Never Tell Yourself You Can’t

 

One of the first things women around my age say about my running is some version of “Oh, I could never do that!.” Unless there is a glaring reason why not, my response is, “of course you can, if you want to!”

If you want to do something, never tell yourself you can’t.

I didn’t start running until I was 45. I had quit smoking the year before, after more than 25 years of the habit. When I was a smoker and would see women jogging in my neighborhood, I longed to feel well enough to do that. For all I knew, that kind of physical activity was unreachable. I just didn’t have the energy.

Now as a nonsmoker I did have the energy, and I gradually began to learn that I had the ability to do more than I ever would have imagined.

And I am not the only one to make this kind of discovery.

I have a friend who was critically overweight and had serious health issues well into her mid 50’s. She started exercising, lost over 170 pounds (“a whole person”, she used to joke!) and ran her first 5K race in her early 60’s. A few years after that, I saw her run her first half marathon.

Never tell yourself you can’t.

Author Molly Sheridan was 48 years old when she decided to try running. She was already healthy and active, and the first race she trained for was a full marathon! A few weeks into her training, she suffered a compression fracture of her foot. The doctor told her she was too old to run and essentially ordered her to stop. Not one to give up, she kept training as best she could until her foot healed. She finished that marathon and mailed a copy of her finish line photo to that doctor. Today she is an ultra runner and has run over 45 ultramarathons.

Never tell yourself you can’t. And don’t let anyone else tell you.

Parathletes are competing at Olympic levels in so many sports. It all began with wheelchair races. Now, medical knowledge and technology are ever advancing to allow athletes to participate and compete in ways unheard of decades ago.

These athletes are clearly not telling themselves they can’t do it. They are overcoming greater challenges.

I see more and more stories on social media and in the news, of senior citizens in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s running marathons and half marathons. I joke that if I’m still running when I’m 90, that’s when I’ll do a full marathon! Clearly, these seniors aren’t telling themselves they can’t do it. They’re just doing it!

Never tell yourself you can’t.

There have been so any times I’ve doubted myself even as I was running. “What are you doing?, I ask. “Why are you even trying to do this? Aren’t you a little old…?”

The trick is not to allow those thoughts any voice. The proof is in the action. In spite of the nagging in my head, I finish races. I’m a runner. Clearly I CAN do it, because I AM doing it!

Get out of your own way. Find these stories. Look around you at the people who are doing it. Let them inspire you.

Never tell yourself you can’t.

Author: Shelley English

Shelley is a wife, mom and executive assistant who loves to spend the rest of her time running and writing.

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themodernnestblog
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This is so inspirational! I completely agree about us getting in our own way…we can either be our own best friend or our own worst enemy. Personally….I’ll go with the best friend option 🙂

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