Sunday 18 March 2018

Sliding back into positive mode made my holiday fun

Turning a challenge into fun can be the answer
Turning a challenge into fun can be the answer

Catherina McKiernan

I was on holidays in Spain recently and we went to PortAventura, a big water park just outside Salou. On arrival, the children didn't waste any time by going straight down some fairly daunting slides.

I was standing at the bottom watching them and it was such a pleasure to see the excitement and smiles on their faces as they approached me. I thought I was going to get away with being a spectator, but after about an hour Patrick said: "Mammy, you have to go on that big red slide, it's really good fun." The word 'fun' appealed to me but, as we all know, when you get older you become more fearful of heights.

I said: "You go on it one more time and I will have a think about it."

During my running career I had to be courageous, positive and be in the mindset that nothing was a challenge. I found myself standing at the bottom of this big red slide in a dilemma! I had to be brave and not show any sign of weakness in front of the children.

When Patrick ran off I had a 'serious' chat with myself and when he came back down the slide, I said "let's go" as I was ready for the challenge!

Walking up the steps, I convinced myself that nothing was going to stop me from going down this slide and we ended up spending seven hours there, so good was the fun. Having positive beneficial thoughts will get you much further in life and with your running than negative, self-defeating thoughts.

As runners, we all have good runs and not so good runs. If we can remember our thoughts during the good runs, we know that they were upbeat, encouraging and positive. On the other hand, the bad runs were filled with pessimistic self-talk. We can control our thoughts. Don't try to fight the negative thoughts as it only gives them more focus. Instead, replace them with positive affirmations.

An example of this would be: 'I am a strong healthy runner, I feel great, I can do this.' Keep repeating this until you are feeling great and your body is relaxed.

Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings while running. If we think good thoughts we have more energy. I have learned to be thankful to be able to run and filled with appreciation for my health and strength.

We all have experienced runs in which we feel totally in control, effortless and felt like we could run forever. This is referred to as the 'runner's high'.

I was proud of my performance at the water park in Salou, and thanks Deirbhile and Patrick for putting the challenge to me. It was great to be a child again for a day.

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