An alternate title for this post could be “…and other ways to lie to yourself.”
Lying to yourself can be a very powerful thing.
I remember a sports psychologist telling me when I was 17 that our minds (or, rather active imaginations) make up a lot of stories that we end up telling ourself. As it was pertaining to tennis, “my opponent is mean – I don’t like her” or “I’m terrible, I can’t do anything right!” when I was losing. The more you repeat these things to yourself – true or false – the more they become true because your have now made them your truth, your belief, made it into a real story that you believe (even if no one else does).
I’ve always remembered this and kept it in my back pocket when I realize my mind is working against itself.
[See Exhibit A – mental breakdown over laparoscopy every single day — “I’ll NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THIS! THEY’RE GOING TO REMEDIATE ME IN THIS RESIDENCY! LIFE IS OVER! I SHOULD GET A JOB A STARBUCKS OR FOLDING JEANS AT THE GAP!]
Anyways, training for the NYC Half marathon started off with a bang – 10 miles on New Year’s Day!
And, then, winter happened (and continues to do so, it seems).
It was cold. There was snow. Lots of it. And there were indoor activities, too – like SoulCycle, Barry’s, and Pilates.
Each time I chose something other than running, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into it. I always had some intention of doing a long run. But, it just never happened. Two spin classes in a row is like a long run, right? I told myself that and I believed it.
The week of the NYC Half Marathon I did realize that I had put myself in a tad hole having not run more than 6 miles since 1/1/15.
And, this is where lying to yourself comes in handy. I really like to think of it as spinning the truth, enhancing the positives, but it’s probably a bit more delusional than anything.
Despite not running so much, I told myself I was still in pretty good shape. I [quite literally] run around all day as part of my work description and do exercise 5-6 days a week on top of that. I do a lot of “doubles” on my days off — spin + pilates, double spin, run + pilates, run + spin — so I knew my body could take the amount of time it takes to run a half marathon. The only question would be whether my legs could hold up to that pounding.
And, this is where I came up with this ridiculous idea that I had “the X factor.”
The “X factor” is as follows: working 24 hours straight on a busy labor floor as the lone resident.
If I could do that, 2 hours or so of running was nothing.
I convinced myself that I was this warrior, hardened by the rigors of residency, with the endurance of an….energizer bunny? Someone on steroids? I’m tired and running out of good metaphors.
Somehow (likely a little bit of luck) things worked out and I finished! In 1:50 and change and I couldn’t be happier.
The take home point of all of this can be summed up by one of my favorite quotes of all time:
“The mind is the athlete; the body is simply the means it uses to run faster or longer, jump higher, shoot straighter, kick better, swim harder, hit further, or box better. Hoppie’s dictum to me, ‘First with the head and then with the heart,”‘ was more than simply mixing brains with guts. It meant thinking well beyond the powers of normal concentration and then daring your courage to follow your thoughts.” – Bryce Courtenay, “The Power of One”
Now, if I could just translate this mental toughness into residency and operating we’d be golden (reference back to above daily breakdown over laparoscopy).
In the mean time, there’s ice cream.
Until next time….
PS – Special shout out to JMK for running with me!