Tag Archives: life lessons

On Self-Doubt

12 Aug

I have a confession to make.  I left the Great Race running clinic feeling very discouraged.  Despite having bought new running shoes afterwards, which should have made me the happiest girl in the world, I literally boycotted running for a week.  Not cool.

So, what happened?

At the clinic, I felt like an imposter.  The whole “I run, therefore I am a runner,” thing – I get it.  And most days I own that.  But seeing all of the other runners at the clinic kind of took me back to the feelings of inadequacy I had throughout high school and college.  That version of myself was lazy, overweight, inactive, non-athletic.  The people around me at the clinic were athletes.  They were runners.  I was an imposter, wandering around amongst them, trying to lay low and sneak back out to my car before they figured out that I shouldn’t be there.

At 29 years old, you’d think I wouldn’t let that little voice in my head break me down.  But there she was, louder than ever.  And I listened to her when she told me that I will never be the runner that I want to be.  I thought over and over again about all of the flaws I have in my running form and felt embarrassed, silly for thinking of myself as an actual, real runner.  How silly I must look with my horrible form and my not-even-running shoes.  Last week I blogged less, I ran not at all, I ate all of the things, and I felt like crap about all of it.

Christina was out of town Saturday night – Sunday, which left me alone with my thoughts, a pint of ice cream, and Lifetime Movie Network.  Normally, that combination is a recipe for emotional disaster but I’m really not the person that I used to be.  Yet another one of life’s lessons right in front of my face, so blatant that I couldn’t even see it.

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” – Oprah Winfrey

I read that quote out loud and said: I know that’s right, girl.  Then I sat there lost in my thoughts for a few minutes and let it really sink in:  No, really.  She’s completely right.  I can either keep feeling sorry for myself because I haven’t seen the progress that I wanted OR I can accept the fact that I haven’t worked hard enough to earn that progress.

I run, therefore I am a runner.  The kind of runner I am is dependent on me.  My form, my endurance, my determination; those are all things that are dependent on me.  Just me.  I desperately want to lace up my shoes, walk out the door, and run for miles and miles.  I’ve never wanted anything so badly in my life.  But that doesn’t happen, not just because I wish for it anyway.  Running is slow progress, it’s pushing through shin splints and blisters, it’s talking yourself out of taking yet another walking break, it’s lacing up my shoes even though I’d rather slip back into a dream, it’s feeling exhausted but running anyway.  There’s no finish line, no people cheering, no water stations, no bathrooms, no medals.  Really there’s just me and my shoes on the pavement, with music in my ears pushing me to go harder, sometimes joined by a poodle who finds intrepid joy in this simple act of moving forward.

I love running, even though sometimes I find myself talking about it like a burden or a chore.  I started this journey for one simple reason: to improve my self.  Running is like life – I can say I want to be more determined, more motivated, more hard-working, insert whatever here.  Without action, those are just wishes, as fleeting as the wishes lost on so many birthday candles.  Those wishes become goals when I actually start working towards them.  Running has shown me that I will never reach my goal unless I give it 115%.  And then a little more after that.  This weekend I realized that I have to stop thinking about running like a backpack full of boulders, this thing I carry around with me that weighs me down with self doubt and guilt.  Running is a lesson.  And when I stop being afraid to learn it, then I will be a runner.

Be Careful What You Wish For

16 May

Wednesday Morning:

7:30 a.m.

I snooze my alarm, wander downstairs to let the furballs outside, and collapse onto the couch to fall back asleep.

7:45 a.m.

Christina starts calling my name from upstairs.  When I respond, she asks me what I’m doing.  “Sleeping,” I groan and pray for her to be satisfied with a single word.  She tells me my phone is ringing, a colleague whom I work closely with.  I realize that its 4:30 a.m. in her time zone.  I wander upstairs, curious to know what the emergency early morning phone call is about.

8:00 a.m.

I curl up next to Christina in bed and ask if my friend left a voice mail.  “Wellll, she didn’t call.  I just had to get you upstairs to talk to you.”  Gasp.  Trickery.  Betrayal.  “What?!” I say jokingly.  And then, my life coach future wife gave me one hell of a pep talk.

8:15 a.m.

After reluctantly putting on my running clothes, we step out into a light drizzle.  Hmph.  “Great,” I say.  “It’s starting to rain.”  I huff and puff on the sidewalk as she hands me a paper to drop off at the building next door.  I huff and puff some more.  “Just go,” she tells me as she drives off.

8:20 a.m.

I emerge from the building next door and notice our car parked suspiciously across the street.  As I near the sidewalk, she rolls down the windows and I hear it:

I am mortified.  My face turns absolutely crimson, a color usually reserved for after my run.  I demand her to stop.  She rides alongside me as we head for the red light at the end of the street.  By this point, I cannot stop smiling and laughing at how ridiculous we are.  Another pedestrian is amused, and confused, by the spectacle that is us.  When the light turns green, she follows me instead of making the turn she normally does which will take her on her morning deliveries.  Ahhhh!!!  “Okay, okay!!  I’m going,” I half scream, half laugh at her.  As she pulls slowly away from me and drives further out of sight, I can no longer hear the music.  But, I can see her fist pumping out of the car window and into the morning air.

Sometimes, God answers your prayers in ways you never could have expected.

And sometimes, if you are even half as lucky as me, you realize that He wrapped up your Mickey Goldmill and your Adrian into one incredible person.

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