I’m a new runner. By new, I mean I’ve been at it for about 3 months. I’ve gone through running phases in the past, so it’s not like I’ve never done it before, but this time it’s sticking. I know some of you hate me right now and I get it. Really. Because I’ve always sort of hated people who were runners. Like it was this secret club of these virtuous super heroes that had the mental and physical toughness it takes to knock off a few miles. But really, all it took was a decision. That’s it. There was no thunder and lightning, no voice of God, no waking up and suddenly feeling like it was in me. I just decided to do it. And then I did.
Now don’t get me wrong. It’s hard. It does take mental and physical toughness. It does take discipline. And despite the cliché that says the first step is always the hardest, it’s not. Are you kidding? I still feel like a rock star at the first step. What’s hardest for me is the first mile. The whole first mile I’m thinking, “This is kind of sucky. My legs hurt already. How could my legs hurt already? I’m still on my street. I can’t do this today. Maybe I should just stop right now and walk. People are still sleeping and I could be too.” But call it pride, or stubbornness (or wanting to eat something fabulous later), but something suddenly starts to kick in and I keep going. I find my groove. My breathing evens out and I’m soaring.
Okay. Soaring is dramatic. And truthfully, I can’t really say if I’ve ever experienced “Runner’s High”. Runner’s Hell? Yes. Been there. Many times. But man, when I finish a run, I could cry. And admittedly, the first time I finished 5 miles, I did cry. I was just so stinking proud of myself. Because I don’t see myself as a runner. But I am a runner now. And the only thing it took to become one was to run. And I did it. And I’m still doing it. For me, it’s a reason to celebrate.
I hope you’re starting to catch a little of what I’m getting at. It’s not about the running. Well, it is for me. But what is it for you? What is it for you that feels just out of reach? Like you want it, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s ever really going to happen? Well let me tell you, it won’t happen by magic. It will happen when you decide you want it to. When you make a decision. When you take the first step and then stick it out for the first mile and then some. A year ago I only wanted a blog. But I’m not an author. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I like to write. So do a lot of people. But one day it clicked– If there are millions of blogs out there, why can’t one of them be mine? Why couldn’t I have one too? The answer was, I could. As soon as I decided to write one. That’s the day I got one.
Sure, the bigger picture is humbling. I may never run a marathon or publish a book. But this year on Thanksgiving morning I’ll be running my first 5-mile race through the streets of Buffalo, getting me one step closer. And every time I decide to write a blog post or make notes for my “someday book”, I’m choosing my future. The only person responsible for your life is you. Go do something about it.