It’s been a month since I ran my first half marathon and I as I reflect on this achievement, I am in awe of how much I learned about myself by training for this race. But why a half marathon in the first place?
Well, when I first decided to tackle a half marathon, I focused on my body. I wanted to wear that cute dress that matches my cool boots again. I wanted to walk in my closet, pick an outfit and not worry about if the pants would fit or if I’d have back fat showing. I can be vain. I admit it. I wanted to look better. But being a student of self-empowerment and a Certified Success Coach, I knew that wanting to fit into a dress was not going to get my butt out of the house for a run. There was a deeper reason, a feeling that my soul wanted to connect with that had nothing to do with a dress or what I portray outward. So to find it, that meant it was time to go inward.
No. I didn’t meditate for hours on a rock or go on a silent retreat (though I would love to try that someday). My version of going inward involves a process of self-assessment. What is self-assessment? It’s simple really and something I stole from my full-time job as an environmental consultant. It’s a process of asking myself a series of questions and honestly answering them. Here’s some I asked myself:
- When was the last time I wore that dress?
- How did I feel when I wore that dress?
- Why did a dress give me confidence?
I keep asking questions until I get to the feelings. The feelings are what I call the Soul Goals. Sometimes the process is lengthy; sometimes I get to the core right away. As I sat and thought about why I REALLY wanted to do this half marathon, I realized that I wanted to feel strong and healthy again. When I feel that way, I could give a shit if I don’t look like what society has deemed as hot. I feel hot and I own it. So feeling strong and healthy those were my Soul Goals.
But I also realized there was a part of me that was really scared. The farthest I had ever run was a 5K and that was when I was strong, healthy and a few years younger. “Can my overweight 45 year old body handle this,” I thought. My brain screamed back, “No!” Neuroscientists have learned that that part of the brain that does the screaming is called the amygdala. It’s the part of the brain that tries to protect us by generating fear. But what was missing from my Soul Goal that would calm my amygdala? I had to ask myself where this fear was coming from. I realized I was afraid of getting hurt. I had visions of a popped achilles and torn ACL. How could I prevent myself from getting injured? Well, with a little googling, I soon realized there were lots of things I could do. So, I promised myself that I would be smart about my training. I would commit to doing everything possible to achieve my half marathon injury free.
So my self-assessment process resulted in this Soul Goal:
I am healthy, strong and injury free.
Now you know WHY I decided to do the half marathon, in my next post I’ll tell you HOW I made it across the finish line.