This guest column is written by Kendra Mittermeyer, administrative assistant at DailyBurn. Follow along on her journey towards health, wellness, self-improvement and the perfect push-up. (If you missed the start of the series, catch the beginning here, and how far she’s come from here.)
I had a funny conversation with a dear friend about last week’s article. We were talking about this brazen 10K gauntlet I’ve thrown down. Kate said she would never run something that long, even though she is truly the most fabulously insane athlete I have ever known.
So I laughed explaining that, yes I’m scared, but I also don’t really care — I want to see how far I can push myself. She responded with one of her favorite quotes: “Impossible is nothing.”
That phrase has been buzzing in my head all week. I really like the power and the infinite nature of such a simple statement. This is how I’m feeling lately. I signed up for some races and I am going to run them. I have legs; they will move. Is it crazy to start believing that’s all I need to know?
When I started working at DailyBurn I was so overwhelmed by the Tough Mudders and the marathon runners and the Inferno workout clubbers. Everyone here is a beast. Good people, kind people. But they’re athletic beasts, make no mistake.
It’s kind of a lot to take. And being a child of hippies, I tend to dig my heels in when presented with anything uniform. There was a part of me that didn’t want to totally give myself over to the culture here, drink the Kool-Aid, or Fuel protein shake as it were (but curses if that isn’t a tasty, stupid simple breakfast for a girl who hates breakfast).
I’m not sure I wanted to fully believe the hype. After years of feeling stuck and inhibited, my new job was going to solve everything? OK, not everything. But the idea was if I wanted to, I could board this wacky DailyBurn train and actually get where I’ve always wanted to go?
Frankly, I wasn’t immediately ready to hop on. I’m used to feeling inhibited. It’s my normal. And when something is a part of your identity like that, even something that makes you sad, it can feel like a lot to give up.
But like any other half-assed rebellion, it lost its sparkle after a while. Once reveling in rebellion becomes all there is to the rebellion you have to raise the white flag. Plus, I made all these grand declarations to you! So now I’ve gotta do something!
It’s as if I’ve reached a true Zen-like plane of existence — I no longer care how much a workout is going to destroy me. Maybe I’m fed up with years of “I can’ts” bouncing around my head, or maybe I’m riding a dangerous hybrid of arrogance and idiocy. I guess we’ll see!
The truth is, I can no longer find it in me to be scared by a park and some pavement.
On a whim I signed up for a 5K, taking place in less than two weeks. I’m thinking of it as brusque warm-up (or brutal wake-up) for that devilish 10K coming up in November. And yesterday, out of nowhere, I flippantly joked about agreeing to run some other 10K before that 10K. This is not normal behavior!
But it feels rather wonderful, intoxicating really, to see possibility before me, and nothing but. I will not be first to cross those finish lines, I may in fact be dead last. But I’ll show up and do it. It’s all becoming that fantastically simple to me.
There’s that other part too, the part that I’ve never experienced before and cannot wait to taste. The part where I complete the dare. I’ve never done that when it comes to athletics. When horseback riding, I backed off on every jump. When playing soccer I only ever wanted defense or goalie positions so there was less pressure to run fast or far. I always shied away from the dance classes I wanted, feeling too awkward to join. And I was the all-time best person to go rock climbing with — I’d belay every one of my friends without ever wanting to try the wall myself.
It’s somehow different now I have no time for useless shame and fear. I have other things to do. I’m really excited to know what the finish line feels like.
So back to my pal Kate, the lady so tough she could ice a man with her pinky toe. I never gave much thought to her athleticism, her innate consistency and commitment. Working out has always just been a part of who she is. She’d sooner leave the house without shoes than go weeks without sweating.
Me, on the other hand — I live in New York. If I don’t put on shoes before I leave the house I will die. I will die a pitiful beer bottle, cigarette butt, pigeon poop, tuberculosis-ridden death. Wearing shoes is therefore just a part of who I am. Adding running shoes into the rotation is totally doable, right?
I’m understanding more and more how much what I think affects what I do. My wildly cavalier attitude towards all these races is a product of the incredible high I get from starting to believe that impossible is only what I make it. So why not make it nothing?