Why? It's a question I've been asking myself a lot lately. In fact, I ask myself "why?" each time I lace up my shoes to go for a run. I ask myself "why?" as my feet pound the street and the discomfort I get from running creeps up my legs. I ask myself "why?" when I check my watch and see I've still got 5 miles to go.
Why do I do things that are so uncomfortable for me? Why do I sign up for things that scare me? Why do I commit myself to things that feel so far outside my reach? And why don't I just STOP?
Because it's who I am. It's what I do. I push myself. I challenge myself. I force myself to go outside my comfort zone. And I don't quit.
I don't do it intentionally. I don't seek out things that I know will make me uncomfortable. In fact, in the moment when I sign up for something I am full of optimism. "This looks hard but I bet I can do it" I tell myself. There's always some good reason for giving it a go. It's not until the discomfort and the doubt settles in, usually mid-training, that I start to wonder, "Why do I put myself through this?".
When I signed up to climb The Grand Teton I was full of confidence. I researched training plans, joined the climbing gym, started running... But as the climb got closer and the reality of it set it, I started wondering "why did I think I could do this?". When I signed up to run 10 miles in the Great Smoky Mountains I thought "It's a beautiful course, and I can always walk if I can't run the whole thing". But as the number of days left to get ready decreased without my ability increasing I started wondering "why did I think I could do this?".
Because it's who I am. It's what I do. I sign up, I show up, and I give it a try.
If I never tried I'd never know what I can achieve. If I only ever did the things I knew I'd be successful at I'd never grow, never learn new things about myself, never discover where my strengths are. Of course there will be limits to what I can do - but I won't know what those are until I bump right up against them.
When I thought about writing this post I thought "why would anyone care what I think?". And maybe most people don't. But maybe there's one person out there who'll read this, who's felt the same doubts about their own goals, who hesitated before trying something scary, or hard, or new, because all the reasons "why" got in their way. Maybe that one person will read this and feel like giving it a try anyways. Because whoever you are, you might just surprise yourself, and I believe in you.
I don't know if I'm really ready for the 10 mile race which is now just around the corner. I don't think any amount of training would convince me I'm READY. I suspect I'll be standing at the starting line, asking myself "why did I sign up for this?!". But then the gun will go off, and I'll put one foot in front of the other for 10 miles, and eventually I'll cross that finish line. And then I'll be able to tell myself "I did it". And that's really the point, isn't it?