Once again, the #FitDish comes up with a great blog prompt.
When do I feel most confident?
For most of my life, I lacked self-confidence. I don't know why. Was it being the first born? Living in the shadow of my blonde, cute, smart younger sister? Being pushed to always do more, be better?
Is confidence innate? Are people born confident? How can you develop confidence?
Even in my own family, I've got 2 boys who couldn't be more different. My oldest son, who has struggled a bit the last couple of years, has always lacked confidence. He hasn't done great at school, even though he's bright. Tried sports in his younger years, but quit everything, even though he has a ton of natural ability. He doesn't have a lot of friends. In contrast, my youngest son has an easy confidence about him. He isn't naturally gifted at sports but pushes himself to achieve. He's well liked by everyone he meets. Raised in the same home, only 2 years apart, I can't believe that I did anything hugely different with them.
My mom would say the same about my sister and me.
Of course, time has passed for me, and as I have gotten older, I've developed a strong sense of who I am. This self-confidence hasn't come easily to me, and there have been a lot of stumbles on my journey. But I can say with 100% certainty that one thing that has made me confident is running. It didn't happen overnight. In fact, I ran many years before I could even identify myself as a runner. Running was just something I did. It was when I started running half marathons that I fully realized that this is something I was pretty good at. In spite of my success on the road, I was also pretty good at self-sabotage, too. If a race wasn't going well, those negative voices were hard to shut down. I crashed and burned more often than I care to admit.
A lifetime of bad habits is hard to break.
Running my first marathon, which was a disaster, sent my confidence into a tailspin. But because my growing confidence had spilled over to other areas of my life (work, motherhood), I was able to move on fairly easily. It did take me a couple of years before I attempted that distance again, and with my success the second time around, I finally felt like a full-fledged runner.
My most recent 2 races sealed the deal for me. Between last week's half marathon and the Chicago marathon I ran in October, I've come to the point where I am confident with my ability to run a race, even when things don't go as planned. Instead of falling apart at Chicago when I realized that the heat was going to prevent me from reaching my goal, I changed my strategy, ran a smart race, and salvaged the race, finishing strong with my new, alternate goal. That smile on my face at the finish line wasn't as much about my finish time as it was about me feeling confident enough to pull back, to stay mentally strong, and to run through feeling pretty awful. With this past weekend's half marathon, I had no plan but to go with the flow. I didn't train for this race, signing up at the last minute. When I started to run, I dialed into my feelings and knew how to pace myself. I didn't run with the crowd. And I knew when I could push myself.
Both these races were fun. It's really awesome to be at this point in my running to have the confidence to know how to run a race. If you've been following me for a while, you know that I have worked really hard to get to this point. My mental toughness training is as rigorous as my physical preparation. Just ask my coach. It's still a work in progress, but it's all forward progress. I couldn't be more happy.
I feel most confident when I am running.
How about you? When do you feel most confident?
Be sure to check out the other posts on Jill's and Jessica's blogs. I'm also linking up with Tuesdays on the Run aka Marcia, Erika, and Patti for today's topic...TMI! Heck, I bared it all here...so show me what you've got!
And don't forget to enter my giveaway! Only 5 more days to go...you won't want to miss out!