This isn't a blog about how I'm going to parent my child, nor my admiration or shock at Tiger Mother, rather this quote hits the nail on the head for exactly what running has taught me.
I have long felt like the following combination of traits has been a part of my identity: "doesn't put in full effort, B+ student, moves on when things get tough, starter-not-a-finisher". That last one especially resonates with who I have believed myself to be. I'm good with ideas, not with follow through. I feel like, while I do have successes to be proud of, my history is also littered with unfinished projects. This has made me question my own ambitions and I've been hesitant to start projects at all (might as well not start at all rather than quit another thing...). I didn't set out to change this identity belief, it was something I simply knew of myself and I wasn't proud of.
Interestingly enough, many of the experiences I track this back to involve sports. I am quick to pick up sports but when it came to putting any real effort (i.e. suicide drills) into any of them for high school or college teams I was out of there. That has long stuck with me as a disappointment. I knew I had some natural ability and would have enjoyed it, but gave up the chance far too quickly to avoid hard work.
Running wasn't something I'd always wanted to do. More than once I thought to myself, "why do people sign up for non-competitive races? If I want to run 10 k I'll just do it". Surprise surprise, I never did it. So when I actually enjoyed some random runs I went on in Revelstoke (who wouldn't enjoy a run in that beautiful place??) I decided to do it some more, and somehow that turned into deciding to sign up for a half-marathon.
The thought that made me take that leap from 5K to 21.5K was: "Hey, I never thought this was something I could do, and yet I'm doing it. Maybe that can be true for more things."
And so I ran 4 times a week for 4 months and then ran 21.5 k. That experience rocked a little something in me. That disappointing identity belief that I'd long held to be true was no longer accurate. I had started something new, and I not only finished it but had given it my best effort in the process. I could work hard at something, and I completed it even though it was difficult.
This has truly been the greatest thing I have gained from running, far beyond the physical benefits. I've reshaped that piece of my identity that I felt defined me, and now believe I am capable of doing hard work and of accomplishing goals.
This even comes down to little, seemingly insignificant things. For example, my long term dream (long term as in after I finished having children and they were all in full time school) was to eventually paint the main floor walls white. This was so long term because I am not a decorator and I don't enjoy painting and I couldn't imagine doing it on my own with kids around. But at the beginning of this year I thought, "hey, I ran a half-marathon, I can paint my living room by the end of 2017". And so I actually did it! They year long timeline was very realistic but I got the main walls done by the end of last month. Running and home decorating are not typically tied together, but that really spoke volumes to me about how my confidence had altered.
And so, I come near to the end of my second year of consistent running, writing a love letter to running. I feel like I talk about it a lot these days, and this is why. Because it has changed some things in me, and I am a little gushy, and a lot thankful.