EMBRACE THE SUCK continued...

"Embrace The Suck" continued... 3 years later




Whether we are talking about the race course or life, we are all hit with challenges and it would be unrealistic to think they'll never happen. So why do we constantly place perfectionism upon ourselves?


Is perfectionism really a negative thing? Or could it be a positive thing that we warp, twist, and suffocate into a negative thing?


Research shows that it isn't all bad! Nope, as a matter of fact, you can probably look at your successes today and see how your hard work and perfectionist characteristics may have gotten you here. But at what price is the question?


Balance lost. This is where with anything and everything we end up trying to keep our head above water in the negativity pool. For example, we can use our "perfectionism" features to strive for a better job, another degree, or another race win, however, it sinks its claws in when we are pursuing those things and we don't address a setback well, or a loss, or acknowledge uncontrollable circumstances. We tread water in that negativity pool instead of swimming back over to positive waters. We dwell on our mistakes. One needs to embrace the suck with a positive feedback response, not a negative one!


So where do we find this so-called balance in order to handle these challenges in a more positive and healthy manner? Well our inner critics (those responsible for this perfectionist characteristic) are like second personalities. They are the little devils that shift that perfectionism into self destruction. We need to be aware of when they are present and in doing so, know that we can slap them off our shoulders before they even begin to bring us down. We do this by reshaping our brains into a positive automatic response. So just like we try our best to create healthy habits for our physical bodies, we need to aim to do the same for our brains! And just like our bodies that take 66 days on average to create those healthy habits, we need to work our neuro-pathways for at least 66 days to create that positive feedback loop!


example: During a race, as soon as it gets hard, you hit that hill, or your tummy rumbles, what happens? Negative thoughts flood in, but wait! Those that have found success in these races will tell you, they SHUT DOWN those negative thoughts immediately. They did so by practicing mantras, or memorizing positive thoughts beforehand!


Whether we are speaking of race strategies, career, health or life, reshaping your negative thoughts into positive, more grateful thoughts is the way to go. Easier said than done though. It can be tricky...


You will gain more success with habits if you realize the reward of your daily, healthy patterns. The bottom line is to note the reward so the habit sticks. For example: I can have my delicious organic cup of coffee if I do my 15 minute walk first. Otherwise, no coffee.


Piggybacking off of your already healthy habits can provide even more success. This method is in line with the "Tiny Habits" method. With this method, you create success momentum. Success Momentum is being able to complete little things, but then see that you're completing a much bigger thing the more you do. Like the walking and coffee or the positive mantras for racing. Furthermore, if you already do a 15 minute walk in the morning, you could add on just a little and do some squats. They would only take a few extra minutes, yet provide great benefit if the overall goal is health and wellness. And as you race, if you continue the positivism, not just in your brain, but on your face with smiling through the pain (instead of blowing up at the aid station volunteers) as you think those good thoughts, you will find greater success!


The same is for your brain! Resource from Jennifer Hunt M.D. Try the Circuit Breaker.


3 Questions:

  1. Is this action coming from my negative inner critic or is it my choice?

  2. Is there a craving or reward at play?

  3. If I ignored that negative inner critic, are there a few other choices I could consider right now?

The example: People Pleaser

Your boss asks you to work another shift even though you are already burnt out.

Circuit Breaker Action: Take a second and respond with, I need to check my schedule first please.

  1. The feeling of having to say yes even though that is not your choice.

  2. Because you really want your boss to continue to invest in you.

  3. Sure! Yes is one, but then you maybe saying no to your health! Another is working another shift at a different time that makes more sense after you rest. And finally just say No. If you need a reason, be honest and point out how much you have been working and let him know you want to be sure you are providing quality work!

So how does all this fit in with "Embracing the Suck 3 years later?"


Because it's been almost 3 years since I first posted on "Embracing the Suck" when I was in the hospital with Rhabdomyolysis during the U.S. Trail 100 mile Championships. You can read more here to catch up click


At that time, it didn't seem like a career ending. Fast forward almost 3 years, over 100 different doctor appointments a year, several trips to Cleveland Clinic and it's been the fight of my life. Not because I only identify myself as an athlete, or that I'm stuck in perfectionism, but because I truly love to push my body mentally and physically. I have only just begun running more than 30 minutes a day consistently on average. I was able to continue my strength training pretty consistently at about 85%. Overall, I was operating only at 25% of my previous training. As you could see, if I operated on a perfectionist mindset, I would be unable to give myself the grace needed to continue to heal and execute what I COULD do in these uncontrollable circumstances.


At first, it wasn't as much of a mental challenge. Covid hit, I had to watch and teach my daughter daily, and after all, I did have rhabdo which needed some serious rest (a good 8 months worth before I started trying again)! However, when I did pick up the pieces, they just kept falling a part over and over again. Yet, I kept trying over and over again. And I took it a day at a time. It would have been easy to sulk, but this is the part where I encourage you to be grateful for what you do have. To focus on the positive things like: the doctors hadn't found any cancer or seriously life threatening illnesses yet. There are days I can hike for an hour even if it means sleeping for 2 hours after. I did in fact, renew my hunters license, earned a certification in holistic nutrition, and am working on launching a brand extension of Rugged Running called SheRUGGED (a faith based, holistic fitness program for women!). Even more heartening is the support I'm continuing to receive from my head coach Salynda Heinl, our awesome clients, and new and old sponsors! ... Maybe they know of my comebacks from previous years, but without putting that pressure on myself (you know that perfectionist, superhero, people pleaser) I think of it as a new beginning. One in which God had to stop me in my tracks in order for me to listen that there was so much more to me than just being an athlete. I do believe I exist to inspire, however, I had tunnel vision and limited my beliefs on how I had to execute to inspire. But the truth did certainly set me free!!! (from those limiting beliefs).


To the perfectionist, the people pleaser, or those lacking confidence, know that you can create a new you and discover even more strengths, gifts and talents that God has provided within you but it will take effort in establishing new mental healthy habits and a little confidence to try new things! You can work with us individually at Rugged Running for all of your confidence building needs!


Ps... NO not every day was full of joy or positive, that would be UNREALISTIC. But acknowledging the fact that there would continue to be setbacks, and challenges within the challenges is what continues to help me get through it all. I did and do make mistakes. I put myself down as a mom and a spouse- a defective one! But I hope sharing some of this helps some of you!


For instance, as I'm battling my own war, my daughter's health took a hit, and now understanding she has inherited some of my health issues, my fight gets even stronger (not just with the doctors) but the "staying positive" mental attitude to brush off on her too!


So how does your story end Michele?!!


It doesn't. My last, recent trip to Cleveland concluded with some great information that could help us nail this systemic problem down. And instead of letting the frustration of this LONG process get me down, I got out. I explored some of the great parks in Cleveland and focused on creating an improved, top notch camp experience for Rugged Running The Camp this year! With the support of new and old sponsors like MUDGEAR, ICESPIKE, GU ENERGY, and ZEALIOS!


I will continue to strive for excellence! I will set mini goals and make efforts towards challenging myself mentally and physically as an athlete, coach, and mom!


{ Excellence stems from enjoying and learning from an experience, and developing confidence from it. In contrast, perfection fosters negative feelings from any perceived mistakes made, regardless of the excellence of performance.}





As a thanks for reading my blog, please take advantage of these discount codes for these great products (limited availability act now!). And side note: If you go to Cleveland use Bounit Brothers Transportation! The taxi's from the airport there are a bit scary :)

  • Rugged Running The Camp: 10YEAR

  • MUDGEAR: RUGGED

  • GU ENERGY: RUGGED20

  • ZEALIOS: ZUPRUGGED-22

  • ICESPIKE: havefun


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