I was never an athletic kid. “The clumsiest child I’ve ever seen,” is how my mother described me. Thankfully, she waited until I was an adult and a snowboarder and a runner before telling me what a disasterously non-athletic child I was. However, my mother knows lots of children, and she doesn’t have a flair for the dramatic like I do. So, if she said that I was the clumsiest child she’s ever seen, it pretty much means that I was literally the least athletic child that she had ever seen.
When I was a college freshman, a friend of mine invited me to go to a shoe store with her. She told me that it was going out of business, so that we could get good deals there. My friend and I went to the store and ended up both buying running shoes for $15. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good deal.
Within about a week of buying the shoes, I decided that I should probably use my $15 shoes for what they were intended for. So, I started running. Simple as that, I had the shoes, I might as well do the sport!
I remember it was hard at first. I set my goal small. I wanted to run for 10 minutes without stopping. At first, I couldn’t do it. My legs were okay, but my lungs felt like they were on fire. So, instead I tried to run 10 minutes overall, with the ultimate goal being to run 10 minutes without stopping. I would run for 3 minutes, stop and walk, run for 2 more minutes, stop and walk, etc., until I made it to my 10 minute goal.
Did you catch that? My goal was 10 minutes straight without stopping. 10 minutes. And I couldn’t do it.
But I worked at it, and eventually (probably within a few weeks I would guess), I was able to run those 10 minutes without stopping. So then I started running past the 10 minutes, and slowly but surely I added more time on.
I just kept on like that, improving, increasing my distance, and becoming stronger along the way.
I am by no means a super amazing runner. But I am someone who went from gasping for air if I ran for more than 3 minutes to running a distance of 13.1 miles. Soon, I’ll be running farther than those 13.1 miles.
The point of this story is that we all start somewhere. Sometimes it’s frustrating starting something new and not being awesome at it right away. We might look around and think about how much better others are than us. But we all start somewhere. When people tell me that they wish they could run, but they’re not any good at it, I tell them my story. Of the $15 shoes, the goal of running for 10 minutes, and how I can now confidently (and proudly) say, “I am a runner.”
I’m no longer the clumsiest person around. And anytime a new challenge comes along, I remember, “We all start somewhere.” A lot of hard work and a bit of inspiration can get us places that we never dreamed were possible. So here I am, starting off on a journey to finish a marathon. One step at a time, because we all start somewhere.