There was that moment when I came up over a small hill and I was thinking, "wow, my legs are tight today."
The new route for my first long run in months has me on edge with anticipation. I've run this neighborhood several times, but never turned off on the side streets.
And then I see it. A hill that has a steady incline for about five houses and then a sharp incline right at the top.
And then I stop. Just the sight of it makes me shut down. Mentally, I'm toast.
REWIND to two years ago when I began my physical "fit"ness journey. I was never good at sports. I lack the hand eye coordination that it takes to keep flying balls from smacking you in the face. Or getting on the scoreboard. My biggest claim to fame, sports wise, was in high school. I played on the girls basketball team my senior year. I practiced so hard to make that 3 point shot. And in one game I actually succeeded, alas it was for the other team. Im sure the running affected the lack of oxygen getting to my directionally challenged self.
Running. I only swore to do that if someone were chasing me. But after Type 1 diabetes entered my life to stay, I knew that I had to find some way to keep healthy and watch my children grow up.
It all started with running. You can read about my Evolution in exercise here, if you'd like.
But to cut to the chase, I finished my first half marathon and then vowed I'd never run again. Half-joking, of course. I was tired of the training schedule, just in time for Winter. That's all the motivation I needed to chill.
Then came spring and I had a new goal. A triathlon. I had found I loved swimming and was learning to like road biking. So last month I finished my first triathlon (and am set to do my second one in two weeks in Nashville). I survived the swim, endured the biking. But what made me guess my sanity? The run (at the end of the other two).
You see, I have a hard time with all things physical. Not because I can't do it. But because I believe that I can't. Or I defeat myself in thinking I have to do it the same as someone else. I have to be as fast as they are.
Im back at the foot of the hill. The beast. It's "nasty."
Sure I could turn around and go back the way I came. But I know there's no point. Im only going to hit another hill in less than a mile.
So now what?
This is the part of exercise that, I swear, it feels like other people have the edge on me. And I just have to learn how. I have to BELIEVE that I can do it.
So right there at the foot of the hill, I have a pep talk. Rachel: you can do hard things. YOU can do hard things. Rachel you can do HARD things. You can kill this hill. Who cares how fast it is.. just get up the damn hill.
Here I am two years later after starting this journey and learning that when I stop challenging myself mentally I start to believe I don't have what it takes. But today I learned a very big lesson: I have to give myself the freedom to move at my own pace. Sometimes it's going to be faster than my PR and sometimes it's going to be "painfully slow." But at the end of the day: it's ME doing it. It's the journey. It's the moment of pushing myself to believe. It's the small victory that gives me the courage to believe the next time.
I love that no matter the time I have away from any one apparatus (swimming, biking, running) I can always enjoy the challenge of "getting back into it," knowing that it will get easier.
I just have to be willing to push myself up that hill.