In the past 24 hours, I've had two really great conversations with two fabulous ladies about running. I guess sometimes you don't realise how your thoughts about something have changed until you vocalise it. For example, these are the things I was writing on my blog 15 months ago, when I became a runner;
"The running bit shouldn't have made me feel like I was about to have a heart attack. But it did."
"Running does not come naturally."
"Exercise is not my strong point"
"I did half an hour of exercise and my body is wrecked."
I was genuinely of the belief that I was doing something outside of my capabilities. Yes, if I worked at it I might become less rubbish at it but I wasn't a runner. What a ridiculous concept. Of course I wasn't. I just happened to be voluntarily running, weirdly.
What I now realise is that I have always been a runner, for years, for my whole life, in fact. Everyone is a runner. It's just that some of us have tapped into this potential by going out and running regularly and some of us haven't yet. It doesn't make us any less of a runner. It just means we haven't shifted our thought patterns enough to realise it yet.
My progress as a runner was as follows:
22nd October 2014 - First Project Awesome session
17th November 2014 - First run
1st January 2015 - First 5k
1st February 2015 - First 10k
22nd March 2015 - First half marathon
24th October 2015 - First marathon
So you see, within a year, I went from coach potato to marathon runner. Is that because I trained really hard and dedicated myself to the running cause with an unrivalled fervour and discovered a natural resource of extraordinary skill? No. I'm not extraordinary. I'm not fabulously gifted at running. I'm not more capable than anyone reading this. The one difference between you and I is that I have realised we are all runners and you have not yet.
Seriously. I'll say that again.
The only difference between you and I, reader, is that I have realised we are all runners and you have not yet.
Because I know I am a runner, I know that I could, if necessary, go out of my front door now and run a marathon, despite sleeping less than six hours last night and being a bit hungry. I eat well, run regularly and (usually) sleep enough - and that is what you need. It's a very empowering thing to know. My body and mind are strong and that they will do what I ask of them. The belief in my capabilities does something to how I view myself and, thus, how I interact with the world around me. There are few situations that I view as insurmountable, that really worry me.
The reason my Running Home From Rome run sounds so amazing is because you don't yet realise that you are totally capable of doing it too (and that is not motivational life-coach tripe, it's just a fact). I'm a bit reluctant to give the game away, to be honest. I quite like the admiration and adulation that comes when I tell someone my plans which, to me, now sound pretty commonplace. But if you only knew what I knew, you wouldn't need to stand around being impressed - you'd be going out for a run and getting on with your own adventure plans.
The only way in which I can say I differ from everyone else who is capable of running from Rome to London is that I'm the one who's actually doing it.
I heard a friend say today that he's up to running 10k now "but I'm still not really a runner." I beg to differ. The title does not need to be earned by running every single day and doing marathons all the time. It's just there, in your DNA. You need to trust me on this one but humans are built as runners, just as we are walkers, swimmers, cyclists, dancers and yogis. We just have to go and do it a few times to realise it. Although I've never climbed Mount Everest, I still know that I could. The power of knowing that is not to be underestimated.
Go out and do something different this week, I dare you. Allow yourself to realise that you are capable, that you are a runner or whatever else it is that you've thought about becoming. The only difference between who you now are and who you could be is that you haven't started down that road yet. Go and get started!