My Shelfari Bookshelf (These are seriously just a FEW of the hundreds of books I've read lately)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Doubt...the DEVIL Inside

I have a confession to make. I'm afraid of lots of things. I'm afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of something ever happening to one of my children. I'm afraid of never being good enough. I'm afraid of heights. I'm afraid of the ocean (even though I'm a good swimmer). I'm afraid of not finishing my Ironman.  I'm afraid people will find out I'm not really an athlete at all. Sometimes when I teach I'm afraid people will realize I don't really know what I'm doing. Every single time I start working out, I'm afraid I won't be able to finish it.  And I'm afraid that once this Ironman is over, I'll go right back to being lazy and fat.

It's this doubt that I HATE! I hate it, and yet I haven't been able to get rid of it. The thing is, I should be proud of myself for the things I've accomplished, but my brain always says: You can't really do that. You just got lucky. Other people are so much better than you. You can't really run a marathon. You can't really finish this workout. You should just quit now. You will NEVER be an Ironman.

AHHHHH! It makes me crazy! You know what, though? Every single time I start a workout, I want to quit. But I don't. I make myself finish it. My brain says: Just don't do the last 15 minutes. Just do most of the miles, but not the last one or two. Just forget the warm up or cool down of a swim. Just walk for a little bit.  You know what I tell my brain? NO! NO! NO! I WILL finish this workout. I will do all the miles. I will bike the full 4 hours. I will do the warm up and cool down. I will run the full 10 miles. I WILL FINISH!

I'm always afraid at the beginning of a workout that I won't be able to finish. But I am always able to finish. So why am I still afraid? Why do I have to have that persistent doubt in myself?  Last Thursday I had to do a 2:15 bike ride followed by an 8 mile run. The second I sat down on the bike I thought something was wrong with the seat. It felt like CEMENT! My butt hurt and I hadn't even begun! I literally got up to look at it to see if something had happened to the seat. Nope. Same seat. I set the level for 14, set the program to hills, and off I went. I watched about 50 people come and go while I continued to sit there biking my heart out. When I finished, I wanted nothing more than to just go home and go to bed. I didn't. I started the run. I wanted to quit and go home. I almost did. Instead I ramped up the speed and made myself go faster. Pretty soon I had finished 30 minutes and more than 3 miles, and I felt great!  By my last 1.5 miles I was pretty exhausted. So I ramped up the speed again because I just wanted to be finished! I finished in 1:12. So I spent more than 3.5 hours at the gym...watched LOTS of people come and go. It was almost 11 pm. But I finished. TAKE THAT BRAIN!

I haven't been able to get a 100% training week yet. I keep trying, but it hasn't happened yet. But, I have ALWAYS given 100% in my training, and I have completed every workout I've set out to do. I'm at the gym or running/biking anywhere from 1 to 4 hours almost everyday. And yet...I'm still afraid. Is it enough? Will I be ready? Should I quit now because I just can't seem to get faster on the blasted hills?

I have improved my running time a lot. I used to run 10.30 - 11 minute miles. I'm down to 8 - 9 minute miles (with hills). My bike has definitely improved, but nowhere near where I need it to be. I have to try and get 1 - 2 miles per hour faster so that I won't have to be on the bike more than 7.5 hours.  My swim is the only place I feel great. I have that in the bag! I swam 4000 m in 1:08, and that would be perfect for my Ironman. But the rest? I'm scared. I'm really really scared.

So this doubt that lives in my brain? I'm ready to be done with it! It sucks! I will keep pushing myself. I will keep trying. And I'm hoping that eventually I will believe I am capable of what others are believing in me. I believe in everyone else...why can't I believe in myself? Because doubt is the DEVIL within! :(


LanaBanana said...

Seriously, I get SO bored on the treadmill or bike at about 45 minutes. How are you keeping yourself sane at the gym on the stationary bike and treadmill?? Do you watch 2 movies while you're there?? :) An iPad would be great for that, huh?

I wonder if there are people that don't have those thoughts. Every time I start any workout I fight all those same thoughts. I wonder if it ever goes away. If it does, I haven't gotten there yet.

And no, you won't be lazy and fat! You may not work out 4 hours a day, but you can take a little time off and then find a new thing to train for--even if it's something relatively small, just to keep pushing yourself. :) You're an inspiration. And don't worry, because I totally haven't figured out yet that you're not an athlete or a teacher or an ironman. :) Because you are!!

Allyson & Jere said...

You are amazing! The limits to which you are pushing your body are insane, and you just keep accomplishing it. And you may be full of those doubts, but your inner strength is clearly stronger, as hyou continue to BEAT THEM DOWN! I'm proud of you.

Dana said...

Remember just two short years ago when you couldn't even make it around the block one time?!? Possibly the "doubt" can just be labeled as the "opposition in all things" and it is causing you to really push and ACCOMPLISH greatness in your life. If you never doubted, maybe you'd get lazy and stop trying??
And really, the only person in the world you must stack up to is YOU and holy're doing it and then some.
It is interesting how we see others and our brain creates an impression of their reality. We are certain we know what their life must "feel" like. Problem is, we can never really know (or feel) their reality. No one really understands what working full time, raising 3 children, being a wife, homemaker, church leader, sister, friend, etc feels like to you. They have their own "skewed" impression of what your reality is. But I'm certain that it is inspiring and pushing them to be better too.
You're amazing for many reasons. But maybe the biggest is your incredible ability to keep going....endure....and put one foot in front of the other--in a positive direction. Pretty sure that is what this whole entire life is about. Really.
I love you. And you certainly inspire me--for whatever that is worth. :-)

jpnairn said...

You rock, Jenny!
You've got lots of good encouraging comments here already, so I'll try to say something different.
We've all heard the old saying that courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to face your fear and not back down.
You've got the courage to work through your fears.
And fear is not a bad thing. Fear is part of discretion and wisdom.
You mentioned fear for your children. That fear helps you to keep them safe. You face the fear and let them go out and play, but you will always be cautious, and that's good.
Your fears protect you in the same way.
Yes, we fight our fears. We face our doubts. They are part of the challenge.
We don't want those fears to go away. They are part of us, an essential part of our characters.
You rock, Jenny, fears and all.

DianD said...

Guess you'll just have to keep telling your brain who is boss! You are a teacher, does, athlete, FINISHER, wife, mother, church leader, believer, sister, daughter, and friend to so many! I know that what we "say to ourselves" our brain WILL SEE THAT WE DO!!! It is the truth! So, just keep saying all that you want too be/do and your brain will see that it does it! and BELIEVE! You'll do it! One day at a time, One step at a time, one peddle at a time... Iron Man will happen and you'll finish. You may or may not choose to do another "iron man", but you'll always choose to be active and racing and FINISHING, which is the most important things of all.... And just look at all the people you've inspired along the way...Troy, your family, diabetics, your students... and the list goes on! You are one of the champions! Love ya!

Blair said...

"But, I have ALWAYS given 100% in my training, and I have completed every workout I've set out to do." Jenny, how many people in the world do you think can say that? NOT MANY.

I bet this is how you sound in your head, eh?: