I learnt something about myself today. The ‘dawning’ came to me via a fairly easy lesson, less than 30 minutes…my emotions?
surprised, inspired, very empowered, excited, energised, liberated.
I’m not really one for exercise but I know, particularly as I approach middle age, at 48 years old (well, ‘they’ say that 50 is the new 40!), it has to be done. My chosen activity for the last 2 or 3 years has been cycling and I’ve been at it, so to speak, 3 times per week, about 17km (getting on for 11 miles) each cycle, a bit up hill but mostly fairly level. I’ve usually been on my own, worked up a bit of a sweat but doing the same route for two and a half years, I’ve hardly been pushing myself to the max. I’m not a hard taskmaster!
Over the last 4 to 6 weeks, the three times per week has dropped to a couple and it’s no coincidence that I feel that I’ve put on a few extra grams. Weighed myself, 92kg…not good. BMI calculator, for what it is worth, ‘says’ I’m overweight (like I didn’t know that!). I reckoned that the cycling had dropped to twice a week because I was getting bored so I decided to go for a run.
I HATE RUNNING.
I set off for a run a few days ago, 5pm ish, I guess about 21 degrees c, got a few hundred meters (admittedly a bit up hill) and slowed to a walking pace, a good pace but walking. Pathetic! I put that down to not having run for a very long time. Excuse! Before I made that first step, I had, in reality, already given up. I started in a completely negative frame of mind. The ‘circuit’ I had in mind is about 3.5k, so just over 2 miles, half of it fairly steep, the rest, obviously, the opposite. I did it, a mixture of running and walking – I walked most of the uphill section and ran the easier stuff. Same thing the next day (at least I bothered to do it the next day!)
The following day, a break, and then to today. My eldest son is developing into quite an obsessive runner. He is running between 8 and 12km per day, sometimes up to 18k ish. Bonkers if you ask me but each unto their own! He said he’d run my route with me today (after his 8k run!).
I told him I was useless and to expect to witness a risible performance (always best to ‘manage expectations’). So off we went. I should add that we went off at about 8.30pm so the temperature was ‘only’ in the low 60’s. My son set a slow pace for me and I ran easily past the first point at which I had slowed to a walking pace during my previous runs…I was feeling ok. Running up hill, I was coping, even if I do say so myself, quite well, breathing ok, managing to speak a few words (a good sign)…all was ok. We got to the top of the hill without my stopping or slowing to the walking pace so I managed to keep going. We then ran neither up nor down hill, level, then a mixture of up and down. Next came quite a climb and I was finding it tough going but I was determined to keep going and was helped by my being able to see the top of the hill. I made it and then down hill from there. I even managed a bit of a sprint for the last few meters.
I was certainly out of breath but I think it got back to normal fairly quickly and I was able to talk straight after the sprint so I guess I hadn’t pushed myself to the absolute max.
Ok, it was a bit cooler than during the previous runs but I know that if I had gone on my own again, it would have been walking and a bit of running.
I walked back into the house and felt great. I felt that I’d achieved something. I hadn’t run a marathon but I had done more than I thought I was capable of doing. I kept going when, without my ‘mentor’, I’d have stopped.
I realised that I had more in me than I thought I had.
I realised that I could do more than I thought I could do.
I felt, as I said at the start of this blog, inspired, energised, excited and liberated. It made me realise that I am more capable than I keep telling myself I am. It made me wonder what else I can do. It gave me a great sense of ability and positivity and all this thanks to a 2 mile run!!
I do believe that we have to push ourselves beyond what we think is our max if we want to get that ‘we can’ self-belief. We need to get out of our ‘comfort zones’ to really test ourselves. As one who has to fight to stay positive, to maintain self-belief, I guess I should have known that being my own coach, my own taskmaster, was always going to fail. I am someone who needs a mentor. I need someone to push me, to keep raising the bar, to keep telling me that ‘I can’. I don’t have that inner voice screaming “come on, you can do it!!” so I need to gather around me people who will do that for me. Mentors are not, in my mind, people you pay to tell you “you can”. Mentors are people who inspire you and who, without having anything to gain, believe in you and who want to see you succeed. My eldest son was that person tonight and it felt great!
I’m excited by this new sense of optimism, self-belief and positivity and I hope and believe that it will power me forward in my endeavours, in my creativity, in my ambitions and that it will increase my appetite for living and appreciation of life.