I love to run. No, not the I have to run a marathon to feel like I’m a runner kind of run. (And my hat is off to those who are that kind of a runner; I just don’t happen to include myself in your number.) I just like what happens to me mentally when I run, so when I don’t (or can’t) run for a while, I really miss the brainy benefits, plus I feel loads better physically, too :).
I haven’t been running in a while. A very long while.
It’s been 18+ months of inexplicable and frustrating hip pain and intensive work with both my physical therapist and my rolfer and I’m easing back into an exercise routine that works for me.
So last night stepping on that treadmill for the first time in a really long time felt a bit nostalgic and I smiled while warming up and searching my iPod for exactly the right audio program (which is always choosing between Steve Chandler and Steve Chandler: my amazing coach) to accompany what would surely be an easy run.
The Voices In My Head
Until I actually started to run and the smile quickly left my face. This wasn’t easy at all! Everything in me was screaming to stop the treadmill and get off! And the voices in my head were extremely chatty:
What was I thinking?
Maybe I shouldn’t be running at all.
I’m not ready for this.
What if I undo all the efforts to put me back together again? Who are you, Humpty Dumpty, all of a sudden?
What if walking will always be the better choice for me?
I’m probably never going to be the same again, so why bother?
All the while I ran, unwavering in my determination to last the next five minutes, and then five minutes more. I just kept running, quieting the naysayers inside my own head and started telling myself a different story:
It’s just been a while.
You’ll get used to it again.
Building muscle takes time.
Keep running. You love this!
Pay attention to Steve, not your burning legs.
And then it happened: nothing was screaming or burning or dying or demanding a full stop. Quite the opposite: I wanted more.
Energy surged through my entire body, pulling me forward, wanting more. And I leaned into my run, ready now to go the distance.
I’m no expert on physical fitness training, but I’m pretty sure that what happened to me at mile 1.64 is not uncommon. So not uncommon, in fact, that we ALL experience this same phenomenon in our lives, whether on or off the running track.
Whenever I start something new it’s hard because I don’t understand how to do it. I don’t know what comes next. My learning curve is steep and if I look around me at other people doing what I want to do I’m discouraged because they’re so much better than me and it’s an oppressive weight thinking about everything I need to learn before I will be capable of running a marathon. And if I’m not careful, I quit long before I reach mile marker 1.64.
When I counter the negative story I’m playing on repeat with a new story — equally made up as the negative one — and tell myself I’m fine, stay the course, remember to breathe, and keep showing up (be consistent in my efforts), I arrive at mile marker 1.64 delighted with the surge of energy that infuses my entire being.
Run Into Your Ready
I run into my ready. I don’t start with it.
Starting is the hard part. We’re never ready for anything. How could we be? Don’t be fooled by your made up story about motivation, either!
Readiness takes time, so just start your project, open the business, share your idea, write the story, create the blueprint, design the website, register the LLC, commit yourself!!! And before you realize it, you’ll be ready to go your distance around mile marker 1.64.
What is it you want to accomplish, or create, or achieve, or learn, or share?
Grab a bottle of coconut water and lace up your runners. You’ll be ready to go after you get started. I promise.
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