Everyone has their favorite blogs - one of mine is from a lady who is an amazing writer and can form words in such a way that you completely understand what she is trying to say. Today I read her latest posting and was amazed to find myself in all that she wrote:
"I spent most of my life completely convinced that I am absolutely unathletic, pathetic in my klutziness, a fragile, uncoordinated mess who is to be pitied for her inability to walk across a room without sustaining some kind of grievous bodily injury or expensive property damage. I am not all wrong; I am often clumsy, find it difficult to move all the parts of my body at once in particular ways, or to think about the parts of my body and how they ought to be moving and then actually try to move them."
"...There wasn't any particular incident that made me hate gym--I don't recall a particular humiliation that burns to this day. It was just a non-specific, blood-curdling fear of physical activity and hurting myself or making a fool of myself that kept me out of those shorts. I identified as a non-physical, non-athletic person to a pathological degree, and I think you can probably trace so many of my issues with my body directly from there."
It is sometimes hard for me to explain to others why it is so important and life changing for me to be racing in Adventure Races - for most people it's just something to do to keep in shape and stay busy. While those two reasons are important to me, they aren't the reason why I do it. And the post above begins to explain it much better than I ever could. I saw myself in that post, the me I use to be, yet is still very much a part of my life now.
Every day that I get out and run, or bike, or hike, etc, I put a little bit of my past non-athletic, overweight self behind me. I was that girl who was made fun of in gym class and after a while, I just gave up. I didn't want to be made fun of anymore. And I still struggle with that - I was absolutely terrified on the first day of Adventure race camp. My adult brain was saying "you'll be fine, no one will make fun of you." My all too present childhood brain said the exact opposite "run now!! You'll never make it and everyone will laugh!" I didn't listen to that childhood fear and found out that I CAN be athletic, that I can do things I never imagined and I won't be laughed at. I was accepted as "one of them" and that very thing was what made such a huge impact on me and has challenged me in ways I never imagined.
And now, every time I race or even contemplate racing, I know I have won another battle with myself and move a little closer to being the person I want to be.
And THAT is the reason why adventure racing is so important to me - it has, literally, changed my life. And for that I am eternally grateful.