i’m alive and well; my race to robie creek
I grew up always believing anything was possible. That if I set my mind to do something, anything, I could do it. I don’t remember specifically being taught that, I just believed it. I knew there’s an element of luck and good genetic coding but for the most part, I believed that if someone REALLY wanted to travel to the moon and worked hard to get there, they would. I didn’t want to go to the moon and so I never did. But there were a lot of things in life that I wanted to do and knew I needed to work hard to do them and if I wanted it bad enough I could accomplish ANYTHING!
What comes to the forefront of my mind is getting my bachelor’s degree. I enlisted in the Air Force straight out of High School, everyone in my family is a college graduate and beyond, so all I could see beyond my military service was college. I fell in love my final year in the Air Force, got engaged and moved to England to be with Nick when I separated. My plan of attending a stateside university fell by the wayside but I found a way to start on my education regardless. The Air Force base Nick was assigned to offered entry level college classes and I had the G.I. Bill so I started there. I had no transportation so I rode the bus from Cambridge England to the town of Lakenheath. The base was about 3 miles from the town and because I was not able to bring my bike on the bus I carried my roller-blades and fearlessly took to the narrow, rocky, English roads with my books strapped to my back. I did this nearly the entire two years we were stationed there.
When we left England I had obtained my Associate Degree. We moved to Clayton where I piecemealed the remainder of my Bachelors of Science together by attending classes on the base in Goldsboro, at the North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina. Thankfully at that time I had a car! I did this all while working full time at Duke University Medical Center in the Brain Tumor Center. Looking back I am so proud of myself. I did it! It wasn’t easy and I worked really hard and I never once thought of quitting.
Fast forward 10 years…okay, 15 and somewhere along the way I’ve noticed that I’ve lost that spirit. I’ve started second guessing myself, telling myself “I can’t” “I’m too old” “My hormones…oh those pesky hormones are keeping me from obtaining my goals.” Something happened, my compass fell out of whack or maybe I’ve experienced more failures than successes or maybe I have just been focusing too much on my failures. I don’t know what happened but at the age of 42 I felt lost. I’ve been experiencing an identity crisis like I’ve never experienced before. Each morning I’d sit down to write out my goals and I’d draw a blank. The only ones I can ever come up with are to lose ten pounds and pay off our credit card. Neither has budged. So finally I decided I needed to do SOMETHING, find a goal any goal, just one and go after it. I knew it need to be something more tangible than losing 10 pounds, something I could mark on my calendar, something hard. So I signed up to run The Race to Robie Creek.
And I did it. I trained for it and I ran it. I used to tell myself I couldn’t run without a running partner but I can. I used to tell myself I couldn’t run in the heat, but I did. I used to tell myself I was too scared to run in the foothills alone but I’m not. I used to tell myself that my running days are over but they’re back. Something happened during my training, I started proving to myself that I can and I started realizing all of the negative things I say to myself all day, every day. You would not believe the lies I tell myself, not just when it comes to fitness, but in all things. I’d tell myself I am a bad mom and a crappy photographer. I’d tell myself that I am boring and a poor conversationalist. I’d tell myself that I’m ugly and fat and unworthy to be seen. I’d tell myself that my face is wrinkly and old and tired looking. I would tell myself that I’m not smart or the least bit sexy. I still tell myself I’m not sexy, maybe, eventually, my inner tigress will emerge, who knows? The point I am trying to make is that the things we tell ourselves we start to believe and then we begin to let them play out so that we can prove them and this can go either way. We can tell ourselves we’re ugly and start to believe it and soon it will become a reality or we can tell ourselves we’re beautiful and that will prove to be true as well. Tell yourself you’re strong and you will be. Tell yourself you can…always, no matter what.
One more thing, on your way to doing amazing things, never underestimate the power of great music. This one saw me through mile 6. It’s not really a running song but it was exactly what I needed as I climbed that hill, one foot in front of the other…http://youtu.be/WLgLfD3wElQ