Saturday, September 15, 2012

Just Do It

In August I accomplished a tough goal.
  I ran a 5K.

  Now, you need to understand, just 8 weeks prior, I was not a runner and never had any plans to ever run, unless of course someone was chasing me and I had to run for my life.
  And I really wasn't planning on having to do that either!
....just sayin'.

But since I cancelled my Y membership nearly a year ago, I hadn't done much in the way of exercise, and I was feeling and blah.  So when one of my closest friends mentioned she wanted to start running, I heard myself saying, I'll do it with you.


So we started meeting early in the morning at a local park in mid-June.  We used the Couch to 5K app, C25K, on our iPhones and off we went.  I know that sounds all easy-breezy, but it was far from it!  Our area has a lot of runners and driving into this park on that 1st morning, it became pretty obvious where they all hung out.  Suddenly, the 2 girls who had never run, were two outsiders walking into a club that we clearly weren't dressed for, or even knew how to blend in to.  It was a bit intimidating to say the least.  So, doing our best to push past that, we set out with our iPhones programmed to week 1/day 1.  I was thinking, Ok, I'm a bit scared of how this running thing is going to go, but I'm not exactly coming from the couch, I mean I do run around taking care of 3 boys so surely I must be starting with a bit of an advantage over the couch potatoes right? But at the end of that 1st day of training, alternating 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes, I was seriously wiped out, beat-down and haggard!  What's worse is I could barely make it up and down the stairs for the next 36 hours.  My non-workout body was in utter shock and my mind was screaming, Just Quit! 

It wasn't pretty and quite frankly if I thought there was any chance my friend wouldn't be waiting for me at the park on day 2, I would have gladly ended my running career right then with a tap of the snooze button, and rolled over to enjoy more sleep.

But I persisted and met my friend 3x a week for 8 weeks until we completed the program.  There were great times of being with my friend and connecting, there were agonizing times when we pushed our bodies way beyond our comfort level, and in summer heat no less.  There were hysterical times like when we set out on our 1st day of running 2 miles, and as soon as we finished our warm-up and began running, the sky opened up and poured torrential rains upon us.  We kept going and laughed most of the way.  The irony was just too running 2 miles in the rain?  We realized that we non-runners had somehow become runners and I was now one of those people I used to call crazy.      

Anyway, we finished the 8 week program, and the very next week we ran a 5K.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  During the last mile I felt as though someone was pummeling my stomach and I was so hot it felt like my head might explode.  But we came across that finish line running.  I was so happy it was over so the pain would end.  But also, so happy it was over because I accomplished a really hard goal. 

And because it was so hard to accomplish it means so much more.   

So this is what I learned...

1.  It's good to get out of my comfort zone and try the hard thing that I don't know how to do.
 (That's a huge stretch for me because my nature is quite the opposite...I generally like to know how to do things before I decide to do them.) It was a great mental and physical challenge to take on something I didn't know how to do.

2.  If I change a bit of my routine, I can change my life.
  Prior to June I had no exercise routine.  But making a place for it in my life over the past few months has helped me mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  That one change in my routine has changed the shape of my week. 

3. Doing something new with a friend anchors you to that goal.
  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would have quit had it not been for my commitment to my friend.  After the pain and the heat exhaustion, I would have rationalized my way right out of accomplishing that goal and would have gladly rolled over in my bed on day 2.  Without knowing it, she kept me there and I so enjoyed the bonding that experience brought to us.  It was a richer experience because I did it with a friend.
4. Give yourself some grace and remember to laugh.
  Woo, is this a biggie!  Grace, grace and more grace.  Remember to come as you are, start where you're at, and just to be all that you can be.  Abandon any temptation at comparison and just do it.  Don't take it too's running, not the ER.  I used to always say that when I was a general manager at Gap.  When things were just too crazy stressful, I would say out loud, to myself and whoever else was standing nearby, we're selling jeans, not working in the ER people...let's just chill out! 

5.  Finally, celebrate the accomplishment.
  I did it!  Accomplishing a goal that all of my life I never thought I had the desire or courage for is hard to describe.  But it stirs me on.  It makes me realize that I'm made to do more than even I ever imagined.  It makes me want to keep going.  

I feel the strength and motivation to go after more goals.  Suddenly possibility and hope rise up and bring a certain freedom.  Freedom from small mindsets, freedom from even how I viewed myself.  

Makes me want to see what else this girl can do.

Is this your first visit to Freedom Friday? 
We're embracing freedom each Friday here in 2012.
Click here for a list of the other posts in the series.

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