Your Only Limit is YOU!
In my prior blog post, I mentioned something about positive mental health and how it will allow you to realize your full potential, handle stress in your life as well as have productive and meaningful life. And that there are few different ways to do this: connecting with others, getting physically active, staying positive or getting professional help if you need it.
Well, here is my personal journey on falling in love with cardio thanks to my scars.
Running! Everybody that likes to run will tell you a different reason why they like it. Mental stimulation, improve body image/lose weight, adrenaline/runners high, etc. My reason to start running were my scars, the one on my right leg in particular.
I started my running journey with a thought that I need to always maintain skinny figure, so that my natural growth and weight is not contributing to the damaged skin forcing it to stretch and crack, which by the way is not a pretty sight. And no amount of oil and lotion was helping. I also thought that I need to create good exercising habits so I don't have any issues later when I decide to have a family of my own. I am expecting my body to change and I have no idea how my scars will respond to it. Crazy things our minds make us believe. Right? But my silly thinking brought something more rewarding:
My former employer put a relay running team together, and I joined mainly to bond and grow relationships with coworkers not knowing what to truly expect. This was going to be my first running event and of course I chose the mother of all relay races in NW, Hood 2 Coast - 200 miles, Mt. Hood to Seaside, 12 runners, must complete the race in 30-34 hours. Before this race I was use to running 3-5 miles; my muscles became immune to that distance and it got really comfortable. But something else happened after 32 hours of running on hard terrain. For the first time I felt "life" under my damaged skin. My muscle below the damaged skin was very sore. Not only did it scare me at first but in a weird way it felt good, it also gave me hope that one day I could just have it removed and replaced with healthy skin. :) Because hey no damage to my muscle?! Yay!! New hope was born - it took a different turn, which I can share later.
After this successful relay race I signed myself up for Portland Marathon and began training on my own. Started with 1 mile and worked my way up to 23 miles. And this is where something else happened, a new perspective on running and physical endurance in general was born. Discipline, Discipline and Discipline. Running long distance got easier on my scarred leg, except redness and dryness which to this day is bit challenging especially dryness. During this training journey I’ve lost couple of toe nails, dealt with tendonitis, gone through kidney infection and you know all the regular stuff runners go through. I even brought my weight down and BMI to practicaly nothing.
All of this was on a small scale compared to mental challenges this training brought upon me. It thought me a lesson that was way bigger than my scars. Lesson that brought mind and body strength, bigger respect and admiration for my body and all athletes in the world. I ran in heat, rain, 18 miles on treadmill (while watching Titanic), sometimes I ran with aches and tears…all while battling those "voices" inside my head - “Stop. It hurts”, “Stop. You’re 10 miles in, make it up tomorrow”, “Stop. Lay down on this grass". Silencing those "voices" was the hardest. I am sure all of you can relate regardless if you’ve gone through physical training or not. Those "voices" that criticize, beat us down and do not empathize with our suffering. I call them inner-bullies. Fear-based bullies. Running and achieving my goal helped me defeat my inner-bullies. Now, I love running because I can meditate, feel the strongest and only allow positive "voices" to talk to me. It's ME time!
I finished 26.2 miles and I was so proud of myself and since I've been kind and caring to my body even with my imperfections. I am nothing but thankful to my scars for reminding me to push when I wanted to quit. Reminding me to choose power and strength over weakness during those long distance runs. I am a fighter and that is a choice. My scars became my huge motivation. Find yours! Dig deep into your soul and let your passion surface. Find meaning/reason behind your scars and turn them into action, whatever that might be.
What does motivate you? Please leave a comment below. <3