Yesterday I showed up at the start line of the Labor Day half marathon (which they added this year, in addition to the famous 20k race) in New Haven. This may seem like an unremarkable way to start out a blogpost – ‘so, she showed up to a race, BFD.’ Actually, that’s the punch line – I showed up. One of the things I tell my kids so annoyingly frequently that I almost feel bad reiterating it (but I still do), is that the hardest part is showing up. I don’t care who you are, if you’re super motivated, or competitive, or wealthy, or smart, or gifted or famous or whatever – showing up is never a given - and it's the first and key part of succeeding.
I registered for yesterday’s race a few days before we went to Europe for a 2 week adventure through 4 countries. Loathe to impose on my family during vacation by sticking to training plans, I figured that if I signed up for this race, it would justify my running habit while we were away, and I could squeeze in runs in exotic locales – and force myself to do so in spite of the hesitation I always feel when venturing in new territory (not just in running).
So, basically, I was pretty under-trained for this race. I hadn’t followed a training plan at all, had run a few 5 milers while away and hadn’t had a long run in a few months other than a 9 miler at some point. On top of it, I had been really tired for a couple days as a week of inadequate sleep caught up with me (this week’s goal: in bed by 9:45pm, lights out by 10:30pm!). I felt like I was fighting a bug. I had a toothache – or was it my gum? Sunday, the day before the race, I stayed in PJ’s until 2pm and chugged my immunity-boosting supplements.
I had really valid excuses now to not show up: “I haven’t adequately trained for this” and “If I was a guy I’d be a step ahead of a Man Cold.”
And then I thought, I think this falls into my category of Limiting Beliefs. See, when I find myself engaging in the national sport of Making Excuses, I usually try to stop in my tracks and ask myself this question: IS IT TRUE?
So, I looked at my first excuse: I haven’t adequately trained for this. Is this true? Well, it is true that I haven’t followed any kind of running plan. But if I really think about it, do I need to follow one? At this point, I have run I don’t know how many half marathons. So then, my Cautious Part says, yeah, but your last one was in the spring. That was a long time ago. So, the Jillian Michaels Part says, yeah, but you’re an experienced runner, you are always maintaining your conditioning, and you’re not aiming for any particular time, so you can totally do this – quit making excuses!
So then, I looked at my second excuse: I’m not feeling great. Is this true? Well, yeah, I don’t feel that great. But I bet if I run for a bit, with the flow of adrenaline and the detoxing through sweat, I’ll feel better. I’ll just take some more supplements before I run, and make sure I drink lots of water during and after. I bet I can convince my body that it’s not under the weather, especially if I focus on how great it feels to run and to be cheered on by strangers.
So, I decided that it wasn’t true that I needed to stay in bed and spend the day wondering what the race would have been like. I wasn’t even meeting anyone at the race, I was running alone. But I knew that if I let myself be convinced by limiting beliefs, I would regret my choices. After all, my nickname in high school was Tortuga (Turtle) because I was so incredibly slow on the track team. At some point I revisited the sport of running, proving that “I am turtle-slow” was a lie, as substantiated by my dozens of medals and trophies. I got every single one of those because I showed up. I don’t get medals for believing lies. I get medals for questioning and challenging my limiting beliefs, and showing up to create my own truth.
Yesterday, I showed up. I ran. And, I finished 7th in my age group.
So now it’s your turn. What are your limiting beliefs? What lies are you telling yourself that are cheating you out of what you really are capable of doing and being? Here are some examples:
Make your own list. And then for each item, ask yourself – Is it true? And really dig deep – pretend you’re a kid and ask follow-up questions – says who? Prove it! Because I, for one, think it's a crock of sh*t and you need to let it go. If you don't believe me, scroll back up to that picture of my bling. It's not even all of it - I have glasses and towels and more plaques. Turtles do not win bling.
And then, if you decide to change your story and live your truth – just show up. Let the magic happen.
Motivational coach, athlete, mom, entrepreneur. I love helping people mindfully reboot their health & joy.