Part 1: I am a Runner Journey
I can’t. I don’t. No, not me.
I suppose it may be the result of some fear, an excuse to not have to work hard, or maybe it is something I have made up along the way and the story stuck.
Thinking back, I have never really been an athlete, at least not the way my mind thinks of an athlete. I do consider myself a full-fledged cheerleader, a sideline kind of girl. Mind you, I was a cheerleader in my teen years and when I was on sports teams as a young girl, I would happily sit on the bench and chitchat with my girlfriends.
It seemed as if this was my nature from a very young age. Now, as an adult, I find myself willfully engaged in activities that are very non-competitive and individually focused like yoga, biking and hiking.
Over the past few years, I have watched many of my friends – locally here in The Keys and all over the country – accomplish some impressive physical feats such as running 5Ks, 10Ks, completing half marathons, full marathons and triathlons. All the while I say out loud…
No, I am not a runner.. Good job! You’re so inspiring! Oh no thank you, I’ll be your cheerleader, I don’t run.
…while on the inside I am secretly thinking, I would love to do that someday. Today, I wonder why have I said no for so long?
And so last year was my time to jump in. I ran my first 5K with some of my inspiring, supportive friends. I was filled with confidence. Truthfully, I was, and still am, so proud of myself for finally saying yes. It was not easy. Every step of the way I had to give myself that pep talk as I panted through each mile, and every breath filled me just enough to keep going… and finally, I made it to the finish line.
It was truly an amazing feeling and all the doubts and struggles made it even more worthwhile. Sadly, I didn’t continue with it.
Do you ever wish that you could do something that seemed so “not” you? I certainly did!
Guess what? Today, I am running and training for an event.
It can take a force outside your world to pull you to do something new, other times the push comes from within, or it is a combination of the two.
How did this happen, I ask myself?
Over the summer, a close friend approached me and asked me if I would like to join her Ragnar Race Team. What exactly is this Ragnar Race? It is this amazing yet exhilarating overnight relay running event: 12 girls, two vans, 200 miles, two day trek from Miami to Key West!
And I said YES without a moment’s hesitation.
My mantra each day “Gentle strength.”
That was how I knew I was supposed to be doing this event. And for the first time, I didn’t let those negative thoughts deter me from trying something new and out of my own comfort.
Slowly, the fear-talk and doubt have subsided and turned into something I can be 100% jazzed about. I revel in my newfound enthusiasm; all the while we are supporting one another’s personal growth and working towards accomplishing a common goal.
And that feels really good!
So this is the beginning of a five-month journey I am embarking on. I no longer say I am not a runner.
Truth be told, I face new fears everyday:
- I don’t want to hurt myself.
- Will I let my team down?
- Can I really run this far?
- Will I be able to train and get my body strong enough?
- How will I balance this with my work and family life?
Overcoming fear is an ongoing feat, and I find that having a mantra each day is so important to keep you aligned and aware of your progress.
I try to focus on the positive energy I am building with my body and mind. I give thanks every day that I am getting stronger both physically and mentally. And feeling good in a healthy way has given me all the reason to keep on going, despite whatever fears I may still have. And that’s all part of learning and growing.
Click here to read more from my I Am a Runner journey.