The other day I was on an evening run, and about 15 minutes in, I passed a little boy playing on his front lawn. He blatantly watched me passing, and asked “What are you doing?” I smiled and said, “I’m running.” He looked confused and asked, “Why?” I simply smiled and continued on past him, not answering his question, and within a few minutes I was already blocks away from him. But his question stuck with me. Why are you running?
I have always hated running. In elementary school gym class we were made to run around the block or soccer field with no real direction on how to do it properly. I was a generally inactive kid, so suddenly being forced to run made me feel like my lungs would explode and my side was being pierced with a knife. Throughout my childhood I rarely played sports, and if I did, I did not run. Moving through from being a kid to a youth to an adult, my interests followed more artistic paths, and physical activity was generally something I found uncomfortable, intimidating, and even somewhat fearful. Trying to be active most often led to one more bruise on my fragile self esteem.
I have realized lately that for all my life I have believed a false truth about myself: I am not an active person. This was a non-disputable fact in my mind. I did not like being active, nor did I have the desire to learn how. Physical activity felt foreign and painful.
But a few months ago this all changed. I had dabbled with certain activities in recent years – walking, hiking, stationary bike, and even elliptical. My mindset, however, had not changed. Even with becoming slightly more active, I still believed it would never stick. Then I read a blog written by a new mom who was trying to get back into running. She said she was using this Iphone app called C25K that claimed it could take you from being a couch potato to running 5km in 8 weeks. For some ridiculous reason that I cannot even remember, I decided I should give it a try. I used this app three days a week and steadily increased my running time, starting at only 60 seconds, then 90 seconds, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and more. One day the program jumped from 8 minutes straight of running to 20 minutes. I was positive that this would be the increase I was not able to accomplish. Yet somehow I did it. I remember hearing the app chime “one minute left,” and feeling tears fill my eyes. I had to make myself hold them back for that last minute until I had completed 20 minutes of running without stopping. Then I let loose big tears of joy. Tears of unbelief. I will never forget that moment, because it was then I realized I was re-writing my story. I was a runner. I was doing something I literally thought impossible.
Fast-forward a few more weeks, and I can now run 5K+ on a regular basis. Then one evening a little boy gives me a cock-eyed look and asks why I’m running. I’m running for so many little reasons, like getting healthier, improving my appearance, challenging myself, becoming the example I want to be for my daughter, and the fact that I now enjoy it. But above all of those, I’m running because I can.
What about you? Is there a part of your life in which you may be believing a false truth about yourself?