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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why I Love to Run


Dear Lindsay,

You have been thinking about this forever, but here it is officially in writing.

Why I love to run and other motivational thoughts to keep the marathon goal alive:

I love to run, as in it is one of my favorite activities.  It holds a spot among a select few, because running provides meaning in my life.  It is not just another thing that I do out of obligation or guilting myself into.

Running is a personal activity.  It all depends on me.  There are no excuses or blame to give, the buck stops with me.  I am the only person responsible for my success and so the only person that can let myself down.  In life, sometimes others disappoint me.  When I am counting on others, I don't want to be let down, but sometimes it happens for various reasons.  Life just isn't fair and I accept that.  However, I get great satisfaction and almost a great calm from having something that I can completely control.  When I succeed, I alone am responsible for my success and if I fail, I only have myself to blame.

Running causes accountability.  It shows immediate feedback.  You either complete the desired distance/ time or you didn't.  No gray areas.  Blame and excuses don't exist.  Who else is there to blame?  No one.  What is an excuse?  I have decided that my definition of an excuse is the attempt to cast blame elsewhere.  If there is no one else to blame, then there cannot be any excuses either.  With such black and white, it makes running have an intensity to it.  There is no fluffing anything, just cold hard accomplishments and the desire to avoid failure.  This desire to avoid failure is so strong that your mind pushes to share in the joy of accomplishing a task that your body constantly tells you is impossible or too hard.

When I choose to run I am telling the world to respect me, because I respect myself.  Why should the world respect me if I don't respect myself?  Time to run is taking a stand saying, "I am worth stopping everything and taking time for myself."  I tell the world that it must wait if it wants me.  I don't succumb to to the world's every demand and let it boss me around.  I am the boss of me and I will decide how to spend my time.

I also love to run, because of the positive self-talk that is involved.  Husband is always raving about positive self-talk, and I totally agree.  When I run I have to have a constant dialogue of positive comments in my head.  This is because my body is having a constant dialogue of negative comments ("quit now").  If I have positive self-talk, then it can speak louder than the negative thoughts so I succeed.  Running asks your body to push itself.  Cheering myself on is the only way for me to succeed.  If I tell myself that I can't then I won't.  I don't want to be my own worst enemy, the lone cause of my fail.  I tell myself anything to keep going.  "I am the champion", "I am beautiful", "I am worth it".  I re-live crossing the finish line and dream about the next time.  I sing hymns and primary songs.  I do NOT stew.  I do NOT vent.  I have no capacity for any negative thoughts.  Negative thinking is a sure-fire way to quit early every time.  I love listening to the positive things that I say to myself.  They really build me up and sometimes I think back on them when I am doing things other than running.

When I run, I make peace with myself.  It sounds kind of weird, but through the positive self-talk I allow myself to be a good person.  I don't constantly hate myself or anything, but I definitely knock myself down a lot.  I hold grudges against myself for my seemingly "massive missteps and failures."  However, when I am running, I don't have time to hate myself or allow myself to think negatively about myself.  My whole body is having an internal struggle.  I know I can't beat myself down, so I actually accept all of my good qualities.  I give myself credit for the good things I do.  There's no room for guilt either, or any other ridiculous self-sabotaging action that I take part in.  Probably for this reason alone, I MUST run.  I HAVE to run, because it FORCES me to make peace with myself and LOVE EVERYTHING about me.

While running, I set goals.  Obviously, the overall goal is to finish, usually a certain distance or time.  To reach the overall goal I set many smaller goals.  The thrill of accomplishment keeps me motivated because I know the final payoff will be big.  Nothing really compares to how I feel when I finish.  It is a feeling of invincibility and complete confidence.  It is awesome and I really do feel like a champion of self-mastery.  I did something and saw it to completion, because I said so.  It really makes me the boss!  Drawing on these successes, it helps me live a more successful life.  Other things become easier, because I can remember how strong I was while running.  By teaching my mind to eliminate excuses and "just do it," I procrastinate less and accomplish more.  As I accomplish each small goal, they build on each other to fuel me to the big finish.  If I miss a small goal, I look forward to the next one adapting it so that I will succeed and maintain the positive self-talk.

A lot of people say that running is boring (I know, used to be me).  I think it stems from the repetition.  Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot or left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot (for left-footed people!)  Over and over again, it doesn't change.  I think that repetition might be what makes running so magical.  Repetition is the key to life.  That is how you increase skills for anything.  Shooting free throws, learning a new language, reading, learning new dance moves are all improved upon by repetition.  We also read the scriptures daily, pray using the same pattern, attend Church every Sunday, and General Conference every 6 months.  Repetition is the Lord's way.  Those who are impatient do not reap the benefits, no matter what kind they are.

Lastly, sure, running is great to get in shape and have nice body physique.  Getting three "are you losing weight" comments in one week is awesome and being asked in front of a large group of people if you are expecting (when you are not) is not cool.  However, running is mainly spiritual to me (see all above paragraphs).  That is why it is so meaningful to me.  I love drawing on that inner strength and that it can create inner strength when I am weak.  I love choosing and deciding in advance to succeed then doing whatever I have to, to finish.  Running causes you to dig deep into yourself and prove what you are made of and who you are.

Lace up your shoes!!!

I love you.

Love,
Lindsay

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