The irony of me writing a running blog never ceases to make me smile. Why? Because I know myself, and one thing I know is that I am athletically challenged. Elementary school P.E. class revealed this to me at an early age, as I unknowingly walked past home plate during a baseball game and got smacked in the face (twice) with a plastic bat during my classmate’s back swing (right cheek) and follow through (left cheek). I still have the scar on my knee from falling during the 600 yard dash. It took me 5 years of field days before I earned my first blue ribbon for grabbing the most flags in tag event (random luck, but I still have that freakin’ ribbon).
There are a few things I know about myself:
I trip and drop things a lot.
I’m very slow relative to many of my peers.
Muscle is a very small portion of my body mass index. No. Matter. What.
Why, then, would I subject myself to endurance events on a semi-regular basis? Self-awareness! I know how much I want to be athletic, and how great I feel when I go out and run. The fact that I am not naturally outstanding just makes me all that more motivated to work hard. I am used to not winning (in sports), and that allows me to take risks, not having the pressure of a particular race outcome. All those years of feeling intimidated by athletics built up my resiliency in facing uncertainty. I am able to accept unpredictable situations without becoming judgmental and discouraged. I’m used to being in over my head, which led me to venture into triathlon, cycling, and most recently, my first ultra.
If I had waited to be a talented runner, I would have never have gotten out the front door. Instead, I relied on my other strengths: my love of learning, my determination, my intelligence, my desire for adventure, and last but not least, my courage. I knew I had to drink kale smoothies while the other runners noshed on pancakes and bacon, and that I would still weigh more and run slower. So be it. Enjoy the Boston Marathon for me, bacon eaters of the world.
If you want to do something, then get in the game. Don’t wait to be picked by someone else. Create your own opportunities. Mastery comes to those who practice. Rewards go to those who begin.