When I began running I had no idea how it would change me. I started running to get into shape, be more fit, and live a healthier lifestyle. I never understood all the other things it would give me until some time and miles later. Running would not only physically change me, it would also become a metaphor for many things in life. Today I do my best to apply many of the lessons I have learned from running into each day. Today I will share them with you.
1- Always Believe You Can: It is amazing to me what one can do when you apply this mantra. There was a time that running a mile was difficult. Running five miles became a monumental milestone. Completing my first Half Marathon was epic to me. I would have never reached any of these goals without the belief that I could do it. I knew it would be difficult, I knew it would take dedication, discipline and devotion. Everything in life requires these things. I truly believe we are capable of so much. Each one of us can reach our goals as long as we believe that we can. It starts within us before it can be a part of us.
2- Set Goals and Chase Your Dreams: I find that when I set running goals for myself I push myself to limits I may not have if those goals were not set. Those goals give me something to fight for. They give me the drive I need to push on when I want to stop. It is the same for myself and my family. I have aspirations, dreams and goals I want to complete. It is also important that my children see me set goals. I want them to dream big, create their own goals, and pursue whatever it is their hearts yearn for. Because remember, you can do anything you put your mind to if you want it bad enough!
3- Be Realistic: It is important in setting your goals that you set ones that are attainable. After years of running I have come to know what my body is capable of. In that same sentiment I also know what I am not able to do or what may require more patience. One of the hardest things in any sport and in life is facing disappointment. We want to perform the best we can. We want to do and be better than we are. Absolutely nothing is wrong with wanting more. There is nothing wrong with striving to be a better you and creating a life that exemplifies this. First, stop for a second and think about this: Is what you want for your life reasonable? Be honest, stay true to yourself and always be realistic.
4- Have Patience With Yourself: Patience is not always my strong suit. This is something I continue to struggle with on a daily basis. Running has proved to me that as long as you make a commitment, put in the time, and be patient that it all becomes worth it. When I first started running I didn't step outside my door and run ten miles. I had to take my time and slowly increase my mileage. I still remembered running two miles and the feeling I had when I completed it. The first time I hit six miles was a milestone for me, as was miles 7,8, and 9. I try my best to apply this patience in my own life, with my children, in my relationship and in my own personal battles. We have to take time to stop in moments. We need to realize that anything worth fighting for does not happen overnight. Stop, breathe life in, and be patient with yourself.
5- It's not always easy but it is always worth it: Saturday morning I did a long run and it was amazing. Sunday morning I woke up, felt great, got out there and had a shitty run. Each step I took felt heavy, the first mile felt like five, and I wanted to quit much sooner than I actually did. I wanted to, but I didn't. Instead I pushed myself to a mental goal. When I set out to do any run I have a mile goal in my head that I want to reach. No matter how the run turns out, I am going to reach that goal. I love running, running has become an outlet for me. I may love running, but not every run is easy. The end result, every run is worth it. No matter what life throws at you, however beautiful or sad, it happens for a reason. Though some moments are more challenging than others it is always worth it when you reach your goal. It is worth financial struggle, personal growth and those relationships that we live in. Life is not always easy, but it is one hell of a ride. Hold on tight, it's worth it!
6- Be Grateful: Running is a humbling sport. There is never a run that I have where I don't take time to thank God for being able to use my legs. Running has taught me, it has healed me, it has given me strength. I am grateful for each run. I am thankful that I am able to use my legs. I am thankful for my life, my children, my husband and family. I am thankful that I can breathe. I am grateful. We must always take moments to offer thanks and be grateful for everything we are given. When you think you have it bad just stop and remember that there is someone else who is hurting more than you. Each day be grateful!
7- Have Fun: Last, but certainly not the least valid: HAVE FUN! Enjoy what you are doing. Dance, laugh, sing, jump, run, walk and skip. Do one of these, do all of these, just do it with a smile on your face. Life is too short, it is a sacred gift. We are fortunate to be here and it is our job to live it as if each moment were our last. So no matter what you are doing try and do it with a smile. Find fun in every day even when it is the darkest of days. Look around you, it truly is wonderful to be alive.
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