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Getting on my soap box

Posted Aug 28 2011 11:28pm


"Whether you think that you can or think that you can't, you're usually right." -Henry Ford

I recently read this quote on Shut Up And Run .  She wrote a great inspirational post and I have been thinking about it ever since. . .mostly because I hear this all the time: "I could never do that."  You did a triathlon?  I could never do that.  You did a half marathon?  I could never do that.  You ran around the block?  I could never do that.

The "I could never do that" statements seem to grow especially loud when my runs go over 10 miles.  I understand it because I used to be one of those people saying, "I could never do that."  I was overweight, I was sedentary, I couldn't even make it around the track once without wheezing and praying for death.  The reason I went from that to running longer distances is because of three things.  Start doing the following and you can go from saying "I could never do that" to "Do you want to see my medal?"

Desire:  I could never swim across the English Channel or climb Mt. Everest.  Monetary and ability reasons aside, I could never do it because I have absolutely no desire to do either!  Open water swimming?  Yeah not my favorite thing.  I am completely certain that I taste delicious and a whole host of sea creatures would be lining up to chomp on my gooey mid section.  I do think given the resources and training that I could physically get there but I just could never get there mentally.  And Everest?  Snow, wind, cold, frostbite, missing fingers and toes??  Have I mentioned that I grew up in Southern California?  I won't even go skiing.  So again, mentally I would never get there (not to mention that it costs a bagillion dollars and lots of people actually die doing it).

My point is that if you don't have the desire to do something you won't do it regardless of your physical abilities.  I see this a lot.  People say they want to start running or working out, but end up giving up because they don't really have the desire to do.  I think it is ok if running isn't your thing (I don't understand it because running is awesome, but I do think it is ok).  However, I do think you need to find the desire to make some sort of physical activity a part of your life.

Belief:  "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."  Am I quoting Winnie the Pooh?  Yeah, I totally am (I have little kids, what can I say?).  But I love what Christopher Robin tells Pooh.  We can do so much more than we let ourselves believe.  

I just started reading Running on Empty by Marshall Ulrich, and I am just amazed at what this dude has done.  I do think he has a natural talent for running distance, I do think he either doesn't feel pain or likes it (?), and I do think he is a kinda crazy.  But mostly I think that he has done these amazing feats because he never told himself he couldn't.


I want to run a marathon next year.  26.2 miles is really far (it seems less far since I started reading Running on Empty).  And although I am no Marshall Ulrich, I have no doubt that if I put in the time I will do it.  I am not saying that I am going to win or have a fast time, but I'll cross the finish line. . .because Christopher Robin told me I could.


Time:  Unless you are some kind of genetic freak or you are powered by the earth's yellow sun, you actually have to put in some work to go with your desire and belief.  I didn't get up one day and say, "Hmm, I think I will run 13.1 miles."  Even Marshall Ulrich didn't get up one day and say, "Hmm, I think I will run up and down Pike's Peak four times in a row."  He started with a short run that he struggled through.  I started with one lap around Pepperdine's track.  One.   

I put in the time to reach my goals.  I followed my training plans and worked hard.  It wasn't always easy but it was worth it each time I crossed the finish line.


Ok, ok, I am hopping off my soap box now!  Just don't say "I could never do that" around me or I will hop back on!!

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