I never really had hobbies growing up… unless you count daydreaming. I was really good at that!
During school, I was far from athletic. Although I dabbled here and there in a few sports, I never committed for too long.
Then there was the time I decided to join band and picked up the trumpet. I immediately put it back down because there was NO WAY I was going to a band festival and playing in front of people.
I have no regrets about not continuing in sports- I would not have gone pro or received a scholarship (not being negative- just being a realist)… Sometimes I wish I had stuck with band but maybe gone with the piano or something more useful. If you are a party and there is a piano in the corner you can always sit down and start playing- you are sure to instantly have an audience and probably a few admirers. Although the trumpet is a powerful, amazing instrument, there has never been a scene in a Hallmark movie where a dude starts playing Christmas Carols on the trumpet and gets the girl. Anyway…
So here I am in my thirties…
It’s not that I don’t have interests… I LOVE to read (if you follow my IG you know this) and I love spending time at my favorite animal rescue, and I like to hang out. Hanging out with friends is a hobby… right? But I didn’t have that one hobby that pushes me or challenges me… I look at Facebook and I have friends who do photography, some love to cook and post pics of their creations, even my sister-in-law has her own page of murals she is commissioned to paint. Among other things, I have some friends who ALWAYS post about their morning run… who actually likes to RUN?
I’m over here on Facebook like… Hey, look at my dog! Here’s ANOTHER picture!
Well… physical exercise is certainly not my thing, neither is sweating. I am perfectly happy with a few extra pounds and an extra hour in my day that I am not freakin’ miserable because I’m at the gym. Then things changed. I have this friend named Ed. Well, he’s actually one of my husband’s best friends. Last year, Ed started hassling me to run with him in the morning. I get up early anyway so I could hitch a ride with him to the running trail near where we live. I think I agreed to it after a couple of glasses of wine, and here I found myself one morning at 7am in a pair of old tennis shoes and yoga pants attempting to run.
Let’s rewind life back to 5th grade when we had one of those walk-a-thons to raise money for our school… one of the overachieving boys actually RAN the walk-a-thon which was probably a mile. I remember him being sweaty and red, and out of breath but RUNNING. I tried for a second and almost died from a lung explosion and really never tried again… lungs can explode, right?
Returning to 7am and my running attempt, It was a disaster. Ed ran with me for as far as I could which ended up being not even 1/8 of a mile. Hell, it probably was only the length of a grocery store aisle. Then we walked a quarter-mile… and repeat.
We did this the next day.
And then the next.
After a month I actually ran a FULL MILE! Can you believe it? ME? The girl who would make fun of people who would go to the gym!
I immediately texted my husband who could not believe it either.
I know that NO ONE wants to hear a running story so I will spare you all the details of the rest of the year, but, to sum it up, with Ed’s coaching and motivation I actually conquered the full 3 mile trail. I did it without dying and without vomiting or my lungs exploding, Now I am running as many days as I can, also allowing myself plenty of lazy days. I mostly run alone now; I have found it to be an amazing time to think and for some reason, I get a lot of creative thoughts when I do. It’s an oxymoron, but running can be relaxing.
Last month, Ed, decided that I must do our city’s 10k with him. WHAT? The furthest distance I have ever run was 6 miles and it only happened once. How can I possibly run a 10k? The truth is I can’t at least not this time. So I said no.
He dropped my running number off at my house.
I said no.
He texted me that he would pick me up the day of the race at 8am.
I said no.
He said we would get a beer afterwards, maybe nachos.
I said, I’ll meet you out front at 8am.
We decide to run some and walk some but focus on having fun.
The day did not disappoint- we had FUN. A 10k, for those who don’t know, is 6.2 miles. It was a REALLY hot day (upper 80’s), not a cloud in the sky, and there were massive hills (totally had to walk up the hills!). But you know, that’s not the point- the point is, I signed up, I showed up, and dammit- I was going to get that t-shirt at the end!
We had so many laughs during the race … laughing at ourselves, laughing at others. Then somewhere in the final mile, Ed and I were running around this curve in the road (did I mention the race was downtown and on closed streets?), I felt someone slip their arm around my shoulder. Um, weird. I knew I must know this person- I look to my left and there is my husband! “Hi baby!” he says, you know, like running down the street in his dress shoes, and sweating in his suit were completely normal things to do!
I was in complete shock!
He had left work, jumped on the train, got off near 10th Street (he informed Ed of his plans) and wanted surprise me by being on the sidelines- waving and cheering us on when we passed. Of course he didn’t see us until we were actively running by so he had to JUMP INTO THE STREET AND JOIN THE RACE! Let me tell you, he doesn’t run. At all. But here he was… running through the street to catch up with me to tell me how proud he was of me.
I could have cried. I didn’t because we would have been run over by the stampede and I’m not really a crier. But in that moment, the past year was all worth it. My husband was proud of me. I was never looking for the approval of others but I realized that probably for the first time in my life… I was proud of me too.
I’m not saying that I have never achieved a goal, just that this was DIFFERENT. This was the first accomplishment where my success was completely dependent on me and my actions. Although Ed was instrumental in coaching and motivating me, ultimately It was something I had to achieve on my own. No one else could do this for me. No one can promote you to runner… there are not graduations and no degree. I went from getting winded after a 1/4 mile jog to running 6 miles barely breaking a sweat. It’s amazing what our bodies can do!
It changed the way I think.
I now look at challenges differently… If something looks impossible or out of reach I think: “Yeah, I could do that.”
This is not something that is exclusive to my abilities or lack thereof… This is something YOU are capable of! It might not be running, but if there is something that you are wanting to accomplish that seems impossible… Give a try!
Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and you may just surprise yourself!