Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mind Games

“Her head has always messed with her. For as long as she can recall, it’s thrown hammers at her feet. Some runners have trick knees or fragile hamstrings. She has an undermining psych. When she toes the line in a 10-k, the runners around her wonder if she’ll set an American record. Inside her head though, she’s wondering if she can finish without walking.”

This is a little snidbit of an article  I just finished reading in Runner’s World magazine called Mind Games. It is an article about Kara Goucher an elite runner who is extremely talented, but still struggles with confidence. It captures her journey of training her mind to quell negative thoughts, battle doubts, setbacks, and mental demons that sabotage her big races. I found myself easily relating to this article not just in running, but in my everyday life.

I soaked up every word of the 10 page article, and a quote from Goucher sounded all too familiar. “I have a lot of negative chatter in my head, if I don’t rein it in, my mind will tend to obsess about what everyone else is doing in the race around me.”

These words could of come out of my very own lips. I have unlimited amounts of negative chatter in my head, but I have yet to figure out how to rein it in. Wherever I go I can’t help but compare myself to others. When I am in my English class, I instantly wonder if I should even be there. What if my writing is incredibly elementary and the people around me are on the verge of  being published writers. When I am in my cooking class, I find myself doubting everything I do even though I cook everyday, and seem to have more knowledge than most in the class. ( at least at vegetarian cooking ) <---now I am feeling self conscious that this line sounds too cocky. When I am in my group exercise class hiding, I know that I actually do know what I am doing, I just seem to forget that in front of large groups of people, and think about how much better everyone else did. While I am shadowing the trainers at Guiding Fitness I know exactly what to do, I just doubt myself so much I lack the confidence to do it and find myself standing there like an idiot.

 Standing There Like an Idiot. Now I know what to name my first book. ( if I am even capable of writing a book ).

Lately, a lot of my blogs have been about my lack of confidence in life. I think it is mostly because these past three weeks have been pushing me socially more than I have ever been pushed in my life. I am slowly, (very slowly) learning to push myself mentally as hard as I push myself physically. Running is very mentally and physically demanding, it would be great if I could take some of my running mentality and apply it to my everyday life. 

Although I now hate all this unintended “exposure therapy”, and it causes copious amounts of anxiety, exhaustion, and headaches, it  is probably the best thing in the world for me right now. I don’t want to stay in this bubble forever.


  1. Yep, take the challeneg and go for it. You have so much more talent than you give yourself credit for!

  2. Wow, that's amazing. I am so impressed. Even as I have read all of your blogs, and been your sister for years (your whole life), I've never really added up the parallel of how hard you've push yourself physically through the years, whether skating, basketball, soccer, running, whatever. It really is a huge strength that you have, that somehow I always just took for granted. I think you're so good at that because it's something that you can be in control of. No matter how hard you'll try, or try to assume, you'll never know what everyone else is thinking, and you'll never be able to change it even if you did. However, you being you, can change you. You are who you are and that is who you are best at being, and you can do it with such excellence.
    You know that you're good at what you do. I take that back—great at what you do. I think that you pushing yourself in these social situations is a really hard thing, because it's a really great thing. The quickest way to learn something is to throw yourself into it and go for it. You are doing just that in a lot of areas, and now is your chance to show everyone who 'Amber' is. You can do, you know you can do it, now you get to show everyone else. I love that I get to be your brother, and I love that I know some of the behind the scenes of your life/mind. I know everyone else is going to love you the same way I do.
    You're the best/coolest/most-talented sister in the world. Keep at it. I love you