Out Running Fear: Toward a Life of Purpose

After several broken New Years resolutions, I began consistently working out this year. I started with a combination of treadmill exercises and outdoor running exercises.  My goal was to run 3.1 miles (5k) in under 30 minutes. Now, understand, I hadn’t ran since high school, let alone a 5K. Starting out, I could barely maintain my 3.5 MPH speed, and I only walked for 10 minutes.  I set small goals for myself and celebrated the slightest victory.

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  • 1.0 mile in 9 minutes 

  • 1.5 miles in 13 minutes 

  • 2.0 miles in 18 minutes 

  • 2.5 miles in 23 minutes 

    & so forth.  

I was running 3-4 times a week—sometimes accomplishing my daily/weekly goal and at other times tapping out because "I just didn't have it in me that day."  

In, out. 
Deep, slow. 
Calm, ease. 
Smile, release. 
Present moment. 
Wonderful moment. 

Yesterday, I went to the gym despite my emotionally exhaustive day. I stepped on the treadmill and immediately cranked the speed up to 6.6 MPH with an incline of 2.0. Now if you know anything about running, that’s pretty god damn fast. My legs were moving, but I couldn't quite focus on my run because anxiety was getting the best of me.  I closed my eyes for a second and did the shit my therapist says—deep breathing. Careful to take mindful breathes.  

Breaking from my meditative state, I opened my eyes, looked down, and I saw that I had already ran 2.7 MILES in 23 minutes! I looked up from my station in amazement; I looked around to see if others were taking notice of this achievement. I immediately began to feel winded so I closed my eyes to took another deep breath, focusing only my body.  As I approached, 2.9 miles, I noticed that my speed was still 7.0 MPH. At my pace, I knew that I was still going to meet my goal of a 3.1 miles in under 30 minutes, so I reduced my speed to 6.5 MPH and ACCOMPLISHED MY GOAL!

 
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When I stepped off the machine, I took a seat cause SIS WAS TIRED AF! I felt a little light headed, like my mind was trying to catch up with my body.  I returned to the locker room, propped my sweaty body on the brown bench and began to reflect on the event that had just occurred. I had NEVER in my life ran that long, but today I did! What changed?

Usually, I'll watch the clock, run approximately 2 miles, and be happy, but not today.  Today I didn't even think about it.  Today I didn't set parameters around my goals. Today I didn’t run to make incremental progress. I ran full-throttle toward my goals with little regard to fear or self-doubt.  

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I wonder whether I could have ran this 5K weeks, perhaps months, ago if I'd gotten out of my own way. I suppose this was a moment of clarity for me.  I'm thinking about all the other areas in my life where I am standing in my own way because of fear. I  think about all the half- written blogs that  I have not finished for fear that they are not good enough. I think about the doctoral program admissions process that I have been holding off for fear that I will not get accepted. I think about the love interest that I hold at a distance for fear that the relationship won't work out.   

 Do you also set parameter for yourself that ultimately restrict your full potential? Do these restrictions cause you to feel stagnant, less happy, inadequate? Fear. Osho, an eastern philosopher, suggest that all fears are rooted in a fear of unlived moments or an unlived life.  Imagine that! We fear unlived moments so we place restriction on ourselves, which manifest through procrastination, negative self-talk, and other forms of self-sabotage.  We make life harder than it has to be, and we don’t really live at all.

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My new charge: GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY

  • Post that Blog!

  • Apply to that Program!

  • Let People Love You!

& most importantly stop setting arbitrary standards rooted out of fear.  You are deserve all of your goals.

-Natasha M. Lee