by Steph Creaturo
I ran my first race a year ago. I came in dead last.
I started running again by accident. “I want to run a marathon” was the first thing that tumbled out of my mouth during a goal setting session at last summer’s lululemon ambassador summit in Vancouver. This life-long dream was on the docket when I was advised to quit running in my 20s. And there it was, 15 years later, seemingly out of nowhere.
But where to start?
A few days later, I travelled to Vermont for a family vacation. As I walked around the lodge, I noticed they hosted a weekly fun run. That’s great! I thought. What better way to jumpstart my goals.
I got up the next morning and went to the gym. As I barely eked out a mile, I felt my enthusiasm dissipate with each step. Alone, in this sterile and strange place, the high I felt a week ago was so foreign it could have happened to another person. A marathon? I mocked myself. You can barely make it a mile without stopping for your breath.
I went to the gym again the next morning. And the next. I certainly wasn’t as inspired as I was in Vancouver. The mind conditions worsened with each run. My body, however, felt great.
Just do the stupid fun run, I told myself. How bad can it be? It’s only 3.2 miles. And you don’t have to have fun.
I huffed over the finish line – dead last – 33 minutes later. That’s the first race I’ve run in 10 years, I told the race official who was keeping time. She nodded. Stay with it, she said, and your time will improve. And she added, if you want it to.
In that moment, I realized I could run for time. I could run a marathon. Or I could just run because it felt good – and that could be enough. All of these things aren’t mutually exclusive.
Fast forward a year and she’s right. In the beginning, I had to just lace up my shoes and head out the door. I couldn’t worry about time or other runners or anything else. Consistency was the original intention, not running for miles or times. That had to come later.
So just run. Or yoga. Or whatever. But first, just show up. Then show up again. From the effort of showing up springs the clarity of goals and intentions. If there are goals, they’ll show up here. Or, this may blissfully be the one area of your life you have none, and showing up is enough. Many times, that’s the case. But you don’t know, and can’t know, until you show up.