“You’re not going to do that”

Ok peeps. I have some things to say. They are all tumbling through my head and may come out disjointed, but whatever – hopefully they’ll lead to some kind of conclusion worth sharing.

Oh, before I start – a tip! My nutritionist recommended journaling to help me manage all the swirling s#i% in my head, and it’s been super helpful. It keeps me from writing it here, then trying to make the posts less angry/biased, then editing them to toothless nothing, then banishing them to the purgatory of “draft” status. I highly recommend the online journaling thing. I’m using Penzu, FWIW.

Anyway, back to the cascade of thoughts that I want to share with you. I am feeling a little fired up, for a variety of reasons. I will spare you the political reasons, and instead focus on the personal.

First, I just got back from doing kind of a cool thing – I ran a “fast mile”. This was part of a weekly training challenge that my running group puts on. It’s called “Pack Week” – our group is called Pack Training – and no, it has nothing to do with backpacks. It’s a running group.

Side note – “run” is a relative term in my world. Most of what I do is intervals – run/walk, run/walk, etc. But despite the fact that I’m slow and don’t do the long distances of my fellow Pack members, I have joined the team for 3 “seasons” now, and have come to value the structure of the group, and of course, the super nice people – even if they are all obsessed with long mileage in a way that makes ZERO sense to me. πŸ™‚

The “fast mile” was day two of Pack Week – and our challenge was to, simply, run our fastest mile. For those who regularly run many miles at a fast pace this challenge may seem “fun.” After all – running a mile isn’t that hard for those people; they usually run a bunch of them at their speedy pace, and spend their time thinking (I assume) about form and cadence and whatnot. For runners like me, who struggle to finish a mile in 13:30, and spend that time thinking about a) just breathing and b) trying not to die, a fast mile is more challenging. The recommended “warmup” of 1.5 miles is hard enough – and then, to run “fast” after that? Yikes.

I knew I wasn’t going to be fast, but I was really looking forward to this challenge for some unfathomable reason. Even in the rain. So, I headed out. I did my best to warm up as instructed without tiring myself out, and I have to admit, my legs felt pretty good. Then, I started my “fast” run.

I ran straight through for a quarter mile, which is unusual for me. I was on a 12 minute mile pace. That’s much faster than I normally do, so that became my goal. Turns out I couldn’t quite sustain it, so I had to take a walk break occasionally, and then I had to race myself at the end – I might have yelled “come on!” as I sprinted through the last five seconds and .01 – but by gosh, I finished at EXACTLY 12 minutes.

That’s likely one of the slower times in the Pack.

But here’s the thing – I really don’t give a damn about that. I mean, I’ll use it to poke fun at myself, but the bottom line is that I’m proud of myself for running a whole two minutes faster than I normally do. It was HARD, it sucked mightily in the moment, and yes, I gasped for air like a landed fish when it was over. But I was out there, in the rain, getting it done…and the only goal I needed to worry about was my own. Running a 7 minute mile is beyond my capability, but running a 12 minute mile isn’t. So…that’s what I did.

Two nights ago, I was chatting with my dad, and mentioned that I plan to, someday, hike into and out of the Grand Canyon. My dad looked at me like I was crazy. “Nah,” he said skeptically. “You’re not going to do that.”

I’m not sure if he meant “You aren’t capable of doing that” or “I’d rather you not do that”, but regardless…it was clear he doubted me. Either that or the idea of someone actually wanting to hike a mile down into a canyon, and then back out, seemed a little nutso. On that point, he’s not entirely wrong.

But in all seriousness, 10 years ago, such doubt would have crushed me. It’s a testament to how far I’ve come that I took it as a challenge, and tried to explain to him that yes, indeed, I can do that, and that I most definitely will, someday. Perhaps not tomorrow, and certainly not before training, but I will. It’s a goal that is entirely within my reach…and I might not have believed that 10 years ago, either. But now I do.

My dad remained skeptical, but eventually said “well, make sure you tell me when you go so I can take out some life insurance on you.”

Other people have written, better than I can, about overcoming challenges, and about how our greatest enemy is often ourselves. You might be tempted to cast my dad as a bad guy in the story I just told, but I don’t see it that way. He has an opinion, and I happen to know it’s not a correct one (Sorry, Dad!). πŸ™‚ So there’s no reason to let it bother me. Our greatest enemy may be our own reaction to someone doubting us – how do we respond when they express skepticism?

I can’t help think that a simple answer may be the most appropriate.

I think the best answer might be…just watch me.

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