROG! IS! STAYING!" So when I'm feeling really beat up and ready to quit myself, I say that in my head, or even better, out loud, and I get back my gumption. Every time.

Pubsgal said...

*clanga * clanga * clanga * clanga *
(Ringing my virtual cowbell here. I don't have a real one yet. Priced them out at our local feed store, and those suckers are $30+! I could buy a whole new pair of running shoes for that.)

Oh, wow, Christie...this post really spoke to me. I sometimes feel intimidated by the folks with better gear, the folks who look the part more than I do, and of course the folks who are finishing when I'm about mid-way through the bike. But of course I belong there. I genuinely love the sport, and I train for it to the best of my ability. I'm not doing it because it's trendy. Sure, I'm tickled that it kind of impresses people who find out about it - I love that "Funny, she doesn't look like a triathlete..." expression they get on their faces. It's like a talisman, knowing that it's part of who I am now.

Pubsgal said...

P.S. - And you rock!!! I would have so wimped out vs. the jellyfish.

Roo said...

This post really spoke to me. I think I need to start believing in myself. REALLY believing in myself.

Beki said...

This is a GREAT post! I need to repeat this to myself. It's especially hard when I feel like I've failed. So easy to want to curl up and hide - so easy to believe I don't belong here. But you are right - I do belong here!

You are amazing! Congrats on a GREAT tri! After my 1st (and only) tri, I've felt I don't belong there... but I'm starting to change that thinking...

You are my inspiration! Love you girl!

Charlotte said...

Okay, I laughed, I cried... it was a GREAT blog. Thanks for the heartfelt post and the reminder of what reality IS compared to what we look around and THINK is reality.

My knee is hurt, I can't run more than 3 miles at a time again and I've been sitting here feeling all pitiful and thinking, "I'm not really a runner, 3 miles isn't really running, why am I even out here, was that just a 10:00+ minute mile- JESUS! I suck!" and on, and on, and on.

A good friend of mine from Clearwater just got diagnosed with nonoperable pancreatic cancer. Now THAT's hard. Now THAT's sucky. I needed the reminder this morning... and I needed the good hard cry that came along with it.

Thanks my dear, as always.

Charlotte said...

PS-- I removed my earlier post because I was signed in as my *gasp* husband. LOL....

Nicole Dufala, Remax Realtec said...

GREAT post, well put. I feel this way at most races and all you can do is your best! Does this mean that there's no way for me to get out of our 14 miler this weekend??

P.S. I LOVE passing the dudes too, hehe!

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My Favorite Quotes

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it." - Bill Cosby

I tri because one day I didn't believe in myself. And then one day I did.

"I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist." - Jack London

Some people think it's holding on that makes one strong- sometimes it's letting go.

"Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History."- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Live life PASSIONATELY, laugh OUT LOUD, love UNCONDITIONALLY. - from my spoon rest.

"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." - Ferdinand Foch