Over a year ago, my good friend Tina came into town with her kidlets for a visit. She and I had worked together about a dozen years ago and used to, shall we say, enjoy the odd adult beverage together. Okay – we smoked and drank quite a bit. Tina looked transformed. She had quit smoking and was coming into town to run a half marathon.
A half marathon? What crazed, delusional maniac got hold of my friend and caused her to make such a stupid decision as “picking up” running? I used to always say, “I run when chased” and make fun of those morons that were running along busy roads, looking as though they would like to throw themselves in front of my car.
Tina talked me into running with her around a park in the area. We would run, then walk, then run again. I wheezed my way through about twenty minutes of this and was quite proud that I had not collapsed in her arms. I still wasn’t convinced about a “runner’s high” and the energy it can give you, etc. But I had been working out, lost quite a bit of weight and was wanting to quit smoking. Tina quit because she said she’d rather run than smoke. Suuuurrrreeeee…..
But this year sent me into a new direction. I realized that life is about taking on all those things that you’re CONVINCED you’d hate, CONVINCED you’d never enjoy, CONVINCED you’d never try. Life has never been about absolutes and it’s taken me to the age of 40 to figure that out. It’s difficult to not want to just strangle yourself because of all your wasted time and energy you put towards being convinced that you knew what the universe was all about. How glib.
I decided to take running seriously this spring and much to my amazement, I started to enjoy myself. And to my astonishment, it helped me quit smoking. I killed two fears with one stone! It dawned on me that it actually was a fear of mine. It was a fear of not being able to do it. Of failing half way through the goal. I’m very hard on myself and I have a low tolerance for failure, but running? How can a human being “fail” at running? I could. But each minute I added to my time, each block I added to my run, my fears were being pounded into the pavement below my running shoes. I was metaphorically stamping out my cigarette habit and crushing my fear along with it. It was a sense of freedom I had never experienced in my life and I couldn’t believe that it was coming on the heels of running.
I have my alarm set for 5:30 in the morning and head out the door by 6. I run 3.3 miles and get home red-faced, breathing like an old woman, but over-joyed. I’ve never felt joy after physical activity, let alone something as absurd as running. But it’s my twins girls that really make me feel I’ve conquered my fear. They’re on the couch when I come through the door after a run and ask me, “Mummy, you went running?” I answer, “I sure did sweet peas.” They always respond with, “Good job, mummy”, and I agree. Good job mummy.
What are your fears that are holding you back?