07 May Lessons from 13.1
by Wendy Bright-Fallon
Sweat stung my eyes and the cramps in my hips had a questioning voice which grew louder with each mile asking me: What are you doing!?
What most people witness is the race finish, the cheers and the post run photo ops (like the one here with big smiles) – you don’t see the long miles, sweat and training. Call it sacrifice if you want…but I’ll call it optimizing. The cold early mornings, the heavy wet days, the skipped socials because of needed sleep, the missed wine or the many “no thank you” treats during the holidays. Every choice, every day since October made those 13.1 miles what they were – a success in my book.
Why do we run? Here are some definitions – from the obvious to the not so obvious: bucket list check, endorphin rush, meditation in motion, to win, to sweat, to keep stretching a goal distance or time, trophies, medals, finishing, proving, podiums, accolades, money, notice, notoriety… It is different for everyone. But there is one thing everyone does to earn what they crave – they show up. I’ve been asked a lot lately why I did a half marathon. Two specific reasons: 1. To support my dear friend who asked me (perhaps she saw something in me that I didn’t see) and 2. To challenge myself to do something I never did before. A few important things were learned along the way.
Lessons from 13.1
- Say Yes: Don’t overthink it. Go with your gut and heart and leave the head space alone. Too much overthinking by analyzing the pros and cons will keep you stuck. The best day to start is today. Once you start, the head will catch up and become aligned.
- Step into the Story and Change It: A couple of years ago, I said I couldn’t run, that I wasn’t good enough. I had no confidence about running. The truth was, I hadn’t really ever given it a fair shot. I had created a bunch of pot holes and divots and rutts in my mind. One day I woke up and said, I am going to start running. My hubby said – “Let’s go get you running shoes.” I hesitated – what if I hurt myself, what if I’m in pain, what if I suck…He very wisely said, “Without proper shoes, all those will come true.” Today, I can say: I run.
- Ask, then DO the Advice: If you haven’t done something before, chances are you are going to make mistakes. The more you ask questions from experienced souls, the less mistakes you make and the faster you will become efficient. But it’s not enough to just ask – you gotta DO. Ever read or hear the same advice again and again and wish you’d have listened? Ask, listen, DO and then make the necessary adjustments that work for you.
- Run Anyway: The first mile is often the hardest – keep going. Also, the winds will be harsh, the rain pounding, the air colder or hotter than you want. Run anyway. It builds character and grit and you’ll appreciate the sunny, blue-sky days even more. If you’re never in difficult situations, everything seems difficult.
- Practice, Fail, Learn, Repeat: If we stay still – like an unmoving pond – we’ll either dry up or start stinking, or both. I believe staying stuck is the opposite of growth. I chose growth when I said yes. With growth, comes discomfort. So many people avoid obstacles yet how do you know what you’re capable of doing if you are always avoiding?
- Show Up: You might say yes, you might ask the experts, you might practice, but unless you show up at the start line – you aren’t even IN the race.
- YOU are Responsible: There is no room to blame anyone or anything. When you are all lined up at the starting line, the weather is the same for each person, but how you put your socks on that morning matters. What I mean is: your preparation and mindset sets you apart from everyone else.
- Boundaries Matter: Why set the alarm for 4am? Why go to bed at 8:30pm? Why shift the meeting to later? Why say no to a social event, party or late night? Why do the planning, shopping prepping, cooking? Saying No matters. Saying Yes matters. Choose wisely.
- Count your Blessings: If you create the opportunity to move and challenge your body, mind and spirit – be deeply thankful you can. We so often take our feet for granted – yet they carry us everywhere.
If you want to know more about my running adventures, how I trained and very specifically what I ate (and what I didn’t), schedule a consult with me and I’ll help you get off the couch and into whatever sneakers, swimsuit, bike, yoga or gym gear you are looking to try on. Here’s to your health!