Before I left my job at Multnomah I had the opportunity to look in my personnel file. I noticed that one of my previous employers, when called upon as a reference, had described me as "surprisingly tenacious". That caught me off guard and made me laugh. I don't think anyone who knows me would immediately describe me as tenacious, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that might have been very perceptive of that employer.
I don't like to be told I can't do something (without a really good reason). I don't like to be controlled by fear. If I discover I won't do something just because I'm afraid, a lot of times, that's it, I MUST do it. Once I get an idea in my head and the only obstacle is my own fear or weakness, it can drive me crazy. Moving to Oregon was a good example of this - I knew it would be painful, uncomfortable, and difficult, but I just could not let those reasons stop me. And I'm glad I didn't.
Maybe it's because I spent many years as a shy child and teenager, maybe it's because I've always had an extremely high tendency to be afraid, I don't know exactly why, but the older I get the more driven I feel to not let my fears stop me.
For the last 5 years or so the subject that has been causing me much frustration is running. I absolutely hate it that I "can't" run. I've never been able to. I've always hated it and avoided it if at all possible. I come from a family of non-runners. They all seem to be completely fine with their non-running lifestyles. But it drives me crazy.
And I don't think it's that I haven't accepted myself. I'm not an athletic person and I accept that completely. Athletic activities that take coordination and skill, like skiing for example, I don't like, I'm not good at, and I completely accept that and am fine with it. But running? That doesn't take skill. If you can move your legs, you can run. I can run. I know how to. I just lack the endurance to run more than maybe, if I'm lucky, 1/4 mile.
So, so, so, I have tentatively....no, tenaciously decided that I am going to give myself the next 1-1.5 years to learn how to run. In very small baby steps, like 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1 mile, etc. Eventually I would like to build up to being able to run a 5K. And then...gulp.....eventually, someday, in 2012 or 2013 or 20never, I would like to run a HALF marathon. Not a full marathon. Never. Just a HALF. 13.1 agonizing miles. Just kidding.
It's not like I want to be "a runner". I'm not naive enough to think I will be a runner for the rest of my life. I don't think I'm cut out for that. I mean, who knows, maybe I will become a lifelong runner. But my GOAL is to run a half marathon. And then I won't care if I ever run again. Because then, for the rest of my life, I can not run in peace. Because anytime I think about the fact that I don't run, I will just think, "yeah but one time I ran a half marathon!"
So, how's it going so far? Well, I am beginning slowly, with a conditioning program before I start "training". Oh, that just made me laugh. But yes, this week I have been alternately walking and running for 15-20 minutes at a time. Obviously I can walk for much longer than that, but I'm trying to run as much of it as I can and I'm trying to stick to the conditioning program.
I know some of you (well I'm really thinking of one particular person) may scoff at my plan (and with good reason :), but we'll see who's scoffing when I cross that finish line. =)