People often ask me why I run. I run because I love it. People never ask me why I run so many races but I know they always wonder. I run the races because it’s about pushing past boundaries for me. Every time I line up at the start and cross the finish line I know I’ve accomplished something. Those are the moments I use to motivate myself to keep moving past those boundaries and push toward new goals!
I’m using my running a race as a way to explain the thoughts in my head today, not because I think everyone should get out there and run races like crazy. Side note: everyone should get out there and run because it’s fun, but that’s just my opinion.
I’ve never particularly felt proud of myself! I am my own worst critic and greatest motivator. I am an overachiever and have been my whole life. All the things I’ve accomplished in life are things I just thought of as things I was supposed to do. I was supposed to make good grades to get into a good college and I was supposed to graduate college and move on to some graduate study. Nothing big going on there. I remember graduation from college and graduate school thinking this was just another day and I moved on. Was I glad to have accomplished all of that? Yes, but there wasn’t that proud feeling.
I was never ever present in the moment. Therefore, I didn’t appreciate those moments. Maybe I felt this way because I was never really challenged.
I remember the day I hit my weight loss goal. It was a happy day for me. I knew I worked so hard for it. I lived it day in and day out. I always say it was the hardest and easiest thing I’ve ever had to do. But I never had that proud feeling because once again, I felt like it was something I was supposed to do. I didn’t appreciate the hard work.
Then I started running. From the first day I hit the pavement, even though it hurt so bad the following days, I was hooked. It was everything I loved: fast paced (well maybe not so much at first), heart pumping and a challenge. I NEVER thought I would be able to run 3 miles much less want to. Running was something I wasn’t supposed to do.
Running has taught me a lot about myself. Running has challenged me in every aspect of my life on and off the pavement. Running has challenged me to push past my social comfort zone and talk to people. It’s taught me how to make friends and keep them. It’s really taught me to connect with others.
Running has challenged me physically and mentally, but mostly mentally. Everyday I’m working on ending that negative self talk by pushing on. Running has taught me to love myself for all the things I have/can/will accomplish AND all the things I’m still working towards. There are no more failures in life, there are just possibilities.
Running has taught me to be proud of myself! I’ve always looked at others to be proud of me for doing this and that. I run for myself. And yes, I do want others to be proud of me but that’s not what’s important. It’s kind of like I was afraid to be proud of something I’ve accomplished. Now that I run, I have found a new appreciation for my weight loss and the journey it took to get to this point. Running has shown me that the journey I have taken is just as important as the finish.
If you didn’t already know, I don’t run the races to win. I run the races to finish! It’s about the road I take to get to the finish that completes the journey. Don’t let those moments pass you by because those are the moments that define you! An definitely don’t minimize those steps to nothing because every step is a huge accomplishment! I know I’ve been saying it a lot, but small steps lead to big strides. It just took me a little longer to really understand the journey.
I don’t want you making the same mistakes. I made this mistake because my self-worth was low and didn’t really have a passion for life (or anything). There were lots of things I loved to do (and was probably really good at doing), but I didn’t have the focus to see anything through until the end. I guess I can say I found myself through running and weight loss.
Once again, I’m not trying to push running on anyone. BUT I am pushing you to stick with whatever it is you are trying to do. It may not come easy or fast or even the way you want it to come, but it will come. You have to keep working, you have to motivate yourself to keep pushing and you’re probably going to have to find a new you along the way. Always remember, it’s not just about the finish…it’s about what happens between the start and finish.