Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Guest Blogger: DeNiece

DeNiece is a great friend and runner.  She's inspiring and encouraging, and confident and competitive...  pretty much, DeNiece is just like a lot of us.  Here she takes on one of those *sticky* topics we all talk about, the dreaded running partner you just can't out run....

One of my running partners claims I am her best friend, although she is NOT mine.  

Even though she is my nemesis, she plays an important part in my life.  Maybe you know someone like her – she is loud, negative and outspoken.   She is the first to tell me that I “can’t” or “won’t” do something.  She crushes my spirit, douses my confidence, destroys my self-esteem.   She is insidious.  She starts out with little comments like “boy its hot today…you don’t like the heat do you?”  Then she becomes a little more pointed, “Whew, it is really hot.  You’re only at two miles – it’s a long way to 10.”  Then, she goes in for the kill, “I don’t think you can do it.  It is really hot.  Aren’t you uncomfortable? You can’t do it”….

And the negative mantra is born….hammered into my brain, pounded in with each painful step I take -“YOU.CAN’T.DO.IT. YOU.CAN’T.DO.IT”….

She picks my weak point – “It’s hot”, “too cold”, “you’re sore, tired or hungover”, “they’re faster than you” and throws it up in my face until I am repeating the negative mantra with her… 


And yet, she has run with me for years.   I found myself listening to her, wondering where she was when she was quiet.  I try to drown her out by chatting with friends or listening to music (she also likes hip hop and rap) but she can be incessant, loud and dominating.

 It is lucky, for me, that I am so likable, charming, personable, and fun… because when the posse runs with me, they run with her.   

Last year, I started marathon training.  It turned out that she was not as fit as I am.  While I love the long, LONG runs, she does not.  She figured out quickly, though, that there were plenty of places she could jump in on the long run.  So while she wouldn’t join us for 20 milers, she’d pop in for 6 or 8 miles to make me miserable. 

As I become fitter and stronger physically, she became weaker.   As I developed more and more friendships with runners, their voices could drown her out.   Those friends were supportive, kicking her to the curb when she tried to run with us.  I toughened up mentally, found ways to shut her up, leave her behind or better yet, avoid running with her.  Her power over me was dissipating…

Last night I woke up and began to think about all my marathon fears:  it’s two half-marathons and that second one is REALLY hard;  my husband is not meeting me at mile 21 so I will have to run the last “half” by myself; can I really meet my goals?; what if I hit a wall?; what if it hurts?  – ALL of these things are about a fear of physical pain and mental anguish.  When I realized this, I tried to tease out which was worse - the physical or mental.   Which would come first…does physical pain lead to the wall or vice versa?  

Then like a flash, I realized this was all her doing – she had snuck into my room and was whispering her bullsh** into my ear.    

So, I broke up with her for good.  

Her power over me and my life is gone.  I am happy, centered, energetic and relaxed.  I have balance between the marathon and my family life, even if it is just for this week and it is GOOD…
…but watch out, fellow runners, she will be out on the prowl and the marathon will have lots of potential clients.  

So be wary of her….or maybe you’ve already met her – her name is Debbie.  Debbie DOWNER…


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