Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Inferiority Complex

Don't worry, soon I'll be back on a training plan and will be able to actually post about the things I really like to talk about. Well, at least the things I think I'm good at talking about.

Training and racing is what makes me human. It's the one thing I feel that I have total control of (even though occasional injuries like to make me think otherwise) and it's my happy place. My pain cave is dark but there's great music in there.


Anyway, the point of today's blog is to talk about how to handle that pesky inferiority complex. I don't know if any of you are like me but I have a hard time recognizing my own accomplishments. I had this discussion with Miss Jessica the other day:

Me:  She makes me sad that she's so hard on herself
Jess:  I'm pretty sure you're that hard on yourself in some ways, so there's something to think about
Me:  I'm not THAT hard on myself
Jess:  Maybe not hard, but I feel like you get disappointed a lot when you should be very proud!

Our conversation continued on about trail running and avocados and other bloggers, you know, the usual. But I couldn't shake what she had said. The person in question who was the original too hard on herself woman is one of our favorite bloggers who is absolutely amazing and reminds me everyday how lazy I am since I don't have kids and don't have to sleep for only 2 hours a night. Somehow I still feel like I'm tired and stressed and overworked. Since I couldn't shake it and she's basically my life coach, I reignited the discussion:

Me: Do you really think I'm that hard on myself?
Jess:  I don't know if it is so much hard on yourself directly, but it's like whatever you can do must not be hard or that big of a deal. If you can do it, it's totally achievable and you aren't that proud of, "Yeah, I did a marathon. But it wasn't that fast and I didn't do 114 miles of other stuff first." where with anyone else, after taking several years off of running and then doing a marathon, you'd [be] like like, AWESOME! Great work!

Hmm...valid point. I went on for a little while in an attempt to explain myself but I still haven't quite been able to put my finger on what it is. This morning I likened it to an inferiority complex. I think we all have this when it comes to a certain someone or something. For some reason we start the comparison game and whatever it is we're doing isn't as good as someone else.

As an endurance athlete (one day I won't be uncomfortable calling myself that) that kind of thinking can get you into a lot of trouble. Comparisons can lead you to racing someone else's race or running someone else's pace which more often than not leads to injuries or crapping out way too soon because you weren't "racing within yourself." This frame of mind needs to carryover into everyday life but for some reason it's much more difficult. I am generally pretty good at not comparing myself to others when it comes to running. I know there are faster and longer runners but I know that I can cover some ground as well and occasionally at a pretty good clip. You see, I get running. It makes sense to me. I can rationalize it. But life in general? No way. Any activity other than running? Just as confused.

I considered quitting this blog over the past week because I wasn't a "good enough" blogger. I considered quitting on Raleigh before I even started because I wasn't "fast enough". I considered quitting even discussing exercise and fitness in general because I wasn't "fit enough". I have always been an exceedingly jealous person, peeking through the fence as that impressively green grass while standing in my own Hank Hill perfect lawn. I don't have that beautiful foresight in my own life to see things coming together the way I can see it during a race or in anyone else's life. If you're reading this, there's a part of me that is jealous of you. I may have never even met you but my evil little Blerch is feeding me reasons why I'm inferior to your (hair, athleticism, poise, smell, weight, fingernails etc.).

I don't have a solution to the problem and I'm sure it's frustrating to hear my complaints but the point is to let you know that I am working on it. I want to apply marathon brain to every area of my life...except for the things that are only appropriate during a long race.



  1. I'm really glad you've been thinking about this. I don't think you're as outwardly mean to yourself as she is, but you do have a LOT going on. I know it doesn't feel like it in your own head, but trust me, you do.

    Just try to be nicer. You wouldn't tell me to stop blogging at all because I've been a slacker. You don't tell me to eat a doughnut since I've gained weight. You help me see how I can improve and to cut myself a break. Try to extend the same friendship to yourself.

    Now how do we get others to make me their official life coach for hire in order for us to make some dreams happen?!

  2. Don't ever stop blogging!!!! ...
    I so get this. I need to name my inferiority complex too... Probably Bertha... I can remember my brother calling me that when I was little because I was always so fat.

    I don't find it bad to hear you complaining... it makes me feel like we have things in common :)