I started writing this post on Monday, the day after my race, and had planned to post it on Monday but then life happened and now it’s late Friday night and I’m finally getting around to ironing out the final touches:
I’m not good at facing challenges, but I love taking them on. I love the beginning of a new project; the potential and promise of possibly achieving greatness is so incredibly wonderful at the beginning. And then the work begins and let’s face it: work isn’t really all that fun. When you face challenges head on, you inevitably experience a mixture of failure and success, but I always get stuck on the failure and usually I just give up. All that excited passion at the beginning peters out until I have nothing left. All of a sudden those resolutions, that daily habit, that amazing project I could not wait to complete is a distant memory. I must confess I have a shameful pile of unfinished projects, broken resolutions, and failed diets that all showcase this less than admirable quality about me: I give up when things get difficult.
This summer I challenged myself to be different, to be better. I told myself to only take on projects that I could prioritize appropriately. I spent an absurd amount of time writing and reflecting on where I wanted to see my life go. I decided that I wanted to make healthier living a bigger priority and I got serious about running. I have a mostly hate relationship with running for as long as I remember. I’ve written about this before but most of my memories of running revolve around painfully embarrassing gym classes where I couldn’t even run a mile. But this summer something clicked in me that got me excited about running. I ran consistently 3x a week for the entire summer. And as I started to see progress, I decided I was ready to take the plunge and achieve a goal: in August on my birthday, I signed up for a 5k!
And this last weekend, I ran in that 5k race! Leading up to the race I wasn’t feeling my strongest. I had recently started my yoga teacher training classes (more on that later) and all of a sudden finding time to run seemed something pretty close to impossible. The run that I had made time for in the week before the race was the worst run I had in a while. I was cramping and couldn’t even finish the distance I had set out to run. But the problem with that run was really that it was hot outside and I was probably dehydrated after a full day of work. Again, this speaks to my issues with prioritizing. I discovered something really powerful about myself this summer: I have willpower to do some pretty amazing things but that willpower starts to wane as the day goes on. This is why I always try to schedule my writing for the early morning before my day hits any semblance of full swing. I thrive on morning energy. But my school day starts at 7AM so scheduling a run or yoga for the morning would require a crazy early wake up time and I’m trying to get more sleep these days (a minimum of seven hours!). Scheduling is difficult but not impossible. I can move my runs to the afternoon and still make progress in my training plans but I have to be diligent and recognize that this movement will shift my performance. Plus, I always have the weekends to look forward to!
Anyway, last weekend I saw the fruits of my labor. I completed my first 5k. And when I crossed the finish line I was filled with so many amazing good feelings. I rarely in my life feel genuinely proud of myself but when I crossed that finish line I realized that this is a huge accomplishment for me. Over the last couple months I chose to tackle a challenge that meant something to me. I chose to become stronger and healthier. I’m still reeling from the high of that experience and looking forward to continuing on this path I’ve paved for myself. This summer I became a runner. I set out a plan for myself and I stuck to that plan. Sure, starting a new school year made the goals a lot more challenging but I faced that challenge and I made it to the finish line!
To get through your challenges, both physical and mental, let go of your resistance to them. Accepting difficulty doesn’t mean you have to like it, but hugging into challenges and looking for a lesson in them, rather than pushing them away, can help you let go of them sooner. – Sadie Nardini
Now I see that I can overcome obstacles and face challenges. I can take on projects and actually see them through. I have discipline and determination. I have strength and courage. I have all the tools I need.