Comparison: The Joy Thief

Have you ever looked at another person and thought, “Boy, they have it easy.”

Maybe it was one of your single girlfriends whose life seemed like a fabulous parade of dates, shopping, and fun travels. Maybe it was a married mom of two who shed the baby weight immediately upon leaving the hospital, and whose 6 week-old twins sleep through the night. Maybe it was your older sister whose kids are all in high school and is done with the feeding, diapering,and crying stage of child raising.

If you’re like me, it’s the runner moms who can crank out 7 minute “easy” miles  mere weeks after having a baby. While pushing a stroller. Ugh. Not fair.

Comparison is such a deadly trap.

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Because no matter how you look at it, every time you compare yourself to someone else, usually it’s out of insecurity or judgement. Those are not happy places to frequent. So why can’t we stop?

I partially blame social media. (Key word: partially.) When I log on to Facebook or Instagram and I see  everyone’s highlight reel of amazing races, or fantastic running times, I get jealous and frustrated with my own progress. Just scroll through Instagram and see not only the crazy high mileage but also the super quick times of runner moms!

Why is it I can’t just smile give them a mental high-five and keep scrolling?

Because, and this is a hard pill to swallow, the blame lies with me. I let my joy get stolen by the comparison monster.

I can come back from a really great run, have a pretty solid pace, and more importantly, feel good, and those good feelings can quickly dissipate the second I let myself think I have to be running as fast as someone else. That’s nobody’s fault but mine. Competition can be a healthy motivator and fun. We sign up for races for fun, right? There is some value to competition, but the second we see competition as an outlet for making ourselves feel better by “dominating” someone else, we lose.

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Don’t get me wrong, winning feels great! But we can’t base our self worth on whether or not we’re better than someone else. Eventually, someone will come along who is far better than we are, and there goes our joy.

Stop it! Just stop it! (I’m scolding myself.)

No more comparing! Turn off Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or whatever outlet is leading you to feel like you stink. Because the sooner we learn to stop comparing ourselves to others, the happier we will be.

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Go with the Flow

If there’s one thing motherhood’s taught me is that I can control nothing. Absolutely nothing.

As a control freak by nature, this does not sit well with me. Oh, I’ve adapted my actions and reactions to try and embrace the laissez-faire attitude, but it goes against my nature and I have to work at it.

So when something doesn’t go my way, I can get easily frustrated and crabby.

And wouldn’t you know, the two main focuses of this blog – motherhood and running- have both bounced completely outside of my control. This is not an easy pill for me to swallow. I’m sure you can relate. After all, we spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to control our surroundings and life. We spend money to control the texture or color of our hair. We put time and effort into controlling the size of our waistlines. We plan out every activity for our summers or vacations (sometimes overbooking – God-forbid we chill and relax spontaneously.). We like having a sense of control over our lives.

But sometimes we are forced to accept that we cannot control everything, despite our efforts otherwise.

Baby Girl has taught me a harsh lesson.

My body has taught me a harsh lesson.

Baby Girl is 2 months old already. (What?!? When did that happen?) She’s sweet, smiley, active, and full of delightful baby pudge. It’s such a blessing to watch her grow.

But…

The girl will not sleep. I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t this the same woman who was bragging about how well her newborn slept? Sleeping 6 sometimes 8 hours a night? Well. I’ve been humbled. Boy, does she fight sleep. I like to think it’s because she just wants to hang out with me, but she doesn’t seem too happy about it.

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And try as I might, I simply cannot force her to sleep. It’s outside my control. I can try all I want to get this girl on a functioning schedule with designated nap, eat and play times, but it just doesn’t work. Because she won’t sleep. Talk about frustrating. I’ve tried everything I can think of, and short of sleep training (which I don’t do this early) I’ve got nothing. So, I keep having to try and relax and just relinquish control. And pray that she learns to sleep for longer than 20 minutes at a time.

My running, I believe, is directly related to the lack of sleep. In short, it tanked.

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It had been going very well, my paces were great and I was feeling really good. I was thrilled that I seemed to have maintained most of my fitness and was hoping to just pick up where I left off. That was the plan anyway.

But since Baby Girl has started to struggle with sleep, my running has really been affected. I’ve been struggling the past couple weeks just to get those paces back. Even on my easy runs, it’s been difficult.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise really. I haven’t been sleeping therefore my body isn’t responding like I want it too. It really frustrates me, especially as I see many other posting their amazing runs and paces on Instagram. (I’ve got to stop comparing! P.S. you can follow me on Instagram. 😉 I’ve just been feeling down.

The goals that I shared in my last post now need to be re-evaluated, since I will not be able to complete them like I’d want. (insert sad face.)

The half marathon I’d hoped to do in July will be switched to the 5k, and I hope to redirect my training to the sprint triathlon in August. Now, instead of a 10k in September, I’m thinking I’ll look for a half. This will hopefully give me some time to rest and regroup. Of course, base on the recent experience, these plans are subject to change.

As much as I’d like to force myself to run the half, I can’t sacrifice my health or sanity just to please my ego. I want to be able to enjoy my running instead of struggling with it on a daily basis. And sometimes the body needs a step back to be able to achieve that.

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We like to control everything, but sometimes we need to let go and go with the flow. Who knows, something good could come of it; probably something we’d never expect anyway.