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Do You Stop to Rethink How You Define Yourself?

September 10, 2013


Recently, something pretty profound happened to me; I discovered I don’t hate running. Much to my shock, I actually quite like it. 3 weeks in, I *gasp!* might already be bitten by the running bug.

This might not sound too shocking, but trust me, it is. For I have always, always Hated Running. Not only that, but I was convinced that I was terrible at it. Couldn’t run a minute without gasping for air, limbs flailing wildly, posture awkward. Slow. Unathletic. Not a runner.

Turns out, I was wrong. ONCE when I was a young child someone said I was “running funny”, and pretty much gave up then. I was 7, and I’d be damned if anybody caught me “running funny” again. From then, I hated track and field, hated gym class when we had to run laps or cross-country, hated those horrible province-wide fitness-testing days when we had to do those beep-test drills. I would literally hold my breath as I ran, hoping I could just go so fast that it would be all over soon. No wonder I had no endurance….I had no oxygen.

I lived my life enjoying solitary sports –snowboarding, longboarding, hiking, yoga etc– all, in their own way, expensive sports (minus hiking…except when Vancouver spoils you and you only want to hike in beautiful coastal mountains from then on. Yoga can of course be done for free at home, but classes! Ho boy… too rich for my blood, I’m afraid.) But I digress. Now, 5.5 months post baby and 20-40 lbs heavier than I have ever been, I needed something that was just for me, that was intense, that cleared the mind, and that was free.

I needed to run.

So, one day a couple weeks ago, I just tried. Without judging myself, without over-thinking it, I just went and did. And, much to my surprise, I ran almost 4 km.

To me, a massive feat.

They say running is as much a mental sport as it is physical, and something mental had shifted in me. I knew something about myself that I didn’t know before, after taking a DNA test. I now know that I have slow-twitch muscles only; something not many people have, but some of the greatest marathoners do. We’re slow, steady, and have a lot of stamina. (This explains my inner Sherpa…but why I’m horrible at squash!) Knowing this made me think “ok, I’ve GOT to try running! I don’t give a crap how funny I look anymore! Maybe I’ll be a marathoner one day, too!”

So there I found myself, listening to rap, running with sweat pouring down my face as I literally chased seagulls and did laps around my neighborhood, probably looking goofy as hell and loving it. I was running. I can RUN!
But how is it that simply knowing that technically I should be ok at running, that made it so that I was confident enough to lace up some (brand spanking new!) runners and go for a run nearly every day for three weeks?

Because my perspective changed. I went from being not-a-runner, to being marathon-before-I’m-35er! I got one piece of completely unbiased data, and my perspective on my self changed. I got out of my own way.

This is leading me to think…what else can I change about myself by simply believing something different to be true? I don’t know yet..but I am excited to find out. (And the 4 lbs I’ve already dropped isn’t bad for motivation either!)

Has this happened to you before? What inner dialogue or label have you given yourself that you might like to ditch?