You Can’t PR Every Day

“If you had a friend that spoke to you in the same way you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?”

For as long as I can remember, my answer to that question has been about 4.2 seconds. I am vicious towards myself, and I always have been. I never realized how truly self-destructive I am until this summer. In order to make my life a *little* easier and more enjoyable next semester, I am taking Calc II over the summer. I am also working a lot so that I won’t have to worry about a job and my grades while I’m at school. One of my big goals for the summer is to drop my mile time by about 1.5 minutes. Individually, all of these things are very doable and not super stressful and can actually be somewhat enjoyable (I mean except for Calc because it’s going to suck no matter what). In fact, most people are able to do all of these things at the same time with grace and ease.

Not me. I look at my progress in class and I see, “well you should’ve pulled some all-nighters and spent every waking minute doing math problems so you could get better scores,” when in reality I always go into tests feeling like I understand the topic and did everything to the best of my abilities. The same goes with running- I have been unable to run for about 2 and a half months because of an injury to my IT band. Here’s a picture of it because it’s actually kinda cool if you’re into sciencey things:

Iliotibial band friction syndrome

So yeah this lovely muscle has kinda ruined any plans I had for staying in shape the past couple months. Luckily, I’ve been able to start running again very recently. That alone is kinda a big deal, but after every run I end up disappointed in myself because I’m not running under an 8 minute mile and sometimes I have to walk due to my IT band hurting or simply because I’m out of shape and that makes me feel like a failure. It’s actually disgusting when I look at how I talk to myself; I should be proud of myself for getting through 5ish miles after not running for so long and being up late at a wedding the night before and trying to break in new shoes and only having a couple Shot Bloks for breakfast, but I’m not. Like I said, I’ve always been this way- I used to cry when I got a 2 instead of a 3 in elementary school.

I’m trying to change this. If freshman year swim team taught me anything, it’s that you can’t PR every day. I’m realizing that’s exactly what I’ve been expecting of myself.

It’s difficult to break a habit that has been who-knows-how-many years in the making, but it’s slowly getting better. It was during one of my many “I’m still up at midnight trying to get homework done and I have physical therapy early in the morning and I don’t understand what’s going on in math and I suck at life” breakdowns that I realized I can’t keep doing this to myself. Whenever I start to become overwhelmed or disappointed/upset with myself, I try to look at the situation like my parents or a good friend would. They would never just focus on what didn’t go exactly according to plan; they would remind me of the circumstances that may have influenced my test score or running time or whatever and be encouraging. They would remind me that I’m doing the best that I can, and that’s all I can really ask of myself. 

Although I still have to work really hard at it, simply telling myself that I’m doing the best that I can has caused me to be much more at peace with myself than I would have ever thought possible (especially during this summer). Turns out that in order to PR, you have to go through a lot of days when it feels like nothing is changing, and that’s okay

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