To See or Not to See

Posted on January 27, 2012. Filed under: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I first took up running 11 years ago when I lived in Guam.  Looking back, I can see all the good reasons why I began.  At the time, however, it all boiled down to one thing:  spite.   I set out to run with the specific intension of showing “them” that I could.

Ah, the nebulous “them.”  All those people, circumstances, events, voices that conspire to tell us we’re not enough of one kind of person—or  too much of another—to make it even a mile down the road, much less run a race.  We all know “them,” whether they show up in our running or camp out on some other doorstep in our head.

Spite might get you going, but it sends you down the road alone.  At least it did me.  Because I initially set myself apart from other runners, I spent a lot of time not only physically uncomfortable but downright miserable.  I didn’t know, for instance, that companies actually make clothing specifically designed to keep runners cool, so I ran for months in heavy cotton t-shirts, losing more weight in sweat than in anything else.  It’s always the little things that make such a big difference.  It wasn’t until I was ready to receive the knowledge and friendship of other runners that I found that running could actually be comfortable, and even fun.  Up until then, I kinda hated it.

Once I opened myself up, I received all kinds of great things.  Practical advice.  Training tips.  Cool new routes to run.   New friends.  All these things made me a better runner, but they did something more.  They smothered the voices of “them.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “People only see what they are prepared to see.”  Certainly, I had to be prepared to receive other runners, but I also had to be ready to let go of “them” and hold onto me.  I had to believe in myself.  I had to alter my vision of myself in order to really, truly believe that I could accomplish my goals.  I had to prepare my mind to see me differently.

Fortunately, and, ironically, through running, I eventually learned to send “them” packing off down the road and to leave me alone.  But I’m not really alone anymore.  I belong to a community of runners.  And I know that I can run—I’ve seen it for myself.

What are you preparing yourself to see?


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