Do you Really Think I Can?– Lindsey Cross

“Do you really think I can make it out there for 8 miles?”

“Of course you can. I have no doubt.”

“But, I’ve never run 8 miles before.”

“No, but you have run 7 miles, so I am sure you can run 8.”

When I first started running, I had this conversation over and over again with my boyfriend before I headed out on long runs. “Do you think I can run X amount of miles?” followed by his constant response: “of course.” Before the run, I was never so sure, but time and time again I would come back having accomplished the goal. I wouldn’t always run as fast as I had planned, but I could do it. Having someone tell me “of course you can” really helped push me along. Initially, I had a hard time considering myself a runner, so it was important to me that someone else had the confidence in me that I didn’t. I’ve seen myself more as a woman with a penchant for snacks and lounging, a person for whom products like the Snuggie and Pajama Jeans are designed. I saw distance runners as warriors. And as crazy people who liked monotony and discomfort. But mostly I saw warriors. Turns out, I’m one of them. As I chalked up more and more miles on the road, I’ve been able to stop asking, “do you really think I can?”  Now when I’m leaving for a long run, I can simply say “see you in a few hours.”

Last week, I ran in the Thanksgiving Day Race in Cincinnati along with some of the other folks on the Eastern Further team. I didn’t spend any time hand wringing and worrying about how I would do, or if I could manage the hilly course. I just made my way to the starting line, and I went for it. I ran fast. I finished with a new personal best, completing the race at a pace of 9’08”’. This isn’t the fastest time in the world (shocking, I know); several thousand people crossed the finish line before I did. But it’s the fastest pace I’ve ever run in a race. Ever. I know that I wouldn’t have done nearly as well in the race if I didn’t have the confidence that I’ve gained over the year. I would have thought to myself “are you sure you should be running this fast?”; “how could you possibly be faster than that guy?”; “do you need to slow down?”

I used to believe that the idea of me being a runner was about as silly as it gets, but I’ve come to realize that I used to see limitations on my abilities that were false. All I really had to do was try. I’m sure there’s a broader message about self-confidence in here, I’m just sure of it. So let’s break it down. We all set limitations on ourselves that don’t match up with our abilities and that stray from reality; we should cut it out. I’m trying to apply what I’ve learned about myself from running to other areas of my life so that when I meet challenges, I think “Of course I can. Duh.” It helps to be encouraged, and it helps to be able to see yourself for who you are and what you can be. All of the members of the Eastern Further team have their own personal motivations for running in the Disney Princess Half, and for working to start a women’s leadership scholarship at EKU. This lesson is one of mine.

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Categories: The Team

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