It doesn't take long before it begins.
I am on my early morning run. It is hovering just over 80 degrees, heavy on the humidity. My legs feel strong. My shoulders are loose. I take deep, even breaths. As I take off down my street I almost feel like I do in my reoccurring dream, lightening fast, strong, ready to fly.
I settle into my music and the clutter filling up my day falls away. I watch two squirrels running across the road, fighting as they go. A cardinal dashes by me and I dodge a wasp heading right for my leg. I watch the construction crew working on the house down the street, and the man watering his lawn, and the dog who watches me.
I check my pace at the mile marker and I'm impressed. Faster than I normally go. And in this heat. Nice.
Then it begins. "You're running much faster. You are going to tire sooner. You are probably getting tired already. You are not built for speed. You're going to have to walk soon. See how hard you are puffing now?" My brain is working overtime to get my body to stop.
I spot my negative trend and try to turn it around. I even out my breathing again and make sure to keep the same pace I had on the first mile. I tune back into my music and run on.
"Brave" comes on my iPod and I feel my pace quicken even more. I think about how I want my children be brave. Attack life head on with wild abandon. Live without fears holding them back. Put everything they've got into what they want. I want that for them. And for me.
"The wind is really picking up now. That always wears you out. This is a big hill coming up, maybe after that you'll have to walk. You haven't had enough water for this heat and you don't want to get a migraine." My brain warns.
I physically shake my head to snap these negatives loose. Why is it that I can be everyone else's cheerleader but my own?
I feel myself begin to tire. I feel sluggish. Knowing my brain is winning this battle I run through my checklist.
My legs still feel strong. My shoulders are loose. My breathing is even. My back feels good. I'm okay. I can do this.
"You're not tired. You're doing great! You are getting stronger. You can do this!" I chant to myself.
Before my brain can interrupt I catch my shadow out of the corner of my eye.
"Is that me?" my brain asks. "Is that what I look like?"
My shadow doesn't look tired. My shadow looks strong. My shadow looks powerful. My shadow looks brave. My shadow looks fast and free. My shadow looks like me.
I put my head down and barrel through. I can do it. Faster and longer than I have before.
I get out of my head, turn off my brain, and just go.
I can be brave too.