Tuesday, May 26, 2009
In the Beginning...
In the beginning, I did not run. I did not feel good about myself, I did not know the power within me, and I certainly did not wake up in the wee hours of the morning, compare blisters or toenails, discuss chaffage and the prevention of such, or spend more on good socks than I might on a meal. I am not by nature a content person, which is probably a little bit good and a little bit more not so good, and I was discontent that day. I was not fulfilled by really anything- my marriage was not as awesome as I dreamed, my job wasn't quite doing it for me, I was at war with my insides about who I was and what the heck I wanted. My Dad would tell you that this has always been the way I am, never satisfied.
I have no idea what possessed me on that day. It was December and the air was a bit more crisp and the sun was pretty. My black lab, Sophie, was hyper-- again, nothing new there.... This is the dog who single handedly ate an entire dining room table and SIX chairs. I was home alone and it was a Saturday. I could have gone to the gym and sweated it out on the stairmaster or even taken a group fitness class, but I didn't want to. So, there I was putzing around the house and one of those brilliant little ideas I am so well known for popped into my head.
Stupid Self: "Hey! I could go for a run! That would calm the dog and get me some exercise and it's beautiful outside.... what a great idea!! I could run down to the lake and back. It would be great!"
Smart Self: *crickets chirping* nothing.... nada..... sleeping perhaps?
So, it began. I got dressed and laced up my shoes and leashed up the dog and I felt ready. I should definitely mention that I knew nothing of good fitting shoes, non-cotton socks, technical running clothes, fueling for a run, none of that. The dog had never run on the leash and, oh yeah, I did not know that it was 9 MILES round trip to the lake and back. Yes, 9 miles. Ah, the naivete of youth..... such a sweet, sweet, painful, loooooooong-suffering, lesson learning, self loathing, near death experience kind of thing.
Needless to say, I survived and it was not pretty. I think I learned every single lesson about running the first day. The dog survived too, and we both limped around for a week. But, I was hooked. Never in my life had I felt so accomplished. It hurt, it hurt bad but I kept moving one step in front of the other. No, I did not run the whole way that first day and I think I may have even cried at one point. Yes, I was delirious and in pain for days. But ,I set my mind to do something and I did it. Over the next year, my life changed a lot. I signed up for my first race (a 15K... God forbid I start small like most normal people), I got out of my relationship that was so toxic, I quit my job and headed in a new direction. It was a bumpy road and dark at times. But when I couldn't see where I was going, I just picked my feet up a little higher to keep from stumbling. I had never been of the fearless variety. I was always limited by fear-- fear of failure, fear of being judged, fear of the unknown, fear of disappointing my parents or boss or spouse or whoever, fear of not being on the right timetable, of being a step behind or a step ahead.
With each mile I ran, I left another fear behind.
People ask me why I put my life out there for others to read. Why would I share such things where just anyone can see? It's because I'm not afraid. I'm done with that. I don't give one iota of thought to what others might think. I have made a lot of mistakes and I have even hurt people along the way but I learned from those things. The only thing I fear now is that I will stop changing. That I will stop growing as a person and learning from each experience. I said it from the start, it's been a bumpy, winding path this life but it's also been a blessing. It's an amazingly liberating thing when you know you have screwed up so much that you really can't mess it up anymore. So, you get humble and you share what you've found along the way in hopes that others will start to see that life isn't about the falls, it's about the strength to stand again.
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will...."