My Not So Secret Diary

Competing With Myself

Competing With Myself outdoors with my two littles boys, writing for my blog about sobriety and mental health My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
For someone who was totally and I mean totally, not sporty for a long time, for about two years, I got really sucked in to running and races. If it hadn’t been for corona virus and lockdown, I probably still would be. Instead, I took the opportunity to slow down and I lost my momentum.

It’s funny, because when I look at it and try to analyse it, I see that I use running as another marker of how worthy I am. It seems everything, even the things I enjoy are twisted by my ability to use them as a measure. It’s annoying, and I don’t always see it, but looking in from the outside, I can.

With running, it crept up slowly. First I could just run for one minute, but then as I improved, the goal posts changed. Soon, two miles wasn’t enough for an evening run, and then it had to be three, but that had to be fast, and I was disappointed in myself anytime I took over thirty minutes for it, even if it was hilly. I compared myself against people who were younger, faster or had been running for longer than me and I felt so annoyed when I couldn’t keep up. Soon the 5k became 10k and then half marathons. While I was proud of my efforts, I’d never thought I could run over 13 miles, instead I was annoyed I couldn’t do it faster, so I did more and more.

Running almost became a chore, something I had to do to maintain, rather than enjoy and over lockdown I took the opportunity for a rest. The thing is, as I went out less and less it became harder and I couldn’t measure up to where I had been.

I’m almost afraid to run now because I know it won’t be pretty. I know it won’t be fast and when my watch uploads my data to Strava I know I’ll be disappointed. I’m also feeling embarrassed about my time and worried that I won’t measure up to other runners I know. I know I shouldn’t be, that I should be proud I’ve got out, but it’s so hard and so much easier not to. It seems like such an effort and I don’t know if I can be bothered.

The cancellation of most of my races this year has been good. It means I have no pressure, but it also means my incentive is not currently there. Rather than seeing it as motivation that I have another half marathon in October, I’m just seeing it as a mountain I can’t and don’t particularly want to climb. It’s quite annoying as I was enjoying it.

I’m beginning to wonder if running was just a passing phase? Maybe it’s done it’s job. It certainly created a runner in my son Barn, and that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t started running, and dragged him into it kicking and screaming. So maybe that’s the reason for it all? I’m not sure, but I don’t think I’m going to push myself either. I don’t want to end up resenting something that I loved. It’s hard isn’t it?

Take care and thanks as always for reading.
Claire x