Two weeks ago, in a moment of confusion, I chugged my pre workout, laced up my running shoes, searched for 20 minutes for my ever elusive iPhone compatible headphones and then I hit the pavement for a run.
I used to run every single day of my life.
I was on the cross country team in middle school and I realized very quickly that while I wasn’t particularly talented at sports I was fast and I had a natural endurance for distance running.
I started writing this blog with intentions of just telling the story of getting back into running last month with my random solo mid week 10k and I ended up writing 4,000 words about my journey from non-athlete child to the new girl at private school who went to basketball practice to make friends and stayed with it because of the deep love for that sense of belonging on a team. Then I went from cross country team runner to all season lacrosse athlete in high school, gym bunny and runner at University and in graduate school when I was burning the candle from both ends, I discovered Insanity, the at home workout program that serendipitously lead me into my future career as an online health & lifestyle coach. I’m still processing how this story flowed so freely out of me and how much it is all linked together. But I’ll save that for another day, I just want to tell you about this run.
6 years and 5 countries later, my running shoes have not been used much for running. Two weeks ago I laced up my running shoes. A new friend asked if I wanted to join her and some of her friends for a 10k race in May. It was March and I haven’t done any consistent long distance running in years. Sure, I have been exercising 5-6 days in that time but running is a different kind of fitness. I started to doubt my running capabilities and honestly, would make excuses why I didn’t “need to” start anything else.
Let’s just say, fitness is my constant right now. Everything feels confusing to me at the moment. The current state of life, adjusting to my new home across the pond, feeling homesick for so many different places, transitioning my side hobby-hustle of my online coaching business into my full time pursuit, deeply questioning my purpose, my passions and my most sensible form of impact and income and being a late twenty something millennial in 2019, it’s a roller coaster guys.
On this particular Wednesday morning, I laced up my running shoes, popped on Happy Hits on Spotify and I decided to was going to see if it made sense for me to sign up for this 10k. How fast could I run a 5k? Could I keep going for a 10k? When was the last time I even ran to failure?
I set out in the English spring sunshine in a long sleeve shirt and jacket. I was fumbling with my phone armband, dropped my iPhone on the cement beach path…twice, and had to restart my running tracker app 3 times before I was actually going. I contemplated turning around after the second attempt or going for a brisk stroll along the beach. My internal voice was shouting now. NO. JUST TRY IT. So I ran.
I ran and I danced in my own little bubble to the music. I ripped off my jacket pretty quickly and felt so complete and comfortable running swiftly in that sunshine. My pace was pretty good but my tracker was in kilometers and let’s face it, this American still hasn’t converted to the metric system.
Five minutes and thirty seconds per kilometer for my first three.
Maybe that was good? I wasn’t tired. I was inspired.
Running felt like going home to me which for this homesick expat, was the most comforting feeling.
When the little voice on my tracker told me I just hit 5k I knew that I wasn’t going to wait and see if I could train in time for the 10k in May, I was just going to run 10k today no matter how long it took me. Around 7k, I was smiling and laughing to myself because I considered all the time in the last couple months I’ve thought that running might be something that would feel good again. I considered all the times I said, I’m gonna go for 2 runs this week and then didn’t claiming that I didn’t want to overtrain and I wanted to focus on my new at home programs that I was following with close to 200 people in the online community I have now created based on the one my coach invited me to four years ago.
Towards the end of the run, I actually felt like I was going to cry. And then I felt like the most dramatic Gemini- emotional- millennial basic betch of all time. It’s just a run, Susie pull yourself together.
The tunes were bumping and the sunshine felt so warm on my skin. My legs started to feel a little tired but I honestly could have kept going when I heard the voice on the app announce I hit 10k (6.2 miles) in 56 minutes. I ran to the end of the beach path 10.3k and I teared up and vowed to myself that I wouldn’t let my fear of outcome keep me from taking action.
I had just completed running a 10k at a decent pace with no training and felt like I could keep going and I was worried about doing it in 3 months time. I wasn’t even going to TRY because of that fear.
I’m not telling you this because this run or time is so exceptional. I don’t need or want a pat on the back for this.
I’m telling you this because this run was so symbolic of all the ways I have consciously or subconsciously been holding myself back from living my truth and living in the fullest expression of my personal excellence. I bet you are too.
It wasn’t until I started writing this blog post that I went back further and further in my own personal journey and realized that this natural, effortless passion of mine has existed since I was 10 years old and for one circumstance or another I have pushed it to the back burner and chased similar or exciting pursuits. When I was a teennager my biggest driving factor for what I put my effort into was what my peers were doing. I am not embarrassed to admit this because it’s completely true. Socially, developmentally, psychologically it is extremely common for us to crave the acceptance of our peers as teenagers and for a lot of people this lasts their entire life.
I’m not here to preach. I’m not here to convince you to become a runner, I’m here to speak my own truth in hopes that it exposes some of yours.
I am genuinely here because the further I am from home and the deeper I get in my pursuit of a meaningful career and life, the more I realize that true fulfillment comes from way deep inside. The only way to wake us up to what we are capable of is to actually take action. It may not always be the right action but inaction breeds fear, doubt, anxiety, numbing, distraction and a whole bunch of other things you don’t want on your emotional resume.
So what’s the point? Why is this relevant to you? I talk to people around the world every single day who are interested in making a change but don’t know how to start.
This is my job to help them start but a lot of my job also consists of breaking down the self-created barriers or excuses they create to “protect” themselves from having to take action.
Time, money, knowledge, desire, motivation, support from loved ones, or my favorite… they feel so far away from their goal they might as well do nothing because they have so far to go.
All of this is bullshit.
And when you get rid of those excuses, more will spring up. Because that’s life. When we conquer one large obstacle or challenge, another one is right around the corner. Sometimes we apply the knowledge from our previous battle and sometimes we learn the same lesson again because it didn’t quite stick.
On this run and the day after this run I felt so excited and truly felt like I could conquer anything. The next day I woke up and I was so stiff I could barely get out of bed. But stubborn Susie, was on her second to last week of her six week at home fitness program, so I sweat it out for 20 minutes and then realized I had promised a friend that I would go running that evening.
Mentally I tried to justify cancelling, I tried to get out of it, even though I had just had this weird spiritual experience on my run the day before. I didn’t want to over do it. I was sore. I already did my morning workout. Excuses already started to cloud my voice of reason and wisdom I tapped into on that long 10k the day before. So, I blocked it out, went about my day, combating that feeling of not wanting to go by remembering I made that commitment to my friend. We went for a 4 mile run along the beach, chatted about her upcoming Three Peak Challenge(a famous 24 hour, 3 mountain hike in the U.K.) and I was reminded that it’s not just me who craves that challenge, it’s all of us. She didn’t know if she was prepared but signing up kicked her into gear and I’m excited to follow her journey. So that second run, it felt glorious and I almost didn’t go. Just like I almost let fear stop me from even trying to run a 10k three months from now, that I could do immediately with no further training or even a serious struggle. The only struggle was getting started.
Our greatest lessons are learned through action. But that action is not singular.
It is continual and it is ever changing.
I have known that I love running and that I am naturally good at it since I was 10 years old. So you mean, it has been an 18 year journey with varying levels of commitment, chasing shiny objects that have included running and simply allowing my interests to change in different seasons of my life. My at home workout programs are still my primary focus for fitness but running feels like something else that is just for me.
Some people hate to run. Don’t force it. My simple recipe of at home fitness, sustainable whole foods nutrition plans and community support has worked for my own health and hundreds of my personal clients and millions of people who choose our company to partner with to make a change. I refuse to disclaimer this as a shameless plug, this is a heartfelt offer to those of you seriously in need of something to get moving but don’t know where to start. Your physical health, your mind-body-soul connection, I believe is the most effective way to create positive change in your life. If you need help getting started, stop waiting and fill this out so we can talk.
Currently introducing running back into my training is not just a physical decision, it’s a decision that feels right because it serves as a constant reminder to do things you’re good at that you enjoy doing.
This is for no other profound reason but that you are good at it and you enjoy doing it.
I’m not a scientist, this is not a scientific research paper but trust me when I say this whole moving and challenging your body thing, it’s backed by science. We crave this challenge and we are built to move.
What movement speaks to you? If you retrace your steps to childhood, what were you doing? What felt easy and effortless? How were you moving? How did movement evolve in your life? Why did you stop? I challenge you to search for those answers and when you find them, take the time THAT DAY or that week to MOVE like that. Feeling stuck? Move in way that feels natural and you enjoy. Stopping living in the doubt, the I’ll start Monday’s, the I should really do that again and just fricken’ lace up your shoes and see how far you can get. I dare ya.