I am afraid of heights.
As a child it was a big enough push for me to climb to the top of a big slide to go down it. So, you never would have caught me being the dare devil on the jungle gym or climbing up to leap out onto the "fireman's pole" and then slide down. Heck no! Roller coaster... no! Even the Farris Wheel was a no go. I let my fear debilitate me.
Then in the 5th grade I became friends with Al. Back then I was a lot shier and quieter than I am now. But similar to now, I just wasn't very cool. But, Al, she was pretty cool. She and her best friend Mal were in my class and they befriended me. And we turned our cubby holes into houses for their miniature pig stuffed animal. And we made miniature things for this pig, like magazines (because that's what you do in the 5th grade). And we played a lot of four/two square at recess. And we became friends. Then the coolest thing ever happened to me at the end of that school year. See Al and another long time friend of hers had birthdays at the end of the school year only a couple days apart. So, they celebrated them together and that year they were going to World's of Fun to celebrate and they each got to take two friends... and Al picked me! Without getting all mushy about how much that meant to that awkward, pudgy, overall wearing 5th grader... I'll just say, she was pretty darn excited.
Now if you pause and start to put the pieces together you might realize that I was still scared of heights... and heights are kind of the whole point of Amusement Parks with... Roller Coasters.
Here's the deal... Fear is a Liar. Fear says you can't do something.
But here's the cool thing. When you stop and stare fear in the face and tell it to sit down and shut up... get ready for the biggest rush!
So, I went to that birthday party at World's of Fun and the very first ride we did was... the Mamba.
(Named for one of the fastest and most feared snakes in Africa, the Mamba is one of the tallest, longest and fastest roller coasters in the world. They say it's a "state-of-the-art scream machine" whose first hill takes riders over 200 feet above the ground and flings them toward the earth at 75 miles per hour.)
It was a blast. The greatest rush. The biggest "high."
|A pic of all of us just outside of Worlds Of Fun. Pretty much amazing!|
Here's what I learned.
Tell fear to shut up.
Get in line.
And just do it.
No "Chicken Lane."
As I have gotten older I have been able to apply this to so many things.
Sign up. Get in line. Show up. Start.
I share all this because last month (I originally wrote this just after my race... I am now posting months later because I finally got my lovely throwback pics to post with... just go with it) I completed my second half marathon. It was about a year ago that I signed up for my first half marathon which I completed in April 2013 in SanFrancisco. I had to train for that run in some pretty frigid conditions but overall I really enjoyed the whole training process and felt really good going into that run. And then when it came down to the actual run, it was rough. The trip to San Fran was great. I loved the people I did it with and there were good things about the run (like running across the Golden Gate Bridge) but at the end of it I was... disappointed.
I signed up to do the KC Half Marathon for a couple reasons. One, redemption. I wanted a better run with a better time. I had learned my lessons from that first run and I wanted to do better. Two, family. I wanted my family to see me do it.
Training for this half started three months ago. And almost right away... I was not enjoying it. Running in the heat of summer was rough. That heat just sucks the energy out of you. It was hard feeling like I had lost so much of my endurance that I had built up in the spring. Before, every new long run was one mile further than I had ever run so there was a bit of a high and excitement to it... I didn't have that this time. They just felt long. And I wanted to be doing other things. When you are running this much it's difficult to work on building strength as well... and I want to get strong. I want to lift heavy things. About halfway through my training I got some new shoes and had some good runs and I was feeling rejuvenated about the whole thing... and then I had to do some traveling and it threw off my schedule a bit and then it was back to not enjoying all the running. I was getting to a point where I just couldn't stand running. Ah!
After my ten mile run I was sick for about 4 hours.
I have degenerative discs in my lower back and I was really feeling the pain.
And the night I did 12 miles my pants' waistband rubbed me raw around my entire waist and I fell at about mile 9 totally tearing up my knee. I remember in that moment thinking... I could quit this is a legitimate excuse to just stop. But...
Here's what I've learned through all this. I'm not a quitter. If I sign up, if I show up, if I start... I'm gonna finish. I may quit a thousand times in my head... but I'll battle with my flesh and I'll keep going.
|Mommy and Bubby before starting|
|Best Running Partners and Perfect Friends!|
So, after a not so glamorous three months of training I showed up on Saturday, October 19th at 6am in the freezing cold. And while there were definitely moments I thought of some great excuses to quit in my head while running... I didn't stop, I didn't walk. Rather, I had a really great run that I'm not only proud of but I enjoyed it. Like really enjoyed it. During training I was starting to think I never wanted to do another half again and as I finished I knew I'd find myself out there again. Probably not in the near future, but definitely again. (I have my eyes on that Nike half)
Why did I enjoy this half so much more than the other? Some reasons I'll never know because every run is different and sometimes you just can't predict or plan for what you'll end up facing. But this time around I had the knowledge of my previous mistakes and I relaxed the day before the race, I drank lots of water, I ate pancakes the night before. Plus, this run was in the cold so I didn't have to worry about over heating like before and the hills were nothing like San Fran (OMG). What I really think made the biggest difference was that I ran this whole thing with my friend Barbara by my side. There's something to be said for not doing something alone. Those moments when I wanted to pull back a bit she was right there for me to keep pace with. Running can definitely be a solo sport, but gosh it's so much better as a team. The feeling of crossing the finish line and having her right there to share that moment with was what the whole thing is about. We embraced each other and had a joyful cry.
|Daddy and me before the start and Dad crossing the finish line of his 5K|
I also got to think about my dad. While I was running the half he was doing his first 5K. Plus, my family was there to see me and there's just something special about that. My grandpa even went out days before the race and scouted the course for the perfect spots to see me run by. We had it all planned out where he would be so I could see him. As I approached mile 5 I knew exactly where to find him and I ran up and got a high five from him. Then on mile 9... ugh, I kind of ran past and forgot to look... oops. But still, I knew he had been there and I knew that my grandpa got to see his girl running.
|Just about done!|
Anywho, I know I'm blabbing on about the race and you're like... "I thought we were talking about fear." The point is that I didn't want to do that race. I was afraid of it. Afraid of failing. But you know what's worse than failing... not trying. Not signing up. Not showing up. Not starting.
Just do it. And if you fall on your butt, get up and do it again. Because you can.
You never grow if you're never challenged.
So, what is it? What do you want? What do you dream about?
Is it a dream job?
Is it and idea you've had on your heart for so long but you just don't know...?
We all have that something. What's yours?
Go get it!
Make some Magic.