Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Mantra: Just Do It

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Just Do It

Photo Credit: Nike, obviously

Repeat after me: I can do this. I can do this. I. CAN. DO. THIS.

For whatever crazy reason, I like challenges. I like proving to myself that I'm capable of things I never would have even considered before or that I have no experience in at all. I like finding out what I'm made of, what I can accomplish.

One of those things is completing the P.F. Chang's Rock and Roll Half Marathon whenever I feel like it.

It all started a few years ago when I worked for a friend of mine who loved running.  He loved running and biking and Ironman-ing and basically everything that I didn't like. He had this wonderful idea that a bunch of us should enter the half marathon. I, being a non-runner, was not fully invested in this idea, but because my friends were doing it (and they promised to carry my lifeless body across the finish line, if it came down to it), I signed up.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, here is the important part of a challenge such as this- the training. When you don't like running and you sign up for 13.1 miles of what should involve at least some running, you should train, right? Well grab your pencil and paper because I'm about to tell you the secret to my incredible training regime.

Are you ready for this?

I don't train.


No training for this crazy girl. I mean, I tried for the first one, but I found training on a treadmill, where you go absolutely nowhere forever and ever, to be incredibly boring. So I decided that I would just see what I could do with nothing. What I could accomplish with me just being me. It was the ultimate test of not training at all.

The day of the big race was the coldest day in Phoenix in something like 20 years. I was certain I was doomed. As the buzzer sounded we all took off and I found myself actually enjoying the race. All of these complete strangers were out there, in the cold, cheering us on. Teams of cheerleaders, families, and people holding up handmade signs, were all rooting for those of us competing. There were also bands all over the track, playing as we passed. I found myself laughing, smiling, enjoying this weird marathon-ing thing.

My friends and I crossed the finish line three hours and forty-five minutes later. Not a record time by any means, but we had walked most of it, and survived, so I was pretty happy.

To my own bewilderment, I signed up for the race the following year. And the next, and, to not outdo myself, I kept to my non-training schedule of just showing up and winging it. I figured that if the apocalypse were ever to come I should know exactly what I could handle without a single bit of preparation and for me, the half marathon was a good measure of that. Luckily I am a very skilled walker and each year I would make it out mostly unscathed and with the exact same time of three hours and forty-five minutes-ish. I figured if the end of the world came, I would at least be able to walk long distances before the Hannibal Lecter's got me. I must admit though, every time I would see a set of grandmothers pass me on the course I had to start questioning whether or not I might actually survive after all.

A couple years ago I got bored and decided I was done with this half marathon business. I'd experienced it enough. Then, this last summer my friend, Becky, told me she wanted to do the race. Hmm. One more time?

One thing in particular I like about the races are the causes they support. This year the proceeds were going towards the Multiple Sclerosis Society, which is near and dear to my heart, so I was in. One more time.

Becky had made it clear from the start that I, under no circumstances, should leave her behind. I had to laugh because clearly she was giving me far more credit on my former marathon skills than what actually existed. I wasn't sure how up to par I was for it either, so I was even a little worried. As mentioned prior, Becky and I do four mile walks whenever I go home to visit, so we decided that I would try and get home more often so we would walk more. That would be our training. That's right friends, I was actually going to attempt to train for once.

It went well, as all adventures with Becky usually do. The first time we started training I stepped on a snake, screamed, jumped and flailed around like a fool until we realized it was dead. We upped our four miles to six (once) and scared ourselves thinking coyotes were after us...because it's happened before. We went out in the rain and sleet. We went out on a day when the temperature was freezing and we trekked through a wash with mud. We even attempted running (once) and then went back to walking. Since I had never trained before and always survived, I thought for sure this was going to backfire on us. Like the more effort we put in, the more messed up we would be the day of the half marathon.

I was wrong.

Yesterday we completed our half marathon.

I haven't gotten the official time, but I'm pretty sure I was fifteen minutes faster than any year I've completed prior. Yesterday it was easier than any other year, too. Get this- we even ran a few times! Amazing, right? And today I can walk like a normal person and nothing hurts. It's weird.

It was nice to feel the familiar excitement and nervousness of the annual event. It was nice to spend a whole day with one of my favorite people, tackling a pretty cool feat. It was nice, period. And we're doing it again next year. We'll probably even train for it again, which means I am going to be way more prepared for the end of the world.

So, friends and family, the next time you have something you want to do - but you're scared, or unsure, or think you might fail - just do it.

I mean it.

It doesn't matter what it is.

Maybe you want to go somewhere you've never been. Maybe you want to try for a new job, talk up the cutie at the bar, dye your hair orange with pink highlights. Whatever it is, just do it.

You'll be proving to yourself just how capable and courageous you really are. You'll find that the more things you do that you're unsure of, the easier it will be to actually face them. Everything will get easier. Everything.

You can do it. You just have to try.

Just do it. Because can.

You can do anything.

Want to get involved, have fun and get in shape? Check out all of the marathons near you, here. You'll feel good afterwards, I promise. Well, after the pain goes away, anyway.

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Anonymous said...

Great advice!! I think that everyone would be happier if they just stepped out of their comfort zone every once in a while.

Chantelle Says said...

Thank you! I once saw a quote that said "Be comfortable being uncomfortable." I think that fits nicely here. :)