Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Imposter

* Disclaimer: There may be a bit of wallowing and self-despair in this post. Read with caution.

I have previously stated that I am using this blog as a personal journal as I go through my Ironman Journey, so please bare with me as I work some things out today. It was a tough training day, and I am struggling with what I am doing and why I am doing it. I probably just need to go eat dinner and take a nap and wake up and start over but I think there is a lesson in today's training disaster so I am going to take a few minutes and look for it.

I've been working hard since November trying to get into shape, stay focused on The Goal, and plod away at the transformation I was sure was inevitable. I have fought to keep Doubt out of my head, as confidence was one of my weaknesses and positive self-talk and self-assurance are areas that I really want to show improvement in. Up until today I've managed to keep the negative talk at bay. So what happened? I'm not sure. I think it is a combination of a multitude of factors.

Training is getting tough. Long runs, long rides, long swims, early mornings, tough weather conditions, and little free time. That's no surprise, it has been tough all along and I knew the summer would intensify the training. Lately I feel like I've been battling my body - my feet hurt to walk on them, I struggle to breath, and I'm just plain tired. I've been told over and over how I need to just deal with it because race day is gonna be ten times worse than what I feel now. I have no doubt about that...

But today I am questioning why. Why am I really doing this?? I totally feel like a fraud. Like I am trying to be an athlete and play with the Big Kids but really I belong in the kiddie pool ~ but no one has the heart to just tell me that. I am slow and I seem to be getting slower not faster. I feel like I work hard but it's not enough to even reach my goal of finishing. I don't want to work harder. It hurts and I question whether it's worth it. My mind tells me that my body is not made for this, nor is my mind. I'm just an imposter trying to fool others into thinking that I can do this. What if I can't?

Today my Coach asked me if I had doubts. I said no. But the more I think about it I do ~ but I'm afraid to admit it because it makes me look weak and insecure, like I'm not confident, a pussy even. I believe that anyone that does these races never doubts themselves or they wouldn't even attempt it. If I admit that I'm afraid I'm not gonna be able to get my brain to push my body to get through this race then I've just given it permission to fail. So I'm lying to myself on top of everything else. I don't obsess on it, but I do have doubts.

Today's training was a long run, but I've had longer and succeeded. Today I had a goal to achieve in training and I failed miserably. Every step I took forward I watched my goal slide away...and I couldn't get it together to rally back and claim it. I was so very disappointed in myself. "If you can't do it in training, you can't expect to do it in the race." I listen. Too well.

I know there will be bad training days. I'm sure I will bounce back from this one. But today I will admit I have doubts. And fear. And dread. And I wonder what the f--- I was thinking when I signed up for this thing.

Why did I want to do this? To see if I could. I just didn't realize the first obstacle was going to be to survive the training. My focus has always been on the race itself.

I still have four months. Surely it will start to come together for me. I don't give myself credit where I deserve it and I need to build up the good and let the bad wash away. I just rode my first century ride this week and I pushed through some miserable pain at the end. I've had two long weekend runs, and hit 15 miles in one push which has been my longest to date. I rode hard in the hills recently and managed to push through a 7 mile off the bike run even though my brain told me to stop and drink beer. So I know I've got it in there. Now I just need to figure out how to tap into it consistently.

1 comment:

  1. Waney, you ARE an athlete. If you didn't have doubts and fears, this whole thing wouldn't be worth it. Anyone who has ever accomplished anything out of their comfort zone has had doubts and fears.

    (The night before I started my AT thru-hike from Maine to Georgia, I cried for three hours and was shaking so hard from pure fear that I thought I was going to be sick. Talk about feeling like a fraud. And that wasn't the last time during that six-month journey that I had moments like that ...)

    If there are other 40-something non-professional athletes participating in this thing, believe me, you aren't the only one who feels like a fraud! :-)

    Positive talk is important, but I think negative talk is inevitable if you're doing something big. Accept that it's going to happen, and then go get your meal and your nap. :-)

    (Be honest with your coach, too. Even if it means bursting into tears on the spot. Because I'm sure your coach has had to deal with insecure athletes before.)

    Love you!

    P.S. If I were training for an Ironman, my biggest fear would be falling off my bike 'cause I never could quite get that balance thing down, not even when I was a kid ...