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You Are More Capable Than You Think

Lessons I've learned as a distance runner.

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How It All Started


My first taste of being a distance runner came as a child. My mother had taken up the sport and I would often join her for 5 miles jaunts along the country roads where I grew up.


This was long before the days of walkmans or any other fancy gear. Just us, lots of rolling hills, and very basic shoes. I wouldn't even own my first pair of Nikes for a few years yet.


I found running to be pretty easy at that time. I wasn't interested in most sports and my workouts came in the form of weekly dance classes and performances and for a while, gymnastics classes.


During PE class I was pretty uncomfortable with any sport that involved a ball coming into my general vicinity. I would often do whatever I could to avoid that possibility!


In general, was one of the slowest runners in my class but when it came time to run the mile each year I shined and found joy in the challenge. My classmates would groan and complain and I would quietly be cheering that this was finally my sport.


I ditched running as I grew up and would revisit it now and again as an adult but it wasn't until I hit my 40s that I rediscovered my love for the sport.



What Was She Thinking?


The funny thing is, I had absolutely no intention of becoming a runner again. I was a dedicated gym rat 5-7 days a week with my best friend.


We would get up at what we called 0:Dark Hundred to meet at the gym when it opened at 5 in the morning. We'd hit the cardio equipment then head to the weights area to finish up and make it home before our husbands and young kids were awake for the day.


We were committed to those workouts and to competing with each other but running was still the farthest thing from my mind.


Then one day while walking on the treadmill, my friend started running. At this time we both had headphones in so I couldn't stop and ask her what in the hell she thought she was doing I just had to join her.


Technically I didn't have to but there was no way I was going to let her outperform me so I started running too. The entire time I kept thinking how crazy this was and that in fact, if anyone was going to start a running routine it should be me because I had a history as a runner.


The second we stopped the treadmills and took out our headphones I asked her what she was thinking. She simply shared she thought it was a way to bump up our workout efforts and get us to our goals quicker.


I was not happy but I couldn't argue with her thinking.




So It Began.


Once or twice a week we'd run on the treadmill. I still wasn't thrilled but I remained competitive and that worked in my favor.


Then a friend invited us to run with her outside and I couldn't fathom how I would run on pavement and carry on a conversation at the same time. It seemed close to impossible. She assured us that she would do most of the talking and that we could take it slow.


Fast forward years later I completed my first full marathon. If you had told me on that first run outdoors that I would eventually complete all of those miles in one day I wouldn't have believed it and would have been intimidated by the idea.



You Are More Capable Than You Think


The simple takeaway lesson from my early experience with distance running is this; what if I had given up? There were many points along the way where I could have given up because it felt too hard or I allowed the fear of looking foolish to get in the way.


I would've missed so many gifts that running has given me over the years! Including confirming for myself that I can do really