In past few months, I’ve changed. A lot. The changes aren’t necessarily physical. The number on the scale hasn’t changed much, if at all, in months. The changes are in my thinking.
Lately, I’ve been contemplating things I never imagined I would even think about. Sky Diving? Maybe some day. Rock climing? When I’ve built up my upper body strength. A half marathon? Sure!
I believe completing Warrior Dash was a catalyst for my new way of thinking. I felt strong, empowered and even more awesome after not only completing Warrior Dash, but thinking it was much easier than I expected…well, except that wicked hike up the ski hill at the beginning.
I’ve been itching to try some new things since July but can’t seem to bring myself to doing them. I tell myself it’s because I can’t afford to, but in reality I’m scared. I’m one of those people who hate not naturally being good at something new, yet I’m never good at anything right away.
My first horseback riding lesson was terrifying. I had ridden horses before and felt fairly comfortable around them, but just the act of going into the pasture, finding and haltering a strange horse was scary. My rides had always been with my uncles, who took care of all the work. I was timid, quiet and shy. Now, working with horses feels so easy and natural. I have to remind myself that it wasn’t always this way.
Driving a car scared the hell out of me; so much so that I didn’t get my license until four months before my 17th birthday. I put it off as much as I could, making excuses as to why I hadn’t gotten my license. The driving instructor’s schedule was too full, we couldn’t afford it, the available times didn’t work with my family’s schedule, etc. Of course, once I actually got my license and could drive without someone else in the car, comfort sunk in and I loved driving.
Running my first 5k was nerve-wracking. I was so unsure of myself. I didn’t know how the registration tables worked, where to put my timing chip, whether I’d be the last across the finish line or if I’d be able to finish at all. My stomach was in knots and not knowing anyone there made it worse. Would all of these runners be judging my speed, form and gear? Would they laugh because I was not as thin as they were? Finishing that race was one of the most memorable moments in my life. I cried not only because I accomplished something I never thought I’d do, but because I realized that I wasn’t last and no one was laughing. Instead, they were giving words of congratulations and encouragement and they didn’t even know I had just completed my first race. All that mattered was that I was a fellow runner who completed the course on a brisk January morning.
It’s the moments that scare us the most that make us grow the most. How we handle the nerves, stress and doubt are what define us. When we pull through and complete the task at hand, these are the moments that give us the most joy and pride. Thinking back on these moments give us the strength and courage to move onto the next terrifying moment.
My past experiences are what I will draw on for the courage to branch out and meet new people who share my relatively new fitness interests. They are the moments I will remember to help combat the nerves and fear this week when I attend a running club Meetup on Thursday and a hiking Meetup on Sunday.