My running started in June 2013. 3.1 Miles to be exact. I never was much of a runner, but for whatever reason after that run I wanted more. For years prior I had always thought about the idea of running a Half Marathon, but never went at it. So after that 5K in June 2013 I decided to put a plan in place to go after that run. I picked the Rock N Roll Philly Half in September of that year and went after it.
At the time a person very close to me decided to take it upon herself to constantly remind me how I would fail. She would tell me that someone “built like me” was an idiot to try it. Well fast forward over a year and a half later and I have finished 3 Half Marathons, a 15K, 10 Miler, Triathlon, Spartan Race and so much more. Safe to say that person was wrong.
But regardless of how much I have accomplished that persons doubt and words are still in the recesses of my mind. No matter what race I am running for I can hear that persons negativity as clear as day. It doesn’t matter what kind of races I have completed, every time I am training doubt always creeps into my mind.
And I think that is a good thing. I don’t think I would train as hard as I do without that doubt. I grind no axes or hold no grudges. I think without that doubt I wouldn’t train as hard as I do.
The good thing in all this is that person is no longer in my life. No need for that kind of negativity. There is no need to expose this person, she knows who she is. However none the less, as I reflect on my running it is time for me to openly admit how this behavior early on in my running career made an impact on me.
So this is my open letter to that person….
Thank you. Thank you for all the doubt you put into my head. When I was trying something new that scared me, you were there to confirm those fears. Reminding me constantly about how I was an idiot for even attempting this. That, at my body type, I would hurt myself and cause irreversible damage. That even your friends agreed with you that I am not meant to be training for a race like this.
Thank you. Thank you for being there every time I felt like I accomplished a major part of my training plan to tell me how you didn’t want to hear about it and were there to mock me for it.
Thank you. Thank you for being so selfish that when the day of my Half Marathon finally came you were there to tell me the real reason you were against it from the beginning. That ultimately I was accomplishing something you felt you should be doing and you were mad at me for it and for 2 and a half months took that anger out on me. A day that was supposed to be amazing for me, you set the tone with your selfishness.
Thank you for doing everything in your power to put me down as I worked hard to accomplish my goal. I sincerely mean it. Because without all of your doubt, hate and anger I would not be the person I am today. Do you know how easy a goal is to accomplish when everyone is cheering you along? It becomes so easy you really do not appreciate the journey. However do you know how much you cherish a goal when, during the entire journey to that goal, the people closest to you are putting you down and making you feel like shit? It makes crossing that finish line more valuable than the air you breathe.
My future running self thanks you. Those lonely training nights in the gym, on the track or out on the road in the freezing cold are nothing compared to how alone you made me feel. It is about to be 2015 and I am going to run a Full Marathon. And I feel bad for that Marathon because I am going to kick its ass. Because your voice will always have a place in the back of my head when things get too hard. My legs give out? I run out of breath? I am too tired? None of that matters to me. Because I will always remember how much I can accomplish because I have stared into the face of doubt and came out on the other end successful.
This is my open letter of reflection. It’s easy to have gone through what I did and be angry and hold a grudge. But the truth is I do not. I look back and am thankful for what I went through. It has made me so much stronger and fuels me to accomplish so many awesome things.
“Scars fade with time. And the ones that never go away, they build character”