Monday, September 10, 2012

Confidence begins with your first long run...sort of.

Do you see this beautiful, goofy girl? That is my 14 year old niece. On Saturday we ran her first long run in her training schedule for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon which will be this coming January. Do you see that smile? That was right before we began. Now look at that smile again. It was there when the three mile run was finished.

The last time she ran that far was in the Expedition Everest Challenge 5K back in May. So you can easily imagine the struggle this run was for her. She was a complete and total trooper. I did the majority of the whining. My calves were still screaming from the dehydrated run last Monday followed by Insanity the next day. NEVER DO THAT! You will want to die. I continued to train the rest of the week but I was still paying for it on my run with her. You may be asking yourself at this point why I am somewhat rambling.

Proud of my niece syndrome? Maybe. Couldn't think of anything else to blog about? Not really. I am writing about her because every time I run with her I am amazed at the strength of character she has yet to realize she possesses. Of course I do my best to booster what I can. However, I think it is the confidence she gains when she runs farther than she thought she could. Or when she willingly gets on a treadmill to do her 30 minute training runs even though she hates treadmills with a passion. I believe this is something we all possess and forget about at times.

All runners out there sometimes question their own abilities. Or how far they can push themselves. Or even their own worth in the eyes of their fellow runners. How many of us have felt defeated when someone passes us that we thought would never be able to do so? And why do we even think those thoughts? In the end aren't we really just competing against ourselves?

Yes, some of us run a race to win. Some of us run to get a personal record. Some of us run for a cause. Some of us run for the shiny bling that will be placed around our neck when we cross the finish line. Some of us --like me-- run in a race to see not only what we are made of but just to enjoy being with other insane people who love the carnival of it all. I love my fellow nutty runners who dress up. I love the volunteers who cheer me on or the other runners who pass me while saying "Keep going!". I absolutely love the Disney characters waving and dancing as I pass by. I admit I love the bling as well. But I also love watching as someone --like my niece-- gains and strengthens her or his own self worth by doing what once was the "impossible".

I want to remember to be like my niece. I want to remember to always start and end each run with a smile. Because after all, didn't I just do something I thought I would never be able to do unless I was being chased by an ax murderer? I actually ran for the joy of accomplishing the "impossible". I ran because I wanted to find out what I was made of and accidentally found the fun in running. I am now a runner (albeit a very slow one) but a runner nonetheless. If you are reading this and shaking your head in agreement then you are too. So, let's remember to enjoy it and be like my niece...always try to finish with a smile. And maybe remember to yell "Keep going!" so others will finish with a smile too.

Happy running!