INSIGHT OUT By Adina Morris
When was the last time you had a good run? Well, the last time I went running was probably in the sixth grade when we had to compete for the Presidential Physical Fitness Awards in Gym class. I was the fastest at the 100 yard dash and I was determined to come in first for the longer race. I did win, and I also remember nearly passing out when I reached the finish line of the longer race, and felt my ribs ramming into each other.
In hindsight, I think my problem was trying to run a mile like the 100 yard dash. You can give it your all and push every muscle in your body to finish 100 yards. But a mile? Who has the stamina for that? Can you imagine keeping that up for 26 miles, like in the Boston Marathon? Of course not! No one would expect you to do that.
Well, as a 12 year old, I didn’t know or understand that. When running a short distance, you sprint from start to finish. When needing to stretch over a longer distance, slower and steadier with shorter bursts here in there, will get you through.
Many of you know that I have been walking fast my 2 mile route pretty much 4-5 times a week for the last few years. Never in my wildest dreams would I think of running, let alone jogging the two miles, due to my experience as a child running those presidential races. That all changed two weeks ago.
I was in NJ for our nephew’s wedding and my dear friend from college lives near where we were staying. We often walk together on the phone, me in MI and she in NJ. That morning we agreed to walk together side by side, no phones allowed! The only difficulty was the timing. 6 am on the day of the wedding was the only time we could both escape our homes! But we were determined! At 6 am promptly I get a text, you up? I’m here! I hop outside, all ready to go! What a delicious walk! It was pretty quiet on the streets of Passaic except for the other walkers, and quite a few for the early hour! The only stipulation was that we both had to be home by 7 am to relieve our spouses. Well, there’s nothing like schmoozing with a good friend to make you forget the time! Needless to say, It was 2 minutes to seven when I realized that I had walked her almost to her house and I still had to walk back to my host’s house, a good 8 minutes walk! Well, we said a hurried goodbye and then I turned and began to walk super fast! My husband had already texted, “am I on my way home?” I replied yes and picked up the pace. There was no way I could be home in two minutes! I decided to run at a respectable, yet modest pace. Kind of like a slow run, medium jog. I got there in 4 minutes, only two minutes late. My husband was already waiting outside. I came inside, slightly out of breath, but upon reflection, not nearly as winded as I thought I would be! I couldn’t believe I could run/jog like that! But I had, because I had to.
Fast forward to one week later. I was heading out for my 2 mile walk as usual, and as I was approaching my path, I saw a man a little bit ahead of me jogging. But he was jogging and then stopping and then jogging again. I thought to myself, what if I were to try jogging it? I mean, I don’t have to jog all two miles, but maybe a little? Maybe ½ a mile. Before I finished my thought, I began to jog, much in the same way I had in Passaic when I had to, but now, because I wanted to. I couldn’t get over how reasonable it was, and how much I enjoyed it! Definitely helps to have Shwekey playing in the background;) As I was jogging along, my mind was having an internal dialogue. How long could I keep this up for? The next block? Maybe until the rotary or where the creek lies below? Maybe the halfway mark at the traffic light. For sure I would stop then! The hill going back up is a killer! For every reason I gave to slow down to a walk, I ignored and kept jogging until I had already past the marker on to the next one.
The last ½ mile was really pushing it. I had been jogging straight without stopping or slowing down for 1.5 miles! I wanted to stop, really wanted to stop! My legs were starting to ache! But no! I kept going! I wanted to finish! I wanted to see if I could do it!
And do it I did! I jogged the whole 2 miles! I was so proud of myself! Evenmore though was the reflection I did later. How did I jog two miles after never jogging since I was 12, minus the 4 minute sprint the week before?? What I didn’t realize was that I was training for this all along. I have been walking 2 miles a day consistently for over 2 years! My body was training for jogging and I didn’t even know it! I was walking for me, my mental health and physical well being. In the process, I was preparing for the next stage, even though I didn’t know there was a next stage for me! I am a walker and figured I would always be a walker, never with a glance to the thought of jogging.
In the moment in NJ when push came to shove and I had to jog, I could! It was only in that moment of adrenaline that the realization came to me that I can. Once I had that epiphany, it was only a matter of time before the rest of me would be itching to try again.
Jogging is not the only thing that I have been training for. I have found that each small decision I have made in my journey as a coach has led me to the next stage in my career. I have reached new heights as a coach and I am grateful for the push to do more than I thought possible.
So too with jogging. Now that I know I can jog, I am planning on how to incorporate this new knowledge into action. I want to jog more often, not every day though. But I do want it to be part of my routine.
What small decisions have you made that have brought you to a new place of understanding and skill that you never thought you could achieve? What other areas in your life can you look to in order to find the gift of great strength and skill, that was waiting to be uncovered? What have you been training for all along? What small steps can you start doing today to achieve greater goals in the future? Today’s a great day for discovery of your hidden potential! Go to it!