Goodbye, Comfort Zone

The other day at Sunday Funday, Chris Wascak told the group “make your weakness your strength.” He said this as I was mentally cursing his name while hanging in the pull-up position from the rack. Although I absolutely hated him in that moment, his statement couldn’t come at a better time. Recently I’ve been reflecting a lot about 2014 and what I hope to accomplish this year. During this time, I have also thought about what fitness challenges I overcame in 2013. 

One of my biggest fitness achievements was completing my first (and second) half marathon and setting a PR (1:48). If you knew me in high school, you probably wouldn’t believe it. Growing up, I hated running. I did it for one reason and one reason only: to get in shape for soccer. But after I graduated college, one of my best friends asked me to run a 5-miler with her and her sister. I said yes without really thinking it through, but once it set in, I was SO nervous about the race. It’s too hot; I can’t run in this. What if I can’t finish and everyone else does? I am going to completely humiliate myself in front of my friend, her sister, her family, these random people I don’t even know. I’m only going to be able to run 2 miles! You name it, I thought it. Lo and behold, I ran it, and I didn’t die.  I actually enjoyed myself.  I loved the spectators with their signs. The volunteers at the water stops were the friendliest (although I’m still trying to learn how to run and drink without dumping ¾ of the cup's contents down my front). The party at the finish line was an absolute blast. I guess you could say that’s when the racing bug bit me. 

Since then I’ve run a number of races – half marathons, 10 milers, 12ks, 10ks, etc., but there is one distance that has always been taunting me – a full marathon. Yes, I’m proud of my half marathons, but when I finish I ask myself “could I run that distance again right now?”  But then, whenever I’m about to bite the bullet and sign up for a marathon, that same little voice from before the 5-miler race speaks up and I immediately start to doubt myself.

This past October I was fortunate enough to join the Urban Athletic Club/ Roam Fitness team at the Lululemon Cheer Station during the Marine Corps Marathon. This was the first race that I can remember where I was a spectator and not a participant. As I stood there on the sidewalk, I kept thinking to myself “I want to do this.  I can do this.” I started to research marathons, but when nothing fit into my schedule, I let my goal fall to the wayside. But as I was hanging on the bar on Sunday, I decided that this year is the year I will push myself out of my comfort zone. No more listening to that little voice. This is the year I’m running 26.2 miles.

I signed up for the San Francisco Marathon on July 27th.  Yes, the course is going to be hilly, but it will be beautiful. Yes, there will be times during my training when I question my sanity and want to quit, but it will all be worth it when I cross the finish line. Running used to be my weakness. I’m going to make it my strength. See you at the finish line. 

"The more I run, the more I love my body.  Not because it is perfect, far from it, but because with every mile it is proving to me that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible."   - source unknown

What are you doing to challenge yourself in 2014?

Written by Christy Arndt