Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Endurance Mentality

I have a hate/love relationship with running.

When I was younger I hated running. It always seemed so boring to me, doing the same motion over and over. I preferred playing sports and I always joked with my coaches that if they wanted me to run they would need to give me a soccer or volleyball to motivate me to.

But in college sports just weren't the same anymore and I started getting into running last year. I starting signing up for 10K's and then a half-marathon, but I hated training for race day. I only loved the feeling of finishing the finish line. Somehow, this perspective seemed skewed. It was like I was just living for one moment. But that's not how life or running should be. Life isn't about one moment but all of the little moments. Each and every step. Life is about the journey you go through, and the accumulation of those moments and events create these finish lines along the way. Now I can finally see running as a metaphor for that.

But that wasn't my initial perspective.

During my first half-marathon, I was proud of myself that I finished, but I wasn't proud of my time. If anything I was ashamed of it. I would tell myself that the only reason I finished was because I had the ability to endure pain. Whether it's enduring emotional and physical stress, or a haunting past, I seemed to be a pro at enduring it all.

Yet, pain tolerance isn't something to be proud of...

Putting one foot in front of the other, I told myself to keep moving and push past it all. Keeping my dreams and goals in sight, I realized that I had to move on.

I learned to forgive others and forgive myself, accept and acknowledge the past as a reminder to myself who I am, and learning to let it go with each breath.

Soon enough I was running faster, breathing easier, and conquering every mile. With hard work and dedication, running felt like flying, and I finally felt free from all the things that I had endured. I may not be the fastest or the best runner, but I was becoming a happier person.

To cross those finish lines in life, you have to work hard and keep at it with each and every step.

On July 14th I will be proud of myself for finishing my second half-marathon and I will be proud of my time. But most of all, I will be proud of who I am and how far I've come to be the young lady that I am today.

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