"Comparison is the thief of joy"
We hear this a lot these days - in a world of perfect Instagram pics, and only the highlights posted on Facebook...we KNOW it's not worth it to compare ourselves to others.
What I think is EVEN WORSE - is when I start comparing me to ME.
Since "coming back" to running after having baby #2 I have really struggled, especially mentally. I knew I was being healthy, I was happy being active every day, I was teaching my fitness class, doing yoga and running occasionally. I would have days where I felt like all of these things were great. I felt good about myself. And then I would think back to where I was at that point post-pregnancy with my first baby and all those good feelings would go right down the drain.
"Last time I had lost all of the weight by now"
"When M was this age I was the fastest I had ever been"
"Last time I had already placed in a 10K"
"At this point last time I PR'd a half a marathon"
All of these thoughts would flash through my head as I struggled with my 100lb load in the BOB stroller through our cul-de-sacs in the heat and humidity and I would just feel like crap. Like I wasn't doing enough. Like I should be waking up earlier, like I should be working harder. But then I would go and make myself feel better again by saying things like:
"It's hotter here"
"You have twice the load"
"You don't have help with the kids like you did last time"
"Every post-partum journey is different"
And that would help for a little while until the whole vicious cycle would start again.
I even actually believed myself for a few weeks when I said "I really don't care how much I'm running these days".
I did want to run. I DO want to run. This horrible comparison game was taking away all of the joy I ever found in running.
When I decided to organize a 5K for my Moms in Motion class in April I was really excited to finally have a running goal in sight. I'm always much more motivated when I have a race ahead of me, so this was perfect. Until the comparisons started again.
"H is 8 months old. When M was 8 months old you were running a half marathon"
"You did a 5K 3 months post-partum last time. This shouldn't be that big of a deal"
"You shouldn't have to train for this as hard as you are"
"Can you SERIOUSLY still only run 2 miles?"
Instead of being excited about a really fun event with my friends, I was shaming myself for not being better. It wasn't until a few days before our 5K that I decided my mindset had to change.
I decided to GET EXCITED for the 5K.
I decided to own my own race.
I decided to bring the JOY back to running.
And guess what guys, it worked. The mind is a POWERFUL tool. I showed up to that race and I didn't think about my last race. I thought about the one ahead of me. I smiled with my friends and ran to the best of my ability. We had a blast! And here is the funny thing that happened. Not only did I have the most fun running than I have had in a long time - I was FIRED UP afterwards.
I came home that day with a whole new outlook. I felt strong. I was ready to run longer. I was ready to quit listening to the voices in my head. I actually felt like a runner again. I felt like ME again,
I'm excited to see where the rest of this year takes me. I have a 10K at the end of May and a half marathon in the fall. Who knows if I'll do anything else in between but here's what I do know - I'm not going to let myself tell me that I'm not good enough.
If you can relate to ANY of this, here is my message to you: Don't compare yourself. Not to me, not to your neighbor, not to that girl you follow on Instagram and definitely not to your old self. Be YOU now. And be a really awesome version of her. And...sign up for a race. Even if it's way shorter than you think should should be doing. Just do it. Get yourself in the game again. The endorphins will fly and hopefully a little piece of that JOY you once found in running will return.
It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
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I am not a licensed medical professional. All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program.
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