Bye, Bye Comfort Zone

You know how people say that you have to break out of your comfort zone if you ever want to experience real change?

Well, I’m here now, and guess what? It’s scary as hell.

I am in the midst of my full-blown training plan for the Disney Princess Half Marathon next month, and as I log my mileage on Daily Mile and watch Feb. 24, 2013 get closer and closer on my calendar, I have to admit that my comfort zone is starting to feel like a distant memory. While it all seemed like such a wonderful idea back in August when I decided I was going to register for a half marathon, now that it’s almost here, the thought of running 13.1 miles seems downright crazy…and I can’t help but feel those voices of self-doubt starting to creep in. Can I REALLY do this?

Posing with my first belt!

Posing with my first belt!

Meanwhile, this weekend I am testing for my Bo Black belt in Muay Thai kickboxing. I’ve been training for two years, and this test is essentially the culmination of everything we’ve learned thus far…all to be demonstrated after a brutal 45-minute workout. I remember earning my orange belt early in 2011 and feeling such a sense of pride and accomplishment that I had not only summoned to courage to try something new — especially since the workouts are INSANE — but that I was actually sticking with it.

In addition to a million things I had to memorize for this test, including forms and step-by-step self defense moves that we’ll have to demonstrate for all our friends and family and the entire staff, we also had to submit a written testimonial about what our martial arts training has done for us.

Well, it turns out that some of us are going to be required to recite that testimonial in front of everyone…including yours truly.

I should tell you that I am not a public speaker. I have never been a public speaker. I am strictly a one-on-one communication kind of gal whose livelihood depends on the written word…not the spoken one.  I’m the kind of person who still gets nervous when sharing a story in front of a group of four or five friends at a restaurant, let alone delivering a personal speech about my weight loss woes in front of a room full of strangers (PS, I have no trouble baring my soul from behind the safety of a computer screen, though…go figure).

Years ago, the thought of getting up in front of a group of people and sharing my story would have induced sheer panic. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not thrilled with the idea, and I know I will probably deliver a less-than-flawless performance rife with “ums” and “uhs” and my own unique brand of awkward.

My very first race!

My very first race!

But part of me does recognize this opportunity as another chance to break out of my comfort zone and prove to myself that I am not the same person anymore. And I’m only borderline terrified.

I have never believed in myself. Ever. My go-to motto was always “I can’t.” I couldn’t lose weight, I couldn’t be a writer, I couldn’t make friends, I couldn’t run, and the list goes on and on. There was a time not all that long ago when I was convinced that I could NEVER finish a 5K, or that I could NEVER lose weight (and actually keep it off).

I’m tired of “I can’t.” I WILL complete that half marathon, I WILL survive my Bo Black test tomorrow…and I WILL deliver that speech!

What are some ways that you’ve broken out of your comfort zone?

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6 thoughts on “Bye, Bye Comfort Zone

  1. Maygan

    Good luck tomorrow and on the princess marathon but I’m sure you’ll do great! I walked my first 5k last weekend and I’ve been signing up for more. Hopefully I will be able to run more than walk soon. I’ve been debating on if I want to sign up for the Disneyland half in September. Sign ups are coming up soon but I’m wondering for a non runner if that’s enough time for me to train. Again good luck tomorrow!

  2. Hi Maygan, great to hear from you! Thanks so much for the support!

    Congrats on the 5K — that’s awesome! You can do it…I started as a walker, too. You just need to take one step at a time (no pun intended!) and work your way up to running slowly and gradually.

    I would LOVE to do the Disneyland Half…not gonna lie, I’ve been seriously considering it. Personally, I think that could be plenty of time to train, and you can always walk portions of the race, too. Definitely check out the Couch 2 5K program (on coolrunning.com) if you haven’t already, and then you can work your way up from there — most half marathon training plans are 3-4 months, and I used one designed for beginners (also on coolrunning). Keep me posted! 🙂

    Thanks again!

    Jen

  3. Kelly H

    First of all, I’m so proud of you and how hard you’ve been working on your running goals!! I was going to comment on your last post about how you’ve really increased your speed and dang girl, you are rockin’ it! I was thinking about you on the treadmill this morning when I was lamenting about how “slow” I run and how hard it really is to learn #1 how to run and then #2 how to run faster. But you are DOING IT! Yeah!

    Now about the half marathon…. I’ve ran two and I distinctly remember the months/weeks leading up to my first one and I was terrified. I mean, who decides to run 13.1 miles for fun???!! Here is my advice to you:

    1. Trust your training program. Learn it, live it, do it. Many a mornings I was tired and didn’t want to run ALL OF THE MILES I knew I had slated on my training that day. And then I would do the math of how many days until the race and ZOMG! Suddenly I was out of bed and running. It’s so important to get those miles in. And in the last 4-6 weeks set aside other distractions that may take you away from your training. I gave up alcohol – even 1 drink would make a run harder the next day. Get to bed early and be rested so you can give your training runs all you got. And when you do your “long runs”, I had read that you should try to run a full minute slower than you normally run your short runs. It helped me to pace myself better.

    2. You now know that you are capable of anything you put your mind to! You’ve lost a ton of weight on WW, you’re running, you’re running faster than you ever have, and … I’m sure you’re a “go getter” kinda of gal who when you want something, you do what it takes to make it happen! Think about this run in the same way. There is really no reason why you can’t do it. You have done the work and by golly you are going TO DO THIS.

    3. The night before your run, you’re going to be freaking out and maybe having nightmares. It’s normal. Everything will be fine! Trust me!

    4. During the run, try not to think about OMG! THIRTEEN MILES!!! It helped me to think of it in segments. “I can run 5 miles, easy, do it 3 times a week”. That got me to 5 miles. Then, “my long run got me 10 miles, I know I can run 10 miles”. That got me to 10. At 10 miles, I had a “Gu” to give me some extra energy, I drank a bunch of gatoraid to replenish my electrolights and said “3 miles? BRING IT ON.” The goal is to finish. And you will finish!

    5. YOU CAN DO THIS. You can. Really, you CAN do this. 🙂

  4. Hi Kelly! It’s sooo good to hear from you, and thank you SO much for this post and for sharing your words of wisdom. I REALLY needed to hear this, especially from someone who has been through it! (You are AWESOME, by the way).

    I am absolutely working hard to get those miles in…even, like you said, on those days when I really just don’t feel like it. I’ve also been watching what I eat even more closely (you’re so right about the alcohol, as much as I hate to admit it)…it does make such a big difference.

    It seems like my whole life revolves around running now, and I kind of love it! 🙂

    You’re right. I know you’re right. There is NO reason I can’t do this! I will keep repeating this to myself over and over until race day. So much of this whole running thing is mental, isn’t it?

    And thanks for the race day strategy — you’re right, breaking it down like that that does make it seem a (little) less scary! 🙂

    Thanks again, I really appreciate the support!

    Jen

  5. runcolbyrun

    Bravo! YOU SURE CAN! Very happy to have stumbled upon your blog! Keep moving forward. “Can’t” is a thing of the past. You can. You will. I truly believe that 2013 is the year to get uncomfortable! Best of luck!!! Look forward to reading about your progress…AND SUCCESS! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for reading, and for your support!

      You’re so right…it wasn’t until I embraced being “uncomfortable” — i.e. started RUNNING — that I realized what I was capable of doing. I CAN do this!

      Thanks again! 😀

      Jen

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