This morning, I was at my kickboxing class and it was a blast. From the warmup where we ran laps in the gym to the main event where I kicked and punched my bag with purpose & passion – I loved it all. I was regaling my husband about it after the class, laughing about how when we ran laps that I was sprinting and racing other people in the class – and having fun doing it. While my husband thought it was amusing but he also had another observation about my story. Namely that if, two years ago, someone had told me that I would be happily running – and racing or sprinting – as part of my class I would have told them they were nuts.
Why? Because I did not run. More to the point, I believed I could NOT run. Not more than a few feet and definitely not without major effort or pain. Hell, walking most days was difficult let alone running. When any exercise incorporated running as part of it I vetoed the exercise or class. I could not, would not run. This was my mindset. It’s what I believed and it shaped what I tried and what I believed I wasn’t capable of. What the mind believes, the body follows.
Reality? I could have probably run but with weak legs, ankles, knees and being overweight or obese I was risking injury and embarrassment. I remembered being mocked and bullied for my weight through the years and I was absolutely positive that running was out of the question for me. Power walk – maybe. Jog? No. Run? Are you crazy??!!
Back in my younger years, I played soccer and in my teens I made the all-star team so I ran back then. I have memories of me racing up the field playing left wing and scoring goal after goal. I remember having light feet and how effortlessly I could move back then. I haven’t felt that way in over twenty years – until now.
Now I run as part of every exercise class I take – it’s something I am used to and as crazy as it sound, I love it. I love that my body can run – run without my ankles throbbing, my knee hurting or me just feeling embarrased about what I look like running. When I run, jog or sprint now my legs feel strong, my body feels tight and I have confidence that I can go faster and longer than perhaps I have ever been able to. And that shit doesn’t get old – trust me. When I was limited for so long and it almost feels like I have been in a prison, being able to race and run with ease is awesome and exhilerating every time. Every. Damn. Time.
Do I hurt after workouts? Sure. That is normal – and its because I am redefining my body and building lean muscle. I am strengthening my body and that doesn’t happen without discomfort. It’s NOT the same as not being able to do things because your body is physically limited – that is a whole other type of impediment and pain altogether.
So this leads me to the main point. What holds us back? 99% of the time its what we believe about ourselves. It might not even be right. But it’s what we believe. Our minds are powerful things and when we believe something, it becomes fact. And it shapes our universe. It shapes what choices we make, what opportunities we explore and are open to – it shapes everything.
But things change and beliefs should be re-examined and challenged. Especially when you change because what may have been true before isn’t necessarily true now. We can do more than we think – its only our minds that box us in and tell us we can’t. Try saying you CAN do something. Say it over and over to yourself – then go out and try it. Maybe its running, maybe its something else but challenge yourself to at least try. You never know where it will take you and the impact it might have on your life.
For me, I have challenged myself alot over the last year and a half. Of the things that I thought I couldn’t do before, I can now say with confidence that I CAN run and it’s a beautiful thing.