I found it funny last night knowing I already had my “You Need to Go After It” post scheduled, I talked to my dad, coincidentally*. [If you don’t know, I adore my dad.] He’s one of the good guys. He’s a hard worker; a keep his head down and nose to the grindstone kind of guy. My dad is kind and generous, and he loves to laugh. He has hobbies like fishing, woodworking and sports card collecting. He’s reserved and would probably rather do anything other than speak publicly.
In our phone conversation, I shared with him that I’d just registered for my first marathon. Without a doubt, 26 miles will be an extreme challenge for me. The half-marathons I’ve run have tested my endurance and abilities, and the thought of doubling that effort seems overwhelming. But I’m determined to try. And I really think I have what it takes to work hard enough to make it happen.
In his mild manner, my dad just said, “Seriously? I don’t know how you can do that, but then, I’ve always hated running.” He wasn’t doubtful of my determination, or even abilities, really. But what his response said to me was that he would never have considered trying, and also that he never would have encouraged me to try it for myself.
More than that, though, I was never encouraged to try things outside my comfort zone as I grew up. It’s just the way my sister and I were raised. If we wanted to do something, my parents were supportive, but other than forcing swimming lessons on us to avoid a lifetime fear of water like my mom possesses, we weren’t pushed to stretch our wings much.
I actually remember after I left Iowa State after a heartbreaking semester with a pre-architecture major, that my parents were in favor of me giving up a four-year degree altogether (which I still pursued, in marketable liberal arts English degree fashion).
A small life of comfort is what I was prepared for. I almost achieved it too, by marrying at 23 and not questioning the status quo until I was heart-broken, abandoned and alone in a major U.S. city with only my job and my cat. But damn if I’m not grateful I experience the loss of that small life. It made me the kind of girl who is able to accept the challenge of running a marathon when it would be easier to never push myself to be uncomfortable. Training and running that bitch are going to be PLENTY uncomfortable, this I know for certain.