Back in 2008, I signed myself up for boot camp with a single goal: I wanted to be able to do a military style REAL push-up by my 40th birthday. Three weeks later, I did three!
Three months in, after running and working out three days a week in the company of my compatriots at WoW! Boot Camp, I felt better than I had ever felt about my body. Not that it was getting thin–but I was getting STRONG. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and sign myself up for a 5K.
But to train for a 5K, I needed to increase my cardio training, which meant I would need to do some work on my own. In the daylight. Without my coach. And someone who wasn’t also a member of the group might see me…exercising. So my coach came up to me one morning (at 5:WTH30 in the morning) and asked if I had a training plan. I stuttered, “Um, well, I thought I would start using the elliptical in my basement until I can do about 45 minutes worth because that will equate to about the same amount of effort…” She looked at me sideways and said, “Nobody ever ran a 5K on an elliptical. Why don’t you go outside and run?” The immediate answer in my head was “Because someone might see me and laugh,” but I knew better than to say that to April. I didn’t have an answer for her. She suggested that I map out a 1.5 mile route from my house and go out and back, running as much as I could and walking the rest until I could work up to running the whole thing. Easy Peasy.
I was terrified to run in public because I felt like I needed a permission slip. Wouldn’t “real” runners laugh at me if they saw in my $124 New Balance shoes and my double reinforced titanium running bra, size 40G (the G is for GOTDAMMM!)? I took my dog with me so I could use him as an excuse to be out in public, taking up sidewalk, breathing the fresh air and pretending I was an athlete. I started to run. Just run. I went at night so no one would see me, or on Sunday mornings when the mean people might be busy at church or still in jail.
No test to pass. No license to earn. No membership card. Just run.
I finished my first 5K on a rainy Saturday morning. I had to walk some. Everyone there was nice to me. I was scared to look over my shoulder during the race because I thought the only thing still behind me was the police car bringing up the rear. But I did it and I was so proud of myself that I wore my number straight to a Weight Watchers meeting.
So let this quote from John Bingham be your permission slip. It doesn’t even have to be about running. Replace the word “run” with sing, zip line, act, date, write, blog, swim, whatever you wish you had permission to do.