A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a predicament. A friend of mine, whom I really respect and admire, messaged me to ask if I was still doing a lot of running. She’s always been an incredible athlete. She was four grades ahead of me in school and I always looked up to her as a spiritual leader and wanted to be like her. I was quite the runner in high school and did some half marathons in college, but the past few years I’ve opted for lower impact, but highly effective workouts like Pure Barre and Tracy Anderson Method.
When I received her text message I had just ran/walked in the Denton Turkey Trott on Thanksgiving Day and was in talks with my mom and some friends to do the Lululemon half in Vancouver in August. So, had I been running regularly? No, but did I want to impress my friend and did I think I was going to start running? Yes! I responded by enthusiastically telling her about the Lululemon run I wanted to do and, to my dismay, the only reason she asked about me running was because she needed two legs to run in the Dallas Marathon relay. I had this one coming for exaggerating my recent running experience. Insert foot in mouth. I didn’t decline, however, because I still wanted to impress her. So, I said yes and signed my mom up, too. Sorry, Mom! (She’s actually the real runner in the family, so I don’t feel that bad). All this to say, I was cursing the day I was born when I woke up at 5:00 AM the morning of the race to a bit of a chill and drizzling rain. The only thing I had going for me was I was the first leg, so I didn’t have to think about it too much longer.
I was about to run 4.25 miles with no training in the rain. I knew I had to suck it up and make the best of it because this team was depending on me. As I started the run, the rain was coming down. I turned on my Pump-up playlist, but after only one minute into the race, I couldn’t get any music to work on my phone! Now I had four miles of painful silence with Me, Myself, and I. I started telling myself, Do not stop, keep going. Then, everything got foggy and all I could do was recite the Bible verse I repeated to myself during all of my high school cross-country meets, “I can do all things through Christ…” I was so tired I couldn’t even finish the verse, “…who strengthens me.” Which was a pretty important part, because I really could have used that extra strength.
Running has always come naturally and fairly effortlessly to me, and I never understood when people acted like they were going to die after running a mile. Until that very moment. I got it. I had a flashback of the time I convinced Andrew to run the eight mile Dallas Turkey Trott (he was a sprinter, not a distance runner). I finished the race at least 10 minutes before him and I watched as he threw his hands in the air like he had completed an ultra-marathon. He collapsed over the finish line onto his knees, looking like he needed a paramedic to wheel him out of there. I still laugh out loud when this scene plays through my head like a movie. But for the first time, I knew what he felt like because it’s exactly how I felt running those four miles.
One other thought kept coming into my head as I was running: How can I turn this challenge into an opportunity to motivate myself to take more positive action in my life? I let my subconscious work on that question while I used every last ounce of energy to pass my baton to the next runner, who in return passed me his jogging pants (guess he had already gotten too hot in the pants and stripped down to his running shorts). I didn’t have the breath to tell him I was leaving as soon as my mom finished her leg.
After my leg, I felt amazing! I honestly love challenging myself to see what I can do. Finishing the relay boosted my confidence, which allowed me to make a really big self-honoring decision in another area of my life I hadn’t had the courage to make before running this race. I’ve been running ever since and I’m not looking back.
I got myself into a pickle that turned out to be a blessing and has given me confidence and momentum to keep making positive choices to better my life. How can you challenge yourself today, tomorrow, this week? How can you take the confidence you gain from challenging yourself and transform it into forward momentum to create more of the internal growth you want to experience? Excited to hear all about it! Please share in the comments below. So grateful for you! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and, as always, love and blessings.
PS – Christmas is only two sleeps away! Share the gift of building lifetime character lessons for each letter of the alphabet with a special child in your life this holiday season. To get your copy of The Ellie Project or The Ellie Project Stationery Set, click here!
PPS – If you want Ellie and me to come speak and sign some Ellie Project books, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. My speech is powerful, inspirational, and about living your legacy today! It’s good for men and women, corporate groups, mom’s groups, Bible Study groups, community groups, etc. Big or small, group size is of no importance. We are excited to come share this powerful message with you!