“Just two more,” he mouthed to me, raising two fingers in case I didn’t understand. Just two more minutes of running on the treadmill. We’d been at the gym for almost an hour, and I’d done far more running than I thought possible. (This is what happens when a cruise lurks in my near future, and I haven’t even braved the idea of a bathing suit in about 6 months.) Just 20 mins earlier, I had run SEVEN MINUTES STRAIGHT. Seven!! Now, you hard-core runners out there might scoff at the thought of running seven minutes. But for me, that’s big! I don’t run…at least, not for pleasure. I’ve always been into sports, but never the kind that required me to run distances. Volleyball, basketball, softball…those were for me. Cross country? Ha. Never. So, seven minutes is BIG. And, there was alot more minutes of walking on an incline involved mind you. I’m not a total wuss. But I digress…
So, after my seven minute stretch of hardcoreness (yes, that’s a word), he said to me, “That was awesome! But how about running five more minutes after we lift weights?” I looked at him in disgust and disappointment. He was supposed to be my cheerleader, jumping around in appreciation of my accomplishment. “But I just ran SEVEN! I’m tirrreedddd.” His response? “Well yeah, but you can run five more, right? Training is going to hurt, you know.”
After lifting weights and thinking about how I wanted him to just pat me on the back and tell me how awesome I was for running for seven minutes, I climbed apprehensively back on the treadmill. We started running, me with every intention of running the first three minutes and then walking the last two. When the two-minute mark approach, I glanced over at him, ready to admit my defeat at the hands of a treadmill. But then he smiled at me as he ran, flashed me two fingers, and mouthed “Just two more.”
He was right. He pushed me, and he was right. I had two more minutes in me, and I did it. I ran the whole five, and I was happy.
He is my cheerleader. Not because he tells me what I want to hear, but because he always encourages me to try harder, to push myself to the limit, to face failure. He pushes me because he knows what I’m capable of, even when I don’t believe it myself. I owe a lot of who I am becoming as a photographer to his encouragement, his pushing, and his love. He never doubted me, even when I doubted myself. He has let me cry, vent, stress, and sigh. He has never stopped telling me to embrace the possibility of failure, and he has always been generous with the compliments when I’ve seen success.
I’ve got a long way to go (both towards that killer bathing suit body and to being a real life photographer), but I know that I will only be a failure if I never attempt success. And I know that sometimes I just need someone else to have the confidence in me that I have a hard time mustering up for myself.
My cheerleader, Todd. That’s what intense focus on FIFA soccer on PS3 looks like, people. At least the concentration payed off, even after I blinded him with my flash. 🙂