Like most writers out there, I’ve experienced some bouts with doubts. The last couple weeks I’ve been slogging about in the mire that is imposter syndrome. My metaphorical boots were getting so bogged down by the uh, bog, that it was getting harder and harder to lift them for another squishy step in the swamp of my own self-pity.
So I traded the boots for my running shoes. While everyone knows regular exercise helps with mood, I had two runs in particular that really shook some perspective into me.
Run 1: No matter how you feel, there’s someone else who desperately wishes they could do what you can
I am not a speedy runner. I have a 10 min/mile road pace (on the best days) and can’t seem to break the 5-mile marker.
I was having a particularly slow run (and an exceptionally bad mental bog slog) when I rounded a corner and nearly smacked into a woman and an elderly man taking a meandering, leisurely walk. I wheezed a quick “hello” and continued my tortuous trek uphill when I heard the old man behind me muse to his companion.
His words got me up the hill: “Wow. She’s fast.”
Run 2: Even the pros are gonna mess up, so don’t let fear of failure stop you
By runner’s standards I’m hovering in the lower rungs, but my best friend has slowly been helping me climb that ladder. She’s a running badass. She does 14-milers once per week and can jam up a hill while talking (I only respond back with a series of one-word-pants when things get particularly steep, but she seems to catch my drift, so it works).
We were out on a trail run, nearing the end of our route. I was huffing and puffing behind her, eyes fixed on the finish line, and she was merrily dancing her way about a half-mile ahead of me.
She was also texting while running. She crashed. Hard.
Her leggings were ripped to shreds, the remaining tatters of fabric colorfully decorated by crimson ribbons of blood spurting from her knees. Her palms were perforated, tiny pebbles dotting every quarter inch of fleshy real estate.
Yet she SMILED. As we hobbled back to the car, she admitted it was her own fault (distracted dashing), and that she’s had much worse spills.
She was back running two days later, scabs clinging to her new leggings with each step.
With my recalibrated perspective, I feel like I can take steps now too. Time to lace up my metaphorical bog slog boots and my jogging running shoes.