You hear so many times people say, "It's mind over matter" or "You can do anything you set your mind to." And this is true. Sometimes I get this determination in me that I almost can't even explain. I decide I'm going to do something, and come hell or high water, I'm going to do it. I started thinking about where this attitude came from, because I certainly didn't always have it.
I remember the first time I pushed my body beyond what I thought I could do. My friend Debbie and I were training for our first 5k. I had never ran anything before in my life, until we started training that August. I had shed a few pounds, and was seeing the results of my hard work. I was starting to feel empowered. Like I really could succeed at this weight loss thing, and heck, I had began to think I wouldn't even die during the 5k! We were planning on running the whole thing. We'd practiced for a few months. It was now October, and the week before the 5k. It was a Sunday afternoon, and we decided to drive about 30 minutes to Greensboro, to run the actual course, so we would be prepared for the race the following weekend.
We planned it out. We had received our race packet (you mean, you get a super cool race packet when you sign up for a 5k?! Awesome!!!) that had our materials and a map of the course. We took the map with us. I pulled out my phone and opened the notes app. I typed in each road and which way we would turn on the road, so we didn't have to carry the map with us. Aren't I so smart??! Who wanted to run carrying a piece of paper for 3.1 miles?! Not us! And we needed our phones anyway, so I considered myself a genius.
So off we ran! And ran. And ran. We were getting close to where we knew a turn should be coming up, but according to my handy little notes app, we didn't see the road name. We ran up through a school parking lot. We ran to the stop sign at the next main road. We KNEW the map didn't have us running all the way to that main road, but we didn't know where else to go. Finally, Debbie knew we had gone the wrong way and she started walking. I don't know what changed in my mind at that moment. It could have been that I knew that I needed to run whether we were on the right course or not. It could have been that stubbornness in me that wasn't going to give up, just because I'd done something wrong with the map. It could have just been the mental breakthrough that I was on the verge of in my journey, and it was going to happen regardless. I don't know. But I got determined! I was not going to walk. And I didn't. We ran from the main road all the way back to the car. I don't know exactly how long I ran that day, but I remember it was over an hour. I have a picture somewhere (at the time, we used a $3 digital cooking timer from WalMart to track our time, cuz we're awesome like that, and knew nothing about running, remember). That was how we documented our progress- the cooking timer and picture of the timer displaying the length of time we ran each day.
When we finally stopped running, my legs felt like jelly. My knees literally buckled and I thought I was going down! Tears welled up in my eyes. I had just ran (okay, slow jogged) for over an hour! This girl that didn't run! That had never ran for anything in her life! That was not physically active and that had gained about 30+ pounds in the past 2 years. I freaking did it!!! It was such an emotional experience for me. I proved to myself that I could do it. I could do what I set my mind to. I could go beyond my perceived limits. I could do better than I thought I could. I beat that voice of doubt in my head.
From that day forward, when I find something I want to do, I do it. When I don't do as well as I thought I could or want to, I know it's my own self doubt. Not my lack of ability. Or maybe I just don't have the push in me that particular day. Because I know now that I can do (almost) anything I want to.
So, today, I plan to run 8 miles. My farthest distance yet. As I train for a half marathon. Something else I thought I'd never do. But you know what, I'm doing it! The thought still terrifies me and I feel that self doubt when I really think, "I'm going to run a continuous 13.1 miles in just 2 short months," but I know I can do it. I know I have it in me. I just remember that first day when I proved to myself that I can do what I set my mind to.
So, when that voice inside your head starts to wonder if you really can do something, or starts to compare you to the person beside you, or tells you that you can't do something, tell that stupid little slut to shut the eff up, and honey, GO DO IT!!!
I believe in you and you've got to believe in yourself. You will amaze yourself at what you can actually accomplish. So I challenge you: This week, push yourself! Do something you thought you could never do. Revel in the feelings of accomplishment after you blow it out of the water! And let me know how it goes!