Thursday, August 2, 2007

You Don't Know Your Own Strength

Our friend Vickie said this in her comment on my recent 10K. And she's right. I don't know my own strength - niether do many of us. So many things I never thought I would be capable of, suddenly, I am.

Now, I say "suddenly" as if it happened overnight. Well, of course, it didn't. Months ago - just after Thanksgiving to be exact - I decided to embark on this journey without knowing why. I just knew that I was "strongly compelled" to begin - and I know enough about myself and what has worked for me (and not worked for me) to know that when I'm "strongly compelled" to do something, I need to just do it. So I did. And this has been a wild and crazy and enlightening and sometimes frustrating time. And it ain't over. Not by a long shot. I've sweat like I had never sweat before - and I'll be doing more of that. I've run faster and stronger than I had ever been able to do - and I hope to be doing more of that. I've learned to ride a bike. I've learned to swim. And I'm just starting to learn my own strength.

This morning, during Coach Sally's bootcamp, we were climbing one of the more challenging hills in Queeny Park. It was hard, to be sure. But I was really noticing how much stronger I felt than I had climbing that same hill only a few months ago. I had the thought "Man, I'm glad for this hill. It really helped that 10k last weekend." Glad for the hill. Huh. Glad for the strength, for the lesson that I will get to the top, that the hurting will stop, that I will be better for it in the end. And I'm starting to have faith in my ability to get it done. I'm starting to believe that I haven't even tipped the iceberg of what I might be capable of, if I'd only give it a shot. Now, you have to be selective about what you put your energy into - some things we're probably capable of just aren't worth doing in this lifetime, this body. We can't do everything we're capable of or we'd just burn out - and become incredibly self absorbed in the process. But all these ideas limiting us - all these false walls we put around ourselves - they're nothing but partitions - like the "walls" we used for sets on stage, called "flats". They were just a frame made of two by fours with canvas stretched across - they looked solid but, if you really wanted to, you could go right through them. So many of the limits we've given ourselves are illusions. We can walk right through.

So I've gained some faith, some clarity, many new friends, and a whole lot of courage. But I still don't know my own strength. Probably, neither do you. Let's go find it.


Laurie said...

You are absolutely right. I continue to amaze myself with my new speed and strength. It feels amazing. Fully knowing your own strength requires quite a bit of mental struggle. I like not knowing my true strength and just forging ahead, surprising myself along the way.

Great post.

Vickie said...

And you will see as time goes on how much that new found strength benefits you, especially in troubling times, because those times will come. You will gain fortitude.

Fortitude (definition): That strength or firmness of mind which enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage, or to bear pain or adversity without murmuring, depression, or despondency; passive courage; resolute endurance; firmness in confronting or bearing up against danger or enduring trouble.

21stCenturyMom said...

Yeah, baby - that's what it's all about! The other side of that is to appreciate the strength you have and not be mad about the strength you either don't have or just haven't found yet.

Amanda said...

Just stumbled on to your blog from Little Miss Runner pants and I'm very excited about it. You've got a great attitude and are totally inspiring!

No Wetsuit Girl... overseas! said...

"We can't do everything we're capable of or we'd just burn out". I should write that down and remember it when I feel like a failure.

You, my friend, are beginning to sound less and less like a newbie and more and more like a lifer!