Shortly before the end of 2017, I accidentally ran 10 miles.
A couple things may come to mind, like, what? And, why? And, how the heck do you do that "on accident"?
All valid questions. And on that note, many people run that distance regularly. I am not one of them. I do not run. I have not run more than 3 miles in a very, very, VERY long time.
But on this fateful Friday afternoon, I decided to take my dog on a run. It had been a stressful week (month/year/lifetime) and I immediately felt the tension dissipating the further I ran.
So I ran. And I ran. And I ran.
And all of the sudden...I came to the end of the trail. 5 miles from where I'd started.
I was elated! I couldn't believe I'd run that far!
But then...the realization and subsequent panic hit: I HAVE TO GO BACK. I AM AN ACTUAL IDIOT.
To add to my stress, I had somewhere I needed to be and it had taken me a good 50 minutes to get this far and I needed to be ready to go in an hour. AND THEN MY PHONE DIED. What had begun as a de-stressing run turned into the biggest stressor yet, and I was in full-on panic mode.
So I started my journey back, but now fueled by anxiety, much faster. It was getting dark, I had to get home, my phone was dead, my dog was getting tired. I was freaking out.
"I can't do this by myself. I need to borrow a stranger's phone and call someone to come get me. I'm not going to be able to make it. My lungs aren't going to hold up."
SO many thoughts were racing through my head, a mixture of fear, stress, embarrassment for getting myself in this situation, you name it.
But I kept going. One foot after the other, puffing my inhaler a time or two, breathing in with the rhythm of my feet pounding on the dirt path, calmly reassuring myself every time one of those thoughts popped up: "You can do this on your own."
And something amazing happened: I made it home. Completely on my own. (Shout-out to my dog for being there but let's be honest, he left me in the dust.)
The entire experience was so beautifully poetic. So often we think that someone is coming to save us. That we have to be saved from whatever situation we're in. And maybe we are lucky enough to have someone (or a furry companion) by our side, cheering us on, but at the end of the day, we are the ones who have to put one foot in front of the other. We are the ones who have to carry ourselves through the finish line.
Because we can. No one has to save you because you can see to your own success. It may feel impossible and overwhelming and downright scary, but it can be done. If you work hard and believe in yourself -- anything is possible.
Even 10 miles ;)