The Moment This Quitter Decided Yes, I Can

I am a quitter.

In all seriousness, I am a legit quitter. I quit friendships and relationships and hobbies and jobs. I quit law school. I'm convinced that I'm not wired for struggle. When the universe (or creator, or God, or gods, or whatever you want to call it) created all of us and our perfectly gorgeous, sophisticated acute response systems, it forgot to equip me with all of the options. And I think this because anytime something gets messy, or hard, or complicated, my hyperactive flight response kicks in and tells me, “YOU CANNOT, under any circumstances, no matter what, stay here and fight for this. You aren’t supposed to. Do you value yourself? Do you want to live to tell about this? Then, you know you are supposed to choose flight. FLY, BABY, FLY”. So that's what I do and that's what I've done for my 30-something years on the planet. There have been casualties to this approach, as you can imagine. Many casualties and many consequences.

Despite my aversion of sticktoitiveness to, or let’s be honest, basically, anything uncomfortable or difficult, one winter, after far too many bottomless mimosas, my best friend and I agreed to run a half marathon together. It seemed, quite literally, impossible (and ridiculous!) but we were drunk and giddy enough to make a pact. And so I signed up for a half marathon and I half-believed (more like 22% believed) I would ever get to the starting line.

But, I’ll be damned, I stuck to my training plan. I went for my runs when I didn’t feel like it. I ran in the rain, sleet, and cold-ass Colorado air. I ran at night, with a headlamp. I ran at the butt-crack of dawn. Many times, I ran past very hungry-looking coyotes, and if that isn’t an indication that my primal instincts were changing, then I don’t know what is.

I could feel myself evolving over the course of my training cycle and my whole body buzzed and sparked with this newfound yearning to tough it out, to hunker down.

But it wasn't until I toed the start line of my very first half marathon that everything clicked into place and I thought, “YES I CAN”.

Yes, I can do this. Yes, I can finish. Yes, I can dig deep and sit with the hard and the painful, and the uncomfortable and the tough. YES, I FUCKING CAN.

And guess what? I did. I finished that half, and have then fought through two more, even with hip flexor issues, plantar fasciitis, a heel spur and a particularly tough bout of runner’s knee. And now, I’m signed up for my first full marathon. Even typing that makes my heart flutter, and those imaginary FLY, BABY, FLY wings start sprouting. And I know I will be constantly participating in this dialogue with myself, telling that quitter voice to shut the hell up already because we have work to do.

Deep down, on some very instinctual level, I know that when I finally toe that marathon start line in December, the only voice chiming in will be the one saying, YES, I CAN. YES, I FUCKING CAN.