It is so easy to drop back into old habits, in spite of the fact that those old habits are unhealthy and not where my heart is. The other day, I thought that if left to myself with no goals, focus or accountability, I would scarf down fast food from Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell and Arby’s all damn day and weigh 300 pounds. I would sit and watch TV all night, while drinking wine, beer or martinis, and eating buttered popcorn, chips and salsa and dark chocolate until bedtime. Part of me denies this, and says I would feel so crappy that I couldn’t do it. This is the part of my head that I love and that keeps me focused and doing the right thing. But then there is the Bitch. She is the one that tries to get me to swing into Arby’s for a large Roast Beef sandwich with potato cakes, a Dr. Pepper and one of those tasty Cherry Turnovers. I’m familiar with her voice because I have heard it many times over the past few years – specifically when I started running. She is the one that tries to make me quit.
She is pretty sneaky as she tells me I should cut my run short, or that I shouldn’t run today, or that I’m foolish for pursuing this thing called ultra running. She makes me doubt myself and question my abilities. She tells me it’s okay to eat indulgently or drink the rest of the bottle of wine. She’s the one that convinces me that the extra large coffee and the light beers are perfectly acceptable substitutions for water. She even subtly tells me that this running thing is just another phase, another one of those “get-all-fired-up-and-burn-out” interests. She whispers to me that spending all this time running could be harmful to my health, my marriage, my family life and my finances. She even had the nerve to blame the death of my son on my running and healthy living, because if I wasn’t being so selfish with my time and interests, maybe if I had been paying less attention to myself…
Here’s the thing. The bitch is a liar….a really good liar. She is a villain and my enemy, but like most villains, she has weaknesses, a chink in her armor, an Achilles heel. She is most quiet in the middle of the night. She does not like to be told to ‘Shut Up!’ but she will. As a matter of fact, the more I tell her to ‘shut-up’, the less she talks to me. She thrives on comfort and laziness and indulgence. The more I give in to her suggestions, the more often she speaks until she no longer needs to speak at all. She is not concerned with my well being or health or wellness or happiness. She doesn’t like me to have a goal or a training plan. She is all about control and proving that I am weak, unable and unworthy. We all have a Bitch inside of us – maybe you have a name for yours, maybe you haven’t recognized yours yet, but trust me – it’s there.
We all have another voice too – a still small voice, the voice in the back of your head – the one that has your best interests at heart, that wants you to be healthy and happy, the one that dreams big and lives life to the fullest. It’s the voice that gets you to sign up for the race, print out the training schedule, buy fruits and vegetables, walk by the candy dish and get ice water at the restaurant. It’s the voice that gently says, ‘Wake up and go run. You’ll be so glad you did’ or ‘You can make it to the next tree, don’t give up’ and ‘Order the salad with no cheese and dressing on the side’, or simply ‘You can do it’. This voice is clearest in the middle of the night when the Bitch is quiet. She doesn’t impose her will on you – she’s not pushy or negative or demeaning. She talks of training plans and planning for “cool impossible” goals, like running 50 miles or maybe even 100 miles. She talks of being strong and determined.
Thanks for reading.