What do you tell yourself everyday? What do you obsess over? What are you bad at? What do you need to get better at? What makes you feel inferior?
Life is hard. By itself. As humans we often don’t make it easier for ourselves or each other. Leading up to the summer challenge I was feeling as if I was living in a constant state of fight or flight. Like my body could not settle down. My mind wouldn’t relax. I was exhausted and extremely frustrated. Day in and day out, the cycle looked like a hamster flying uncontrollably on its wheel. I tried to work harder. Dig deeper. Eat less. Run more. My body felt like it could never recover, and my performance continued to drop training session after training session. Even when I thought it was just mind over matter, everything was screaming “I LITERALLY CAN’T EVEN.” This is where any reasonable person would and did suggest, multiple times I will admit, that I needed to dial back, take a few days off, rest.
Naturally, I did the total opposite…. I started adding two a days, cut a lot of my favorite foods - peanut butter - I mean really! I tried to time my meals and would write down what I could eat and when, every single day. I looked forward to the summer challenge where I could be strict, rigid and have no excuse to fall off, because everyone was doing it. People noticed, they tried to reason with me, I pushed back and instead of listening to those in my life that truly cared about my well-being, I continued to obsess over strangers on social media constantly striving for some type of perfect image I had created in my head. Movement, fitness and food were no longer filling me up, but leaving me injured and broken down.
The negative self talk was consuming all of my thoughts to the point where I wasn’t even focusing on relationships or my daily interactions. Instead it was what I ate for breakfast. When I was going to get to workout to burn it off. What time I could eat again. If I could fit another run in after work. I was not practicing what I was preaching day in and day out. I didn’t live by the words that were coming out of my mouth. I empowered you. I told you daily that it’s ok to fail. I encouraged you to be vulnerable. All the while, I was ridiculing myself for doing the same.
Enter in Amy’s personal intervention. I was folding clothes and pulled out a Lululemon tank from an event we did this winter. Across the back of the shirt in big, black, bold letters it says “Dude Breathe.” I wear it at least once a week, with the purpose that one person sees it, and takes a second to breathe. For the first time it made me really stop and think “what’s going on, Amy?” Fitness and wellness were what made me tick. It was what was getting me out of bed every single day. Literally, in the 4’s. And if you’re a 5:30am regular you know I wouldn’t do this for just anyone. But I was in a place that every workout left me frustrated and sad, feeling like nothing was good enough. It was a chore that I dreaded. Everyone around me was getting faster, lifting heavier, eating better, sleeping more and I was trying to keep my head above water. Something had to give. A pattern had to change.
Now, I’m not saying this is a hall pass to not care. To settle for mediocrity. To not strive for greatness or growth. This is coach Amy, baring all, telling you and MYSELF it’s ok to just BREATHE. To BE. And that sometimes a #changeyourpattern or challenge isn’t always something more or even something less. For me, I needed something different. I needed to shift my focus and in order to do that I needed to ask for help. Much easier said than done, for many of us, I assume. To me, asking for help makes me feel and appear weak or incapable. I live to help others. I want to be able to tackle adversity and strife on my own. However, I knew that if I truly wanted to get to a better place I had to let people in. I had to lean on those that want and try to do the same for me... which I have found…
...is YOU! It’s the Shanes that created this space for me to struggle, to grow, to fail and to succeed. It’s every single person that makes up the Fly Feet Running dream team, that over the last 8 months have become my friends and family. Finally, it is the members and athletes that walk into our doors every day that give me goosebumps when they crush goals and make my eyes fill during post workout downloads. I started talking to these people. I started sharing my struggles. I recognized them. I truly felt them and sat with them everyday. I did what I ask and expect from all of you, I made myself vulnerable and started to formulate actionable steps to not only feel better both emotionally and physically over the next two weeks, but also to get back to a place where I was appreciating and recognizing all the things I was doing well.
How often do you ask yourself or tell yourself what you love about who you are or what you do? What your strengths are? How you are crushing your everyday life the best you can? It is easy to think about the things we maybe aren’t so good at or need to improve on. But for all the things we are focusing on getting better, I think it is equally as important to acknowledge the things we are crushing. Everyday.
I knew the change wouldn’t magically happen in two weeks. I had to be willing to put in the work and understand that some days would be easier than others but by continuing to lean in and check in, I could get to a healthy, sustainable place.
A few things I focused on over the course of the two weeks:
- Writing - How I was feeling, what my insecurities were, what made me feel good, what made me feel not so good.
Eliminating time on social media - I worked to refrain from the random, daily scrolls through Instagram. The more time I spent getting sucked down the rabbit hole of people’s profiles I didn’t even know, the more I found myself comparing and criticizing my life to others.
Prepping food - Having meals ready allowed me to be able to focus on eating and actually enjoying the food that was nourishing my body to do the things I loved.
Listening to my body - Like truly recognizing when I needed a day off. Focusing less on speed, distance and weight and more on movement and the way things felt.
The last two weeks have most definitely been a journey, some days easier than others. I didn’t go into the challenge with the expectation to have everything figured out by day 14. I have come to realize this struggle will always be a part of my life in some capacity. However, what I am coming away with is a huge support system, filled with people that at one point in time have had similar feelings and struggles. That it is ok to ask for help, and if I continue to try do things all on my own I will never eat crunchy peanut butter again - which should only be the case if you have a severe nut allergy. That some days 6 mph feels like a 10 which is most likely suggesting I should maybe stick to the 6. And that I have never believed in or been a part of such a special community before joining the FFR family. This place and these people are why and who I am. I will still work on mobility and getting eight plus hours of sleep at night, but I am also going to make a point everyday to take note of the things that I AM doing and CAN DO really well.
Stay rad guys! Keep crushing your goals. Keep striving to be better. But don’t forget to recognize how truly awesome you are. How just by choosing to show up, you are investing in your one and only precious life. Unicorn glitter and rainbow hearts for all!
All Hail the TreadMighty,