Sunday, April 24, 2016

Yes You Can

As a teenager, and even a young adult, I remember walking by or driving by runners or other athletes on the road and telling myself I'd never be like that. "That's just not who I am. I'm just not athletic. I could never do that." Not to mention that I hated running. The dreaded mile in junior high and high school. The bane of my existence. Ugh.

Obviously things have changed. I've worked out regularly, frequently, and consistently for about five years now. It blew my mind a few years ago when a doctor called me "athletic."

Now that I'm training for my third half marathon, and after I've lost some weight, I have accepted that maybe I am athletic. And that is in complete conflict with my self-image even 7 or 8 years ago. But in the time that I've changed my lifestyle and come to love and adore and obsess over all things fitness, I've noticed a lot of people with the same mentality as I had.

May I submit these quotes for your careful consideration.

As I train for races, here's a common conversation I engage in...

Person: So you're training for a race? How long is it?
Me: 13.1 miles.
Person: Oh my gosh. I could never do that.

This frustrates me for a couple of reasons. One reason, and I know this isn't something they intend to do, is that it implies that this has been an easy feat for me. Like I woke up and was able to run 13.1 miles. People, let's be real. I train my butt off for this, for 10 to 12 weeks. I get blisters and soreness and chafing for this. I sweat buckets for this. I fight the wind and weather for this. I work hard for this. I remember when I struggled to run a mile, and was happy if it was under 12 minutes. That was just five years ago. How did I get to this point? One foot in front of the other, one day after the next, one mile at a time. And you could do it too.

The other reason I get frustrated is mostly out of sadness for the limiting thoughts we tell ourselves and believe. It's because every time I hear someone say, "I could never do that," I hear a young and overweight Janae who never thought herself capable of being physically fit. I don't care how old you are, how overweight you are, how out of shape you are, how injured you are, or how busy you think you are. It is never too late to make changes. YOUR BODY IS AMAZING and can do AMAZING things, if you let it and if you treat it right.

This woman inspired me big time when I read about her a long time ago. She finished a marathon at 92 years old!

This guy inspired me years ago. Try not to cry.

This guy inspired me when I saw his video just a few months ago. No really, try not to cry.

If anyone had an excuse not to go for it, not to accomplish things, these people had them. 92 years old? Disabled? Overweight? But they don't use them.

And neither do I. I am five feet tall. I have a thyroid problem. I have endometriosis. I've battled my weight for most of my life. I teach junior high all day (and it's exhausting!). I could come up with lots of reasons not to do things. But what it came down to was, I wanted to run a half marathon. I found a plan. And I did it. I believed I could, so I did.

So really? Is it that you "could never do that"? Be honest with yourself. Maybe it's just that you don't want to. Maybe it's not a priority. And that's fine. But don't put limitations on yourself. YOU are capable. You COULD do that, and you could probably do it better than me! I know it because I did it. Those people up there did it. And if we did it, so can you.

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