I’m a really good sprinter, but I’m no good at long distance running. Just look at my build, I’m too muscular to run long distances. I sprinted in high school, that’s all I know. Why would ANYONE want to run further than a mile? That’s crazy.
And so went the voice inside my head for years and years. I’d see other people doing 5K races and half marathons and looking like they were having so much fun, and I’d think, oh I’d like to do that but there’s no way I could.
Do you have some of these voices of your own? What’s their favorite story?
Then one day back in 2010 someone asked me to run a half marathon. My hubby and I had been married for about 2 years and didn’t have kids yet so I was looking for a hobby…. I reluctantly said yes, not truly believing I could do this thing.
I trained everyday after I was done teaching. I’d come home, and rain, shine, wind, or snow, would go out for a run. When the time came to run the half marathon I was feeling good. I was running about 9-10 minute miles during training and thought, maybe with the adrenaline of my first race I’ll break a 2 hour time.
Then wouldn’t you know, 2 days before the race, I came down with a sinus infection. Breathing was a challenge let alone running. BUT, the hotel was booked, the race bib was paid for and there was no going back. The night before the race I went out to dinner with my hubby and family and had a beer because I was so sure I’d barely be able to run this thing.
We assemble at the starting line. All the nerves. Hoping I don’t have to make an emergency run to the porta-potty. The only other person I know at this thing then tells me she’s been training for 9 minute miles instead of 10. O.M.G. I’m never going to be able to keep up with her!
So the race starts! ALL the adrenaline! I keep up with her for mile one. Now, please understand Pennsylvania in May. It could be 85 and humid or 50 and frigid. Ya never know what you’re going to get. On this day it was about 80 and so humid you could ring out a towel just by waving it in the air a few times.
That was until mile 2. At mile 2 the skies opened up and it RAINED the entire rest of the race. So now it’s raining, I can barely breathe, the other person I know is ahead of me, and it’s me against my mind.
Mile after stinking mile, I put one foot in front of the other over those Pittsburgh bridges. It was a test of will unlike any I’d ever experienced. As I approached the finish line my emotions welled up in my throat and I had to fight through it to keep my airways open. I was so overwhelmed with accomplishment, it was a feeling I’ll never forget. I had just proven to myself, that I could do something that I did not believe that I could. It was a vivid moment of realizing, holy shit… if I could do THAT, what else can I do?? While I didn’t get my sub-2 hour race that day, I came in around 2 hours and 11 minutes. I was proud of that.
The experience of running my first half is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about physical challenges. Once you have achieved the thing you thought you couldn’t do, you can Never. Go. Backwards. You’ve already proven to your brain that you can do it!
After that race, I hate to admit that life got in the way. We had our first daughter and then our second and, well, motherhood for awhile. Then last year, 2018, I was ready for another challenge. I was kinda bored with my work and my kids were old enough that getting out to train was possible again, so I decided to go after my sub 2 hour half marathon.
I signed up for a half marathon in beautiful Salt Lake City which was conveniently happening while we would be vacationing in Park City nearby. Having a do or die mentality to these challenges is very helpful in completing them. My family thought I was a little crazy, and rightfully so, but at 3:30am I woke up while the house was still sleeping, drove down the mountain to Salt Lake, boarded a bus to take us to the starting line, and waited in the dark with hundreds of other runners.
We ran down the stunning canyons toward Salt Lake and ended at the finish line in downtown Salt Lake City. It was beautiful, and yes, I came in at an hour and 55 minutes. Accomplishment.
So whether your cup of tea is half-marathons, tough-mudders, mountain climbing, trail running, weightlifting competitions, etc. here are 3 reasons that highlight why I think it’s so important that you consider challenging yourself as well.
1.Mental Toughness –
Taking on physical challenges allows us to control our thinking patterns in a way that is not possible when we go about our daily lives. It is making the mental decision, and having the unshakable spirit, that you are going to finish what you started out to do. Additionally, it allows your body to practice being under stress and tension. Having the mental toughness to complete these challenges will allow you to deal with circumstances that arise in your life in a more even-keeled, grounded manner that will be more beneficial to yourself and everyone involved.
2. Overcoming Fear and Self-Limiting Beliefs –
Tony Robbins says, “Emotion is created by motion. Whatever you’re feeling right now is related to how you are using your body.” Movement doesn’t just apply to the physical, it enhances the mental and emotional states of our bodies as well. If you are looking to improve some area of your life, to grow as a person, to take on something that is new and scary… why not embrace a physical challenge to get you going? When you prove to yourself that you can conquer this challenge, there is no going back. It is impossible to believe the voices in your head, when you have already proved them wrong.
3. Physical Energy and Confidence –
Do we even need to talk about this!? Who doesn’t want to feel good?? What if you could feel good AND look good!? What if the same activity could make you feel good, look good, and improve your mental sharpness?? Do you even need any more convincing? If you’re story involves excuses as to why you are perfect just the way you are, but deep down you know you would feel better about yourself and have more confidence if you dropped a few pounds, lost a few inches and gained some muscle tone, could play with your kids after work, didn’t get winded going up the stairs…. PLEASE for the LOVE, let’s do something about it! Complacency is the killer of dreams, and we are Moms Making It HAPPEN, and we don’t put up with that ‘ish.
I share my stories from a humble place of trying to inspire and possibly, maybe, make you laugh. I enjoy sharing what works for me (and what doesn’t) and I’m passionate about helping moms feel great about themselves!!
I invite you to join our Facebook community of Moms Making It Happen. It’s a supportive group that is cheering one another on, and who knows, maybe you’ll find a challenge buddy for your next physical undertaking!
Have you overcome a self-limiting belief through a physical challenge? We would love to hear about it! Please share your experience, takeaways, questions, etc. in the comments below!
Sending you big sweaty hugs and wishes for a great day!
Make It Happen mama!