“Our thoughts become our emotions, our actions and our habits”. Deena Kaster, three-time Olympian.
I love this quote. It underpins the notion of our ability to cultivate a positive mindset. The ability to choose our thoughts and to see adverse events as an opportunity to learn and grow.
The thoughts we choose everyday in our lives can make or break our mental well-being. I like to think of it as a super power within us. We all have it, but we have to harness the benefit by consciously choosing to use positive thoughts.
I like to think i’m using my super power more these days.
Instead of feeling disappointed after a race if I haven’t achieved a certain time, I choose to feel pleased that I completed it and that I can run at all. If i’m injured, rather than viewing it as a set-back, I see it as an opportunity to focus on strength training or other areas of my life.
When I talk to other athletes, I realise how hard we can be on ourselves.
One day, when we can no longer run, or exercise the way we did, we will look back on our performances (even the bad ones) and appreciate what we were able to do (and that it was actually rather good!).
The challenge we face in the moment is our ability to choose our thoughts wisely and recognise what we did achieve and what we can do. In doing this, we acknowledge our limits, celebrate our success, and relish in the opportunity to grow.
For me, the last few months have not been without any setbacks. Since being diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and focusing on healing my gut, I managed to acquire an infection which required antibiotics. Not ideal.
Re-balancing my gut microbiome has been a key part in my recovery. Rather than dwell on this minor set-back, I decided to accept it for what it was and move on. I recovered well and the opportunity to rest proved to have a positive effect when two weeks later I ran a personal best 10km time (post kids) at the Christchurch Marathon event.
Following the 10km event, I made the classic mistake of being slightly too eager to train and didn’t allow myself enough recovery. I was also trying to fit training in around work commitments which included traveling. This led to the development of a minor injury. I was now three weeks out from the Gold Coast Half Marathon so I was going to have to adjust my training plan if I was to be able to line up on race day.
I decided to stop running for three weeks and cross train to let my injury settle down. I used the opportunity to strength train three times a week to maintain and balance my muscles so they would be ready to run on race day, however two days before the race I then caught a head cold from the kids. I seriously considered not racing the Gold Coast half marathon, but the day before the race I felt slightly better so I made the decision to line up on the start.
The race was never going to be a personal best with the events leading into it, however I was determined to give it a go. I finished in 1hr30min09sec and it was tough! A long way off the sub 1hr24mins I was aiming for, but none the less, I had finished. Now it was time for a decent break and time for the body to recover and heal.
Life is life and we will always be faced with challenges. So next time you are faced with a challenge, make a conscious choice to think about the opportunity you may have instead. If we continue to do this every time we face a challenge, I believe we start perpetuating positivity and being ‘positive’ is no longer just a once off isolated feeling anymore. We begin to actively cultivate a positive mindset and that’s where the real opportunities lie……… and when we can truly reap the rewards! Enjoy.