This weekend was very emotional for me because I traveled to my hometown for my brother-in-law’s wedding. It was a joyous occasion and a few days filled with memories and flashbacks. Some were great and some were painful. I’m of course going to focus on one of the more painful ones. I feel like I had a bit of a break through in my emotional journey this week.
Over vacation it’s always hard to get a workout in but since the hubby was with me, I knew we could carve out some time. Twice I went running and did some body weight exercises. On Sunday morning, I was able to get away and spend sometime by myself on the track. While I was running, it hit me. This is where I gave up on myself.
All through my childhood I never felt good enough. I felt the same way when I did sports. In basketball, I was always second string no matter how ‘hard’ I worked (which let’s face it, was never really that hard). In track, I was never fast enough or fit enough to have any success at running. I ran the 400 meter, the 4 X 200 meter and sometimes the 4 X400 meter. I remember a lot of 4th place ribbons but NEVER a 1st place. I now believe that it was on that track that I gave up on myself. I suffered an injury during my freshman year of basketball where I dislocated my kneecap. I used this as my excuse for rest of high school and beyond. “I can’t run. I have a bad knee.” is what I would tell people all the time.
What I think I was really excusing was my feeling of failure. If I never tried, I never failed right? I committed my time to music and the arts and decided that was good enough and it has brought me so much joy in my life. But I gave up on my dream of every being a runner or a strong athlete.
As soon as I arrived at the track, I felt it all over again. The track felt huge and yet so small at the same time. I could hear my coaches yelling about how slow I was. I could hear myself saying I would never be fast enough. I would never be a runner. I would always be ashamed of my athleticism. I would never feel good about myself. I would………give up. It wasn’t just one day or one track practice; it was over time. But that’s where it happened. That’s where my life got paused. That’s where I decided I wasn’t worth it.
As I began to run, I knew I was going to click over my 200th mile on my Nike+ running app. I thought back to all the miles I’ve run in the last year. One year ago I ran my first 5K. I remember being SUPER nervous like everyone was going to be watching me. I didn’t know if people would walk or run or judge me for walking. Now here I am, literally hundreds of miles from where I was. When you’ve trained and become a runner at a higher altitude, it’s much easier to run at a lower altitude. I’d already set how far I wanted to run before resting, but I found I never needed it. I could just keep running. And running. And running.
As I clicked over that 200th mile, which in all actuality is probably my 300th mile (since I never track at the gym and forget sometimes), I could feel my old self running with me. I could feel that 14 year old girl who never felt good enough falling behind. I could hear her shouting that I’d never be good enough or fast enough or pretty enough or just……enough. But this time I knew she was wrong.
She was wrong about so many things. So many things. Now I try to never think I can’t do something. Sometimes I think maybe I shouldn’t, and then I try anyway. Now I know that with the proper training, I can do anything I want to do. Now I know that only you can change you.
15 years ago I could have never pushed myself to run that track the way I did because I never knew I had it me in. Now I know. That’s the difference. Sorry for the language mom, but I ran the shit out of that track. All by myself. With no coach. No teammates. No one to push me but my own self. And if felt freaking awesome.