I’m a little nervous sharing this post with you guys, nervous and excited at the same time which is telling me it’s probably a good move. This post will be the first in a series of posts about first experiences and what it means to be a complete beginner at something. What it honestly looks like to be petrified, to stumble, get frustrated and yet still persist (or give up sometimes). I want to share these stories with you because I figured I surely couldn’t be the only one who struggles with being paralyzed by the fear of failure. Its easy to get lost in that feeling that doesn’t allow us to be beginners because we often use people who are way ahead of us as our inspiration. Which is great, yet very hard to relate to when you are just starting out.
So today I want to kick of the series with a post on how my running journey started.
A couple of weeks ago I ran a 10k in well under the hour and to tell you the truth its something I never imagined I’d do. I used to hate running. It made me angry, frustrated, and I definitely did not see the point of running unless it was to catch the bus or train. I hated how it made me feel because it made me feel weak (and gross) and I couldn’t imagine people doing this for fun. After college, and years of not dancing anymore, I started going to the gym as an attempt to get fit again. I decided to do a little run on the treadmill as an “easy” warm up, however, after a mere 500 meters I was dead and about to give up, I kid you not. I counted every step and pushed through to the 1km mark and gave in to the voice in my head that really wanted to stop being uncomfortable.
I felt quite embarrassed and couldn’t believe I was that unfit and determined that day that I was going to run 5k one day. The problem was, I was too scared to run outside. I didn’t want people to see me struggle nor did I feel comfortable “pretending to be a runner” because in my mind I surely wasn’t. I decided to just go to the gym at odd times when hardly anyone would be there and use the warm up as an excuse to increase the distance in teeny tiny increments. This process was so slow you guys and it took a LOT of self-talk to get through those short but painful workouts. I counted down meters, I counted steps, I listened to music and tried to distract myself with whatever was on the television hanging in front of me (which was either something along the lines of say yes to the dress or motor races depending on who was working that day haha!). I did this for weeks and not once run outside. I honestly don’t know what kept me going, I think it was sheer stubbornness. The main thing I learned from this was that physically my body could endure a LOT more than my mind actually could. My legs were fine, the thoughts and discomfort in my mind was not. Looking back I can see that it was the main thing that needed work.
Fast forward to the moment I ran 6,5km on the treadmill and figured that I was time to run outside. Not having something stabilizing your pace and the uneven ground made it quite the struggle but I still remember it being an autumn day and the air was nice and crisp and yes I was avoiding looking into the eyes of the passers-by but BOY was this better than running in a gym. I ditched the gym and started running outside until I finally managed to run the 5k on my own without stopping. And guess what, I smiled at all the people I came across on the road!
Now I’m happy to say that this is not where my running story ended but I feel like it is where it started. It started with being frustrated and really wanting to improve something yet being afraid. Afraid of failing and of what others would think. Afraid to be a beginner. Please know you are not the only one. Be afraid and do it any way. Its okay to be a beginner, to fall flat on your face at least a dozen of times because its the only way to actually learn something new. I want to make being a beginner something normal, acceptable or actually, you know what? I want to make it something you see as wonderfully brave. Because that is what it really is, isn’t it?
So I’m going to keep on sharing my first experiences with you in the most honest way and I hope you can relate and will share your experiences with me (& others) too.
Are you a runner? have you always wanted to be a runner? Or is there something else you’d love to learn but you’ve been putting it off because you’re scared?
Please do share and let me cheer you on. Lets be beginners together.