Sunday, March 13, 2011

on confidence

Ah, Spring break has at long last arrived. I will need all of it to catch up on grading, admin, and more, but frankly it's wonderful to have the breathing space, and it's also wonderful to spend time with my lovely boy. But this past week has been a real test, with many moments of self-doubt.

Am I putting too much time into training... Are we making big mistakes with Raf's sleep... Could I be more assertive at work... Will I ever be decent runner... Is Raf's language development really lagging... Should I buy a new bike when we're planning on moving... How many stupid, stupid things did I say to our real estate agent, builder, students, Rich, Raf, friends, comments on DM and FB... and thus the list goes on.

One thing I just have to be mindful of - across the mothering, academic, sporting terrain - is that my state of mind constantly works to undo me. It's not as if I am a particularly negative person. I am happy, I believe my future will be happy, I am generally not too cynical (politics are the exception!), I hold others in positive regard (you know, within reason!) but my thoughts about myself can spiral downward so very quickly.

I feel most confident as a mama. I've surprised myself with the patience I've discovered, especially as this is not a trait I'm necessarily known for. Raf still nurses a trillion times a day (10-15 times.. and that's actually no exaggeration), he is up a lot in the night, he likes to be cuddled and held and he is super attached. We practice very gentle parenting so we work hard to avoid situations where Raf might be vulnerable to tantrums, and we're attentive as we could possibly be.

Today, though, was a lesson in how my mind has the capacity to undermine my precarious sporting-confidence. We all set off for a long run. 12 miles on the schedule... I've been working really hard this past two weeks, especially with swimming, and yesterday, following a 2.5 hour spin and a quick 2 miles off the bike, my legs were very tired. This morning I wasn't feeling the running love, but off we went.

About .25 miles in I knew it would be hard, and no doubt I made it much, much harder by dwelling on that fact. It didn't help that I was pushing Raf every half mile. It was brutal. We stopped for water, for gu, for any reason, actually, just so we could stop, moan, and carry on... At some point my asthma kicked in and I got really cross. I was pushing Raf, which made it worse, Rich and I were squabbling - stupid, silly stuff - and then I suddenly stopped - got really cross, rowed with Rich a bit more (how embarrassing!) burst into tears and ran off with Raf for half a mile. So many negative thoughts about stopping, about not being able to continue.. so many undermining thoughts.

This was mentally and emotionally such a truly difficult run. I reminded myself that a run like this will serve me well in my half ironman, but, gah, I wish I wasn;t my own worst enemy. When I read my DM friends' updates and blogs I'm always slightly in awe of the self-confidence I glean from their posts. I don't know if it's sometimes a cultural difference - with most of my DM buddies being from the US - but I'm always struck by it, and then imagine myself writing some of the same words, and it feels so foreign. Yet I bet it serves people well!

But, on a positive note, I have had another good week of training with 2 longish swims, 3 runs, and 3 rides. I skipped out on a row and another swim because of time, but it was confidence-boosting to at least be (mostly) on track.


  1. what does DM mean?

    I think that's a really challenging situation, sweetie. I get frustrated like that on runs or hard workouts too, and if I had my husband with me, and if I had my child with me, if I have my unruly dog with me...!

    You have been under so much stress.

    You know, you recently said you can tell Raf is going through something, some 20 month thing. And I read something so helpful to me...it was something like "if you feel like you are losing it then they are probably going through something."

    But they said it better :)

    love you

  2. hey my friend.

    DM is daily mile. It's an online training social network site. There are some super lovely people who I've met there.

    God, this is a douche of a day. I have been up all night and now I'm trying to grade. You're absolutely right, too. Raf had a really awful fever last night - and still today, as it happens. Poor little guy.