At the end of 2016, I found myself on a crisp overcast day staring across the Seine at the Eiffel Tower and the surrounding park. I was stretching and about to hit start on my watch for a twelve-mile training run. The day before, I had traveled alone over the Atlantic, taken a train to my hotel in rush hour traffic, and enjoyed two of the most iconic museums in the world by myself. Imagine the perfect setting for a run: beautiful, flat, and soft. As I was doing my laps, the sun started to peek behind the clouds, and it illuminated the tower and the falling leaves in golden sunlight. It was not my fastest run of the year, especially since I had to stop myself from taking a compelling artistic picture at every lap, but it was my favorite!
In the end, I was physically spent but was full of experience and awe of the beauty and history surrounding me. I finished the morning off with a late Parisian breakfast of croissants in a neighborhood cafe, trying to practice my French as I ordered. Later that day, while my husband was working, I took the train solo to Versailles and back.
I was full of emotional energy and confidence! This trip built my confidence in so many ways.
2016 was a year of firsts for me. My first half marathon, my first national park trip, and my first overseas traveling independently. It was a wonderful year of travel to five other states and two different countries. This is not a lot for those who travel for work like my husband, but it was for me. Also, running a half marathon was way outside my usual. I had never thought I could run that long of a distance. My previous longest race was six miles, and I suffered a stress fracture of my pelvic bone soon after. To get back into running these distances twelve years later at the age of 43 was a big deal. I decided I could do it after a patient of mine who had had congenital cardiac abnormalities told me she was training and running one. If she could, why could I not?
To motivate my training, I signed up for a half marathon at a destination that I wanted to visit. That worked! I planned the same for my second half marathon and set up my training to lead up to the early December event. You need to train for four months ahead of time to build up your mileage safely to avoid injury. I wanted to avoid damage!
I had a tremendous amount of travel opportunities in the four months leading up to that race, and I needed to figure out a way to travel and train. I did just that, and I found that the fun, the adventure, and the confidence intermingled within the travel and the training fueled one another. I found myself in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, trying to fit in a twelve-mile training run instead of just simply sight-seeing.
On the eve of every new year, I often reflect on the year we just experienced. But I also love to look back five years to see how I have changed in that time. I was reminded of this 2016 experience when I was asked to think of a travel experience that had a big impact on me.
Navigating the transportation, the language barrier, and the physical challenge of the running distance created confidence. I was confident of my safety and my knowledge. I overcame the belief that I could not change up my routine and still be successful. It was a sign that I could be more flexible. I could travel and exercise while doubling the reward. I could enjoy the journey and the destination.
My husband called me a “Rockstar” in a Facebook post that showed me crossing the finish line in that first half marathon. I am not sure I really felt it at that time but by the end of 2016 I was starting to feel like I was just that!
I am taking this feeling of confidence into 2021, as I navigate change in my professional career. I am starting afresh in a new clinic with a new practice style.
What was a time where you learned something powerful about yourself and your strength?
How can you use that knowledge to create confidence in yourself going forward?
How can you feel like a Rockstar?
You have done many Rockstar things in the past! You have aced tests, earned advanced degrees, and met your goals. You have taken excellent care of others, over and over!
You just need to remind yourself that you have done those things and use that experience for your benefit! Be a Rockstar in 2021.
Marion McCrary MD FACP is a practicing primary care general internist and certified integrative health and wellness coach in North Carolina. She enjoys spending time with her family, writing, being active, and traveling. Her website is http://www.marion-wellness.com and she can be followed on Facebook and Instagram @marionmccrarywellness and Twitter @marionmccrarymd