I did it!!! I completed my second Wokingham Triathlon Festival at Dinton Pastures. And I wasn't last across the line this year!
So if that is the case, why is this blog called self sabotage?! Because due to many small acts of self sabotage my triathlon took me longer this year than last year.
Oh don't get me wrong - I have many valid reasons for this - the wind on the swim made it much harder, the event was 6 weeks earlier in the year so I'd had less opportunity to swim outside, blah blah blah.
The real reason is self sabotage.
So what is self sabotage?
"Behaviour is said to be self-sabotaging when it creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals."
My long standing goal this year was to do the triathlon faster than last year. I decided when I entered on New Year's Eve that I didn't want to be last, that I wanted to be better than I was last year.
I can see now that I framed that goal all wrong. That goal was about not being good enough last year. I forgot to focus on the monumental achievement that someone who was always in the bottom class for PE, who 'failed' at every sport I tried at school, that person completed a triathlon!!!! Instead I compared myself to the athletic top set people who finished their triathlon faster than I did. Urgh, comparison. The creator of bitterness and vanity according to the Desiderata.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
(Extract from The Desiderata written by Max Ehrmann)
Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you are behind. The race is long and in the end it's only with yourself. My favourite line from Everybody's free (to wear sunscreen). It is so true.
So, my first mistake was not to celebrate my own success at actually completing a triathlon last year. And my second mistake was in framing a goal for myself this year that reminded me of my 'failure' last time. Hardly a motivating, encouraging goal.
And then came the self sabotaging actions.
There are many different ways to create problems for yourself. Some self sabotaging behaviours create huge problems for example alcohol, drugs, self-injury. Thankfully these are not issues I have to deal with.
My self sabotaging behaviours are probably more recognisable -procrastination and comfort eating. The thing that fascinates me about self sabotage is that we choose these behaviours in order to avoid discomfort and yet ultimately they create far more discomfort when we don't live up to being who we want to be. By 'we' I mean 'I'.
So I procrastinated over training. I would plan a run in the morning and then my generous, loving husband would have made us breakfast so I'd eat and promise myself I'd run later. I rarely would.
A lesson I can take from this is that morning training sessions work best for me and I need to verbalise my plans so that they happen with no excuses!!
Whenever I felt frustrated about how I could ever fit 'enough' training into my day I reached for food to stuff down the feelings. It sounds ridiculous to me that I did that now - in hindsight I can see heaps of other options I could have chosen (do an exercise DVD, take the children to the park and run around it, bounce on my trampette, do yoga). Instead I stuffed the feelings down with food that did not nourish my body. In the process of comfort eating I then created extra weight, making the training sessions I did do harder and less enjoyable and therefore less appealing. Gah!!!
Salf sabotage is what we do when we are trying to avoid our negative feelings in that moment. It is an emotional response - my brain says "Hmm... going for a training run is hard, it's uncomfortable, staying home and eating or reading or being with my children is much more within my comfort zone right now. I'll do that instead and put the discomfort off for later." Only not in such obvious words. So I don't notice I'm doing it, until it has happened.
I heard someone say that self sabotage is a form of misguided self love. And I totally relate to that. I can see that when I eat that extra piece of cake or let myself off that training session I am trying to be kind to myself in that moment. But actually there is a reason I have set myself these goals. I want to be the kind of woman who takes part in triathlons. I genuinely enjoy setting myself this challenge. It is the person I know I can be. If I just let myself.
And so guess what? I'm hoping to be at the starting line of a triathlon again one day soon. And I want to arrive there feeling like I have shown up, done my time on the training circuits, ready for triathlon number 3.
And in the mean time I am reframing how I see these last two triathlons - someone has to be at the back of the pack and I did well to get to the starting line let alone the finish. It is a pretty monumental achievement.
And this year you guys have helped me raise over £400 for Sands in Sebastian's name. Thank you so much, you amazing generous people. What an achievement.
Thank you for helping me to be the person I know I can be.