I came to serious running in middle age, and I discovered an athleticism within myself that surprised me. I had internalized negative stereotypes about my athletic ability as a gay man.
I would have been far too insecure to try to excel in a team sport, because of my internalized homophobia.
But once I started running, I discovered real joy in expressing my athletic self. I came to passionately love running, shocked at the idea I could actually be good at it.
When I actually qualified for the Boston Marathon (though I did not run in it) myself self conception changed radically. I began to believe in myself much more.
And it sure didn’t help that I had killer legs! ;-)