I Can Do Hard Things

I signed up to run another half-marathon. Part of me wants to tell you that I made this choice in a moment of weakness, but that would be inaccurate. It was a moment of ill-perceived strength. You see, a few months ago I accompanied my husband to the marathon he was running and got caught up in the celebratory atmosphere -- runners lifting their arms victoriously as they crossed the finish line, the shiny medals, the supportive crowd holding encouraging signs, the free bananas.  

Although it's been nearly three years since I ran a race of any legitimate distance, I thought, "I should do this again."

So I signed up for a race in early October. This seemed like an excellent idea until last week when I was running a 6-mile route in 85 degrees weather and (I'm pretty sure) 112% humidity. My thoughts were a bit muddled, but they followed this vein: Wait one moment. What am I doing exactly? Why have I willingly paid actual money to run 13.1 miles? Am I some sort of masochist? Why would anyone ever do this to themselves? Are my wrists sweating? How is it possible that even my wrists are sweating?

Then I proceeded to inelegantly blow my nose on my tank top and contemplate dying on the side of the path.

But somewhere in the far recesses of my mind, another thought surfaced: I can do this. I can do hard things.

From that point forward with each step I took, that mantra kept scrolling in my thoughts. You can do this, Robin. Keep going. Sure it's hard, but you've done hard things before. You can do hard things.

Now, I'd love to tell you that my pace quickened, I found newfound cardiovascular reserves, and my final mile was one for the record books, but that's not the case. The rest of the run was pretty ugly. My eyes stung from sweat, my ankle felt funny, and I had sections when I slowed my already-slow gait to a pace that might best be described as glacial.

But I did it. I covered the distance, even if it wasn't pretty. I'm really proud of that particular run.

When I think back on my running -- these seven or eight other times over the past years when I've had either the grit or stupidity to sign up for these half-marathons -- I realize that the runs I'm most proud of aren't my fastest and best. In fact, they're normally not even the actual races themselves, but rather the nondescript training runs when I struggled, but continued on nonetheless.

Something shifts inside you when you remind yourself that you can do hard things. The physical process of running reminds me of this in highly visceral ways, but the general principle is apt for all facets of life. I think about the motto that our local elementary school principal has taught my daughters over the years: "Get grit. Don't quit." I think about how rewarding it is to work -- really work -- for something, how important it is to have mental toughness, how resistance invites growth, and even how it's necessary to teach this lesson to the next generation and coach my children to cultivate resilience so they're not crushed by challenges and setbacks.

If signing up for a half-marathon is what reminds me of this, then bring it on. I can do this. I can do hard things

So can you.



    Will you please write another book? Pretty please? I don't even care what you write about- just do it. You can even write about dust bunnies or dragon flies and it would spin my soul into a whirlwind of inspiration. I mean, I know you're literally drowning in life and parenting and work, but YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS. :)

    Sharing this gem on my page soon.

    1. As usual, you're making me blush, Christine! If I do write another book -- especially one on dust bunnies and dragonflies -- I promise you will have an advanced copy. ;)


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