About four months ago, I started running again. Unfortunately, joining a gym where we are is kind of difficult. There are no good gyms anywhere near us. So, do we drive 30 minutes just to go to the gym plus pay for the membership? It really isn't worth it. So we decided we wouldn't join a gym. We would get some home equipment for weight lifting and I'd run OUTSIDE. *gasp* Oh goodness! Even in the days when I was in excellent shape and running races, I rarely ran outside. Oh and we were coming up on the summer, so running outside was going to take extra discipline like getting up really early in the morning.
But I said to myself one day, "What are you going to do? Just not do something because it is hard?" So I put G.Lee in the jogging stroller and I made myself go for a run around the neighborhood. I know from my previous running experience that it is best to go for a minimum of 20 minutes. So, that is what I did. I ran for exactly 20 minutes. Having that goal helped me push myself. And when I finished, I said to myself, "What is stopping you from just walking for 20 more minutes?" I answered myself, "Nothing." So, I walked. And I walked for more like 30 minutes. It was great! I was getting a lot of exercise without having to push myself to a breaking point.
From then on, I started increasing my running and decreasing my walking until I was running for 45 minutes every other day. Finally, at the end of May (Memorial Day, in fact), I ran a 10K! Running is an amazing thing (if you are a runner you probably know). When you are doing it, everything in you tells you to stop. For me, it never changes. The first 10 minutes while I am getting warmed up are always the same. I want to just quit. But when you cross that threshold and see that you just ran 20 minutes and you did NOT, in fact, die, the feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming. After that, I start pushing myself just a little bit more each time. Every time, I go a little bit further, I feel like I can overcome anything. Likewise, when I set out to run for 30 minutes and I am even 5 minutes shy of that goal, I just don't feel as good. Because there is something in me that KNOWS I can do it.
Isn't life that way? We really think we can't do things that we are so capable of doing. I just started a new venture as a freelance writer. This job sort of happened upon me. It works well for my life as a stay-at-home mom right now because there is flexibility for me to write when I get the chance. And, with G. Lee running crazy around the house, I need that. But it has been stretching me. I often have to write about things that I have no knowledge-base for. So, I have to do extensive research just to be able to know what I am writing. Learning about something foreign is so intimidating. But when I finish my articles, I feel AMAZING--just like with running! Sometimes, it's a headache. And when I read information laden with technological jargon, I'm thinking, "English, please?" But to be able to figure it out and synthesize it is so empowering.
And from here, I have been brought to a point where I am asking myself, "Why haven't I...." Why haven't I tried taking risks in the writing world?
Why have I stuck to what's comfortable?
Why do I doubt myself?
Why am I so afraid of failure that I haven't even TRIED?
Because here I am now doing something I never thought I could do. And I'm coming away from it realizing two things (that are also true of running).
1.) When I think I can't, I can. And I need to tell myself that and believe it.
2.) The more I stick with it, the more "in-shape" I become and the better I actually get at it. The seemingly insurmountable obstacles become smaller as you become more equipped.
So, I am thankful for this new journey of exercise of both mind and body. And I have realized that too often we don't even try because don't believe we can from the start. For this reason, I'd like to encourage everyone to just try something. If you fail, you fail. But you might just surprise yourself.