Is Self Doubt Self Fullfilling Prophecy?

Birthday bar drama could have been worse.
No holiday would be complete without hot totties, a neighborhood marshmallow roast and bad birthday bar drama. Actually I had never had a hot tottie before, but it was fantastic! And the kids had a blast at our court-wide marshmallow roast with outdoor movie theater and in case you're it was not my birthday, but a night out celebrating my girlfriend's birthday led to *surprise* drama and my cell phone's unfortunate fate of being left in a cab in downtown Sacramento. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate drama? And girls who get sloppy drunk? And the cabbie permit office? 

Even with this event-filled holiday break, I've managed to get in some workovers. In fact, yesterday I was able to squeeze in a mid-day workover and barefoot run to the gym. Woohoo! Its been nice to shirk a few chores during the holiday break, but its been hard to find time to get in a ride/run with the kids home.

Oh well.

So due to some unfortunate events I lost my phone on the Friday night prior to Christmas. I ended up in the cabbie permit office last Tuesday trying to find some sort of general "lost and found" where my phone may have miraculously turned up. But there was no lost and found (go figure) and consequently no "finding" happening. The result: a post holiday phone shopping excursion to Best Buy.

Luckily, I was able to pick up a decent Android phone for a killer price that is compatible with my old plan. Yay! Adding all my contacts back in has been a bitch, though. I'm having to reluctantly dig through old emails and facebook conversations to retrieve all my old contacts.

In doing so, I came across a few conversations that were really interesting to read again. I think I wasted more time reading old stuff than gathering data that I'd lost. One of the conversations I came across was a particularly interesting email Seth had sent me back in February or March of 2011. I'm not even sure where the original post was from, but he included a quote from powerlifter Matt Kroczaleski. Apparently, Seth felt that this was just as applicable to me and the injuries that have pretty much defined me as a runner.
"We all face adversity at one time or another, and for some it will come more often and be more difficult than for others.

It may present itself as injuries, professional or family commitments, opposition from someone in our lives, or even our own self doubt and weakness. Regardless of the form it takes, you must be able to overcome adversity and do so in convincing fashion.

I've witnessed many top powerlifters suffer major injuries that instantly ended their careers – tendons ripped off bones, muscles torn apart, and bones fractured. But for every athlete that's fallen from a particular injury, I know of others with the same injury that have returned to or exceeded their prior form.

It wasn't the severity of the injury that determined if it was career ending, rather it was the inability of the person to cope with it psychologically. For some, major injuries are seen as devastating and career ending. Psychically damaged lifters aren't able to overcome the fear of suffering the same or similar injuries ever again.

Yet others see any injury, no matter how severe, as just a small bump in the road on their way to success. It's this ability to overcome adversity that often separates the great from the good and the very best from the rest of the elite."
 -Matt Kroc
Reading this now, close to a year later, it has really left a mark on me. Something important that I've learned along the way has been how self doubt can slowly, over time, creep in and manifest itself physically. 

For years I've defined myself as a habitually injured runner. I was convinced that certain goals were unattainable for me. I didn't so much give up on running as accept my destiny to only be able to run short two-milers at a snail's pace pain-free. The only times I remember actively "giving up running" was during two pregnancies, but I expected and accepted that running would always be a limited endeavor despite my desire to run further and longer without pain.

Looking back now, I wonder if my thinking was partly perpetuating my injured runner status. I honestly feared running far or long. 

Our psyche is powerful. If we can't cope, have fear, or self-doubt it can seriously effect the way we perform. I believe this whole-heartedly.

That being said, I don't believe all my messed up body issues were completely manifested by my limited thinking but I do believe the self doubt I harbored kept me from finding ways to fix them. And when barefoot running reignited a passion reserved only for the "younger me" it cracked the heavy door of doubt just enough to let possibility in. It was a domino effect from there. It changed me.

For worse or for better, I don't know. Running is back to being a living, breathing passion for me once again, much to the annoyance of some family and friends who probably question my sanity. It has simultaneously fueled my creative side, inspired a new form of training, and spilled over into the blogosphere where I'm sure some people thought I was nuts to fly off to New York to run barefoot and hang out with a bunch of people I had never met. 

Yeah. I know people who would say I'm being consumed by these passions. Fuck them. If there's one thing I've learned in my lifetime its that you cannot ignore your fiyah. You cannot suppress your all important mojo. It will reinvent itself in one form or another. It will bubble up to the surface and scream at you to pay attention. You need to give it respect. Its what makes you YOU.

But you need balance. Yeah. I'm working on that.

This is why I wasn't the one discussing balancing life, work, and running recently on Merrell's Womenalism Chat and Happy Hour. I will, however, be discussing my transition from big ol' fat uber motion controls and how running barefoot and minimal has benefited me. That is, if you care. Oh and by the way, the schedule has changed slightly. I was due to have my discussion on Dec 29 at 7pm EST (that's today actually), but my Happy Hour discussion has been rescheduled due to the holidays

I will be hanging out in real time on Merrell's facebook page on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 7pm EST (that's 4pm for us west coasters. Perfect happy hour timing while the drinks are half price!) So if you have any burning questions you want to ask me feel free to ask away. I make no promises but will try to keep things clean and limit my profanity. Ha!

These have been really great discussions with a LOT of public forum participation. Much like a normal happy hour, I've had a hard time keeping up with the conversation with all the chatter. Normally that's the result of being distracted by a side of pulled pork sliders and a couple of "Backporch Lemonades," but in this case its just because the conversations are pretty popular and everybody's posting chit chat all at once. I hit the refresh button on my browser and I've missed about six different posts.

Nonetheless, these virtual happy hours are a lot of fun so I hope you guys get to join in at some point. Kate Kift is up next on January 5th from 1-2pm EST. Girl knows how to get her happy on when it comes to happy hour! 

Maybe we'll get to chat. ;-)
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  1. I had forgotten about that quote, I'm glad you mentioned here. Perfect timing with the recovery from my back surgery

  2. I felt the same way for a long time --- until I started my strength training/PT.. Once I did that, I realized how strong I could become as a runner. Thanks for a great post! (I look forward to picking your brain about barefoot running).

  3. Self doubt is something I could write volumes about. I have plenty of first hand experience with that. I wish there was a switch to turn it off.
    This was a very good quote.

  4. Awesome post! I think I'm one of those people who refuses to accept that an injury will stop me from running. Years ago when I kept getting stress fractures, I stopped running every day and switched to triathlon (which I now LOVE)! When I needed knee surgery a few years ago & was told not to run ever again, I ignored doctors, read about barefoot running and am in my 3rd season of barefoot/minimalist running. Last year I completed a 3 hour trail run & this year am training for my first half-ironman race. I have balance in my life & I have a passion for staying active. I'm 47 (soon to be 48) with grey hair. I need to lose 20 lbs. I also snowboard and my goal is to learn the half-pipe by the time I'm 50. I'm getting close to it & took on my first half-pipes last year! Cheers to all who stay active and passionate.

  5. Speaking in general terms. A important thing to remember is to look at your weakness in the face. Just like we all do with our strengths. I find the masses look to put great effort into hiding weakness. If we have the power to face weakness, and overcome it. If it does not kill us it will only make us stronger. We tend to avoid uncomfortable feelings, and doing this does not help us grow on our interior self.

    If we struggle with a fitness ritual, a personal relationship, a co-worker, etc. Just get back to the basics to rebuild your foundation. Lessons in the gym, Buddha, what weakness is saying to us, etc. Can all be applied to the everyday wonderful life.

    Lastly watch the children. Watch the children. As they remind the adults life is short, and us adults need to play regularly as well.

    So just embrace the new year, and get at it !

    Play hard, rest hard, eat well......

  6. Hey! Thanks for the feedback guys! And Janice! All I can say is WOW! I'm not far behind you and you totally inspire me! I haven't taken up snowboarding, but I love to ski and have been for years... another passion.

  7. Wow that was amazing! I can relate to every word you wrote!!! My injuries left me with much mental struggle because running is such a part of me and those who don't run couldn't understand. In the end all my war stories have made me so much stronger.

  8. Great post Zap and timely from my perspective as I'm still getting over the tendon injury. At the time it seems like I feel I'll never run properly again but I am sure in 6 months it will be in the past and I'll be back enjoying the feet touching the road. You have to rid your mind of the defeatist thoughts, I believe they can affect your physiology. Lets see if I feel up to the 16km Australia Day run on the 26th.

  9. I like that quote.
    You are what you think for sure. I am a believer now after the year I've had.


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