Starting anything new is really scary. Whether that’s a new job, running program, way of organizing your kitchen– it’s all terrifying. I’ve been thinking a lot about fresh starts lately and have been organizing my life in a “new” way and taking care of all kinds of little things I’ve let slide over the last few years. Dumb things like new keyless entry for the car, new washer dryer, cutting my hair and bigger things like drawing good boundaries in unhealthy relationships, thinking hard about my career and its ultimate direction… you get the point. From the small to the big I’ve been trying to make each day as close to my ideal as I can make it (don’t worry, I’m getting to the running part).
Some of these new steps forward have been easy. I love having keyless entry to the car and a new washer and dryer. Drawing boundaries and cutting my hair have been great experiences, but turning intention to action was terrifying. And I’m still not ready to turn any kind of thinking about my career into a decision. But, I’ve found over the last couple of weeks that the more I take courageous, adult steps in the small things, the easier it is to take them in the big things. So this brings me to running.
This morning I ran with a new group of women. And it was terrifying. They’re fast, I don’t know them at all and I was really worried that I’d slow the group down or they wouldn’t like me, find me slow and chubby, etc. Well, as it turns out, all those fears were ridiculous. I had a blast. I held a really strong (8:30ish) pace for 9 miles which is both the fastest and furthest I’ve run since being injured. Being with a group, and a new one at that, forced me to run to my ability and to be courageous and stop being so afraid of re-injuring my leg. Chatting and getting to know these women made the miles fly by and it was incredibly fun. Incredibly fun. I left excited about running, excited to be alive and full of joy. A feeling I haven’t had after running in months. I ran like a little kid– free of pressure and full of joy.
Although my injury is real and the pain was not in my head I think that after failing (let’s use that term loosely here– failing as in not meeting my goal) at CIM I was terrified to start running to my potential again. What if I’d hit my max? What if I’d never PR again? What if I never enjoyed running again? I found myself tentative and nervous each time I’d run; convinced that each step would be the one that would be my undoing. Well first of all, I’m nowhere near my max and second of all, I don’t believe we were created to be people who fear. One of my favorite Bible verses reads, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but one of power, love and self-discipline.” And I believe that. I want to run, both in life and on the trail, with power, love and self-discipline.
And so, although it’s a little late in the “new” year, it is time for a new step forward, a reset, a fresh start, a clean slate. It is time to throw off the fear of injury, expectation and timidity. It’s time to get out there and reclaim a sport that I love– one that brings me joy, allows me to get to know amazing women I’d never otherwise meet and to push myself past the limits I set. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I’m not going to be a new runner overnight but just like having the courage to paint my living room bright blue helped me to stand up for myself in a relationship, declaring that being scared is over and having the courage to run somewhere new with new people is going to help me tear up my PRs.
Let’s run with power, love and self-discipline this year. Let’s not be afraid to push ourselves and to take risks. Let’s get out there and be the best runners and people we were created to be.