Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Free Socks and Be Kind to Yourself

Quick! It’s working! Go to www.powersox.com/coolmax and get your *free* pair of running socks (while supplies last – there are only 30,000 pairs available. One per address - so Ken had one sent to our house and I had one sent to my parents’ house. Bucking the system. My dad better not try them on. He’s got a nasty foot fungus. Yes, dad I’m talking to you).

Today I’m headed to the track for some intervals. Starting up those Yassos again. 1 mile warm up, 5 x 800 @3:30 with 400 rest intervals, 1 mile cool down. In the coming weeks I’ll work up to 10 x 800. Egads!

I’m not going to lie. Last week was a challenge for me. I expected to lose several days due to the gum surgery. In total, I didn't run for four days, which felt like an eternity. What I didn’t expect was to have residual pain and fatigue almost a a week later. I demand a lot from my body. Not just to stick with me for 16 weeks as I train for a marathon or to carry me successfully through 26.2 miles of a race, but to not get sick, to feel energetic, to remain uninjured, and to not bother me with aches and pains. Basically,  I’m asking for it not to complain or to let me down. An impossibility, I know.

In fact, I should know better. I’ve had my share of health issues. While I had two healthy pregnancies, I also had two miscarriages between those pregnancies. I had a near diagnosis of cervical cancer, but with a cone biopsy (LEEP) my doc was able to fortunately eliminate the bad cells after I gave birth to Emma. I had Toxic Shock Syndrome – that rare and dreaded tampon causing illness. I’ve struggled with G.I. issues for many years but have failed to ever get a valid diagnosis.  

The bottom line is that we’ve all got physical issues to contend with. As we age, these physical ailments might increase. Rather than seeing the body as the enemy that is disappointing us, we should see it as our ally and work to build it up, to nourish it, to care for it.

Many of us runners are overachievers. This trait comes in handy when you want to be ultra productive. It keeps you motivated and on top of your game. The problem with being hard on yourself is that you never cut yourself a break. If you make a mistake at work you beat yourself up. If you miss a long run, it can knock you down mentally.

My 16 miler on Sunday was a challenge and while I like to end my runs on a strong note, I deteriorated pretty badly in the last three miles in this one. Rising temperatures, a strong headwind, throbbing gum pain, stomach cramps and overall fatigue left me feeling weak and wiped out by the end. Discouraging to say the least. Too much too soon maybe.

I don’t know the answer to slaying the perfectionist demons within ourselves, but what keeps surfacing is, “be kind to yourself.” Remember what is right about all that you are doing. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Daily Motivation at Ezinearticles suggests the following ways to be kind to yourself:

  1. Celebrate your accomplishments and any small successes you achieve this week.
  2. Don't overly dwell on your failure moments. We all have them. They make us grow stronger. Learn from them to increase your opportunities for success in the future.
  3. Carve out at least 10-15 minutes each day to spend on yourself--any way you choose. Put it on your calendar to ensure that it gets done.
  4. Make a cup of herbal or green tea and sit quietly thinking about the fun things you would like to do. Put these ideas on paper and take action.
  5. Get plenty of sleep (whatever amount is appropriate for you).  
  6. Laugh a lot--especially if you have a hard time doing so. 
  7. Start writing in a personal journal. Record as many positive thoughts, actions--whatsoever is lovely about you.
  8. Respect yourself. Refuse to berate, put-down or belittle yourself.
  9. Forgive yourself. Accept the fact that you are not perfect. Choose to move forward instead of remaining stuck in the past or replaying a mistake you made over and over again in your mind.

If you’ve got any more that work for you, list them here so others can benefit. And…have a great Monday (and I will too)!


  1. Love the list. Its easy to get bogged down in the bad things..so learning to celebrate the little things and getting past the failures quick!!

  2. I needed to hear this list...thank you!

  3. Love this post.

    Had a complete [running] breakdown yesterday. To say I "need this" would be a HUGE understatement.

    T h a n k y o u !

  4. Nice reminders Beth. Don't forget that these also work on your treatment of your family as well!

  5. Great advice - I think many of us need a reminder sometimes.

    I hope you're feeling better.

  6. excellent reminders. i hate how someone else has to tell me to do this to myself ;)

    good luck with the yassos!

  7. Thanks for posting this! This is something that ive been working on!

  8. great reminders as always!
    i've been doing 800s. i'm up to 7 now. i love em and hate em at the same time. good luck to you!

  9. I will give others as much wiggle room as they need, but I rarely cut myself any slack like you mentioned. I guess it wouldn't have it any other way though. I like working hard and achieving results that others find difficult.

    Great post.

  10. Great list! I especially needed that sleep reminder. At 9am, I'm already looking at my to-do list for the day and planning for a late night ahead!

  11. Hitting the nail on the head here! I love the advice not to take yourself so seriously...so true (unless you're Denna Kastor, of course). And the bottom line is that marathon training is a long journey; missing a few days of it here or there will not harm us in the long run. Yes, believing it is easier said than done, but true.

  12. Thanks for the sock info, just got mine! YAY! I'm really good at being hard on myself. I seem to be an all or none person and if I mess up all is lost and if I am doing great I can do anything. I need more consistency than anything. Good post.

  13. Thanks for the sock offer - I did the same with my hubbs and sent his to my parents! LOL!

    Nice job on finishing the run - I swear those are the ones that make us stronger.

    And I couldn't agree more with your list. You can't take yourself too seriously, especially with your running. It's not like many of us will ever be elites. And I try to remind myself what I am doing is important to me - not anyone else really. It's not like I'm curing cancer!

    Have a great week!

  14. Oh boy...needed this today. THANK YOU!!!

  15. Hope you're feeling better, Bethie! A BIG hug to you!! Oh, and I think alcohol helps, too :).

  16. Nice reminders. Thanks!
    I had the LEEP, too. Yuck, but worth it.

  17. All great suggestions. I'm struggling with the sleep one, but have finally faced the fact that I don't get enough, and I'm asking too much of my body without proper rest. Apparently getting my ass to bed is a full-on 12-step program.

  18. Great advice and reminders. Hope you are back to 100% soon!!

  19. Is the air quality from the fire not killing you?


  20. Numbers 1 & 6 are my go-to's for keeping a good attitude about everything - but that entire list should be absorbed and celebrated. Running definitely does more for me in terms of appreciating the demands that my body often meets, even when I don't do everything on my part to help it succeed! The bad days humble us, and bring us back to reality that not Every run is Perfect - but every run will teach you something.

    Hope the 800s went well! Are you aiming for a 3:30-40 marathon?? :)

  21. Awesome list! I like them all!

    ANd thanks for the socks link!

  22. Great list!
    I am an advocate of listening to your body. Heck you just had surgery - give yourself a break. You are strong enough to rest for a few days. The last thing you want to do is to get sick and come down with hoof and mouth . . . or something weird that might be caused by running / sweating / breathig hard / through surgically modified gums . . . OK that isn't probably going to happen . . . but you never know. ;-)

  23. Thanks for sharing that list!

    Also, I was trying to figure out how to get my free pair of socks after seeing the ad in Runner's World. Thanks for sharing the link.

  24. Wowza, we're 1 for 2 on babies vs miscarraiges. I can't imagine having that many issues. Kuddos to you for your up beat attitude.

    Now, that we've got the "good" comment out of the way....

    I'd like to think that I am kind to myself 2-3 times a day. more if I am traveling and there is PPV on the hotel TV. They don't even show the movie names on the bill!

  25. You rule, Beth. THANK YOU! And I hope you feel better soon :)

  26. thanks for this entry. it rocked. thanks also for sharing personal 'stuff' makes us all feel a bit more normal.

  27. 10. Remember hookers are people too!

  28. Hahahah, to the Jamoosh comment above. That helped me to complete #6 on the list.

    This was a great post with some great reminders. Why are runners such perfectionists? Hmm...

  29. Hi, I just stumbled onto your blog, thanks to the mention you got from Dean Karnazes. There's a lot of great reading on here!

    I had undiagnosed GI issues for 21 years...you might look into Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. You might be able to find some relief :)