What a great story. I love how you just kept going. I think I would have been a little upset myself. You are really an inspiration to me not to let things get you down. I know you will do just fine with your half marathon. I really would like to be able to run a race myself. Happy New Year and best of luck on all your other races.
Congratulations on a well run race! Our running group says that as long as you finish upright and unassisted, it's all good. Thanks, for you have inspired me for a race I have on Saturday, a trail race where there probably will be snow and ice, and I will be out in the cold for quite a while. I've been dreading it, but your post has inspired me to suck it up and do it as well as I can. Thanks so much!
Awesome job, Mother Hen! :) Now, I want to thank you for this awesome post. I find it very ironic for this post to reach me on such an evening. I have just committed to doing Crazy Legs (an 8k run in Madison, WI) with a fellow co-worker. I have never ran a race before, so I've been a bit nervous all night thinking about it! You've definitely eased my worries & the 4 months that I have to train for the 8k seem like plenty of time! Thanks again. Your hard work has paid off more than you can even imagine.
Thank you for this great story! It reminds me of a similar experience I had that motivated me to write down my lessons learned so I could share them with a group of people in a weight loss challenge that I lead in my local community. Bear with me because it's a long post, but I hope it offers a spark to someone.
3 Things I Learned from Running a Marathon and What They Can Mean for You Last week I ran my first marathon. I made a snap decision to run it and most people would say I was seriously undertrained going into it since I had only been running 12 – 14 miles at a time and a total of less than 20 miles per week. Not your typical training schedule for a marathon, but amazingly it turned out just fine. In fact, I finished 6 minutes below my goal time! Looking back on it, the experience taught me three big lessons that are equally applicable to weight loss goals. I’m sharing them with you in hopes that you’ll find something a little bit useful to you. 1. Big accomplishments start with a small seed. When I first got a bug in my ear about running the marathon it seemed like a total impossibility since I would only have 2 weeks to train. After a while, the idea grew in my mind and I nurtured it until I finally started to believe it could really happen. What this can mean for you: Every time you make a healthy choice you are planting a seed that has enormous potential to grow into a powerful habit that will lead you to your weight loss goal. You’ve probably seen a 12-foot tall sunflower plant, and you’ve seen the small seed it starts from. Success depends more on consistently nurturing a small beginning than on taking giant strides that can’t be maintained in the long run. Just start with the seeds and the sense of excitement about what they can turn into. 2. Visualize your goal—both what it will look like and what it will feel like. 90% of my thoughts about the marathon were not about the training process or anything that could go wrong during the race. Instead I focused on the end goal. Every time I drove down the street where the last few miles of the marathon would unfold, I pictured myself running strong along the riverside path. I felt the excitement of knowing the end was in sight and it was within my power to get there. And many times a day I shut my eyes for just a moment and pictured the large time clock at the finish line in complete detail: orange stand on wheels, red numbers on a black background reading 4:00:00, my desired finish time of 4 hours. What this can mean for you: What connotation does “trying to lose weight” have for you? Do you ever see and feel the end product, or do you only think about how difficult it might be and what you’ll have to give up to get there? Let me tell you, it’s a lot more fun to take your mind to that place where you’ve already reached the goal and you’re enjoying the harvest from all the seeds you’ve planted. Bob Proctor, who has coached many people to financial success, says, “If you see it in your mind you’re going to hold it in your hand. Thoughts become things.” This definitely worked for me. But would you feel silly picturing yourself looking and acting in ways that are inconsistent with your current reality? I have an answer for that one. I think of it as rehearsing for some future moment. Practicing, if you will. During my Air Force career I had to give many briefings to colonels and generals, and going into it cold was usually bad news. So I spent time going over (and over, and over) my presentations in my mind until I knew exactly what I would say and how I would say it. The more time I spent practicing, the more things turned out exactly as I saw it in my mind. If you want to see that thinner person emerge in reality, spend time BEING that thinner person in your mind. 3. Shut out the negative. My decision to run the marathon rested on one person telling me he believed I could do it. I spent my first few training days focusing on this positive feeling as well as the second vote of confidence I received from my husband. After a few running sessions my trainer said, “I think you’re going to do all right,” and it fueled the fire of belief inside me. A few days later, I had a cold bucket of water thrown on me, threatening to squelch that fire completely. I surprised my long-time running partner by telling her of my intention to run the marathon with only 2 weeks training. Her initial reaction was, “Why in the world would you do that?” So much for votes of confidence. Having run 7 marathons herself she threw up all kinds of objections—you really need more long training runs; you might get injured; if you have a bad experience you’ll never want to do it again. She is normally such a positive person that I knew it was killing her to say these things but she felt she was looking out for my best interest. Hmm…here was a seed with potential for growing into something much bigger, but I knew I didn’t want what was going to grow out of this one—kind of like kudzu or poison ivy. But is started to take hold anyway. I’ll admit it—I was irritable the rest of the day. I snapped at my kids for doing things that wouldn’t have bothered me two hours earlier. Previously I was able to squash any doubts that entered my mind, but now I was letting them get to me. After a full evening of this I said enough was enough. I went back to visualizing 4 hours on the time clock and it pushed the doubts away. The next morning I ran with my friend and after about 15 minutes of my stubbornness she agreed that I probably would be able to do it—all was well again. When I talked to another marathoner a few days later I cut him off whenever he was on the verge of saying something negative. I knew he had his doubts but I hadn’t let them become my doubts—and that was a huge victory. What this can mean for you: I think in order to have success in anything your belief has got to outweigh your doubts and fears. In my case, I started with strong belief that was later challenged by external sources of doubt. It’s a shame that often when it comes to weight loss the sources of doubt are internal, compounded by every failed attempt in the past. Take a look at how you talk to yourself. Are you celebrating your victories and being your own cheerleader, or are you deriding yourself for your failures and fostering doubts and disbelief? How do you benefit from the latter behavior? Really. Stop and answer that question. From where I stand, it does nothing for you. If this is how you’ve been operating you’ve been sabotaging your success. SO STOP IT NOW! Think of your conscious mind as a traffic cop. YOU have control over what thoughts are allowed to pass through and linger in your consciousness and what thoughts you need to shut out immediately. Does this thought fuel my belief in myself? Okay—let that one in. This one doesn’t? Sorry—road closed. Exercise, food choices, portion sizes—all of these have their place in the equation, but the majority of the weight loss challenge takes place in your mind. Make sure you’re on the right team.
This is such a wonderful post. I'm here sitting in my office on this cold miserable English morning and reading this has made my day. It has given me the confidence to sign up to the half marathon I have been umming and arrring over.
Even when things are tough and not what you expected, you can push yourself to reach the goal!!
Thank you. What an inspirational story. My first maratahon is in ten days and you will be right in front of me the whole way.
12/31/09 3:45 A
Thanks for the inspiration. I've dropped out of the Spark this past year because so many things happened that I couldn't stay on line with the program. I plan to rejoin in 2010. I want to run a race with my grandchildren.
Fitness Minutes: (12,697)
2,897 12/31/09 3:39 A
You truly are a winner.... for sharing such an inspirational posting. I am not a runner, by no means. Reading your posting I felt so compelled in other areas of my life.
It is someone like you, who makes a difference. A finisher is an achiever, it isn't how fast or slow you go. You did this, showing it can be done, even in the snow and cold.
You have offered many helpful benefits here with great insite.
Thank you so much for sharing a great experience.
Happy Holidays to you and everyone, hugs, Paula :)
staying positive with a good attitude, shows a great character of self.
Fitness Minutes: (12,615)
1,605 12/31/09 3:39 A
Congratulations and thank you for sharing your inspirational experience. Mine was joining Toastmasters (terrified of public speaking - I can sing, dance, act but it was not public speaking). I learned so much about myself and others - it is okay not to be perfect, just keep on trying. For just trying, I always was thanked for getting up in front of people to speak. Again, many thanks.
Fitness Minutes: (18,492)
12/31/09 3:36 A
Wow! for sharing your experience. It was powerful even for a non-runner like me. You had me in tears and vowing to be as committed in 2010.
I can't for a minute imagine running or for a second running in the snow...but your lessons put the whole thing in a context I can use in my own goals and daily struggles.
Again, You did Your writing is well done. Keep on Sparking.
Thank you so much for this inspirational message! I am currently training to run a half-marathon (my first race ever) with a wonderful group of people. We are all running in Los Angeles this Spring to try to raise awareness and support for an incredible organization called the Fistula Foundation which is changing the lives of women in developing countries. While our cause in a great source of inspiration, we all still have days when it gets tough to push through and make it to that next mile. I am going to be e-mailing all our runners your wonderful story. I am quite sure that it will motivate them the way it has motivated me and we'll all be training that much harder in the new year as a result. Thank you so much for this! Amy
Fitness Minutes: (2,532)
153 12/31/09 2:07 A
I cannot imagine running in the snow WOW. You have just inspired a future runner Now get some well deserved rest
Fitness Minutes: (8,633)
1,233 12/31/09 2:05 A
I have never been a runner, but you are quite an inspiration! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for your post. As someone just getting the 'spark' for health changes, your post has got me off to a good start. And you're right about when things don't go as planned. We always have the power to choose how to respond.
12/31/09 1:56 A
Great message - thanks for the inspiration! A great way to start 2010!!!
Fitness Minutes: (1,723)
1 12/31/09 1:55 A
Great story! I love the point about getting thanks after the race. There is nothing better than positive, genuine feedback and knowing that you have inspired others.
Fitness Minutes: (55,697)
2,171 12/31/09 1:16 A
Very Inspirational - thank you.
12/31/09 1:15 A
Great story, but honestly, it's time to turn those running shoes into ski boots and do that 5K with glide. You've definitely got the aerobics down, now just put poles in your hands and go for the rhythm of kick and glide. The most precious places on this planet you must ski to see.
You story is very inspiring. That is how I feel about exercising sometimes. It feels too daunting, but once you start and keep your eye towards the finish, you feel great afterwards. Thanks for sharing your experience us. I could feel the cold snow and your determination.
Fitness Minutes: (58,527)
14,359 12/21/09 12:17 P
Fantastic experience! I can't wait to run in my first 5k! Thanks for sharing your story here, when I read stuff like this, it relights the fire under me.
I loved the part about being able to change your goals without it meaning failure. That's an awesome attitude!
Fitness Minutes: (26,235)
1,001 12/20/09 5:07 P
What a Race!!
I woke up this morning knowing that I had a race ahead of me. I set some goals for the so-called Winter Waddle including a 10 minute mile goal. I'd come close before and hadn't hit the mark, but since it's been awhile since my last 5K and I have a couple of longer races under my feet, I felt confident that I was up to the challenge. I figured it would be just your typical 5K with lower temperatures since it's December in Minnesota and I'd want to run fast to get out the cold as quickly as possible... It was a nice theory, but the reality of the race soon proved that theory wrong!!
I got to the race in time to warm up, hung out in the clubhouse since they figured that we could stay indoors pre-race and post-race, and got ready to run. The race officials came in and announced that it was time to line up and all of the racers filed out to the starting line. And that's when it hit me-- this was no ordinary 5K race, it was a true Minnesota winter race and would be run entirely on the golf course in the snow measuring between 1 inch and 9 inches deep. Suddenly my easy afternoon race turned into something that I'd never imagined doing.
I started out strong and within a minute realized that my chosen pace was not going to be something that I could keep throughout the course. I ran up and over hills, turning my ankles as I broke through the top layer of unbroken snow, questioning whether or not the race organizers had noted this kind of course and I just hadn't read the race summary thoroughly enough. All I knew was that I had to keep running, no matter how slowly. I focused my eyes on the single track that had been tread by the pack ahead of me and kept my head down as the afternoon light faded, knowing that eventually I would reach the end and be an official finisher. I ran for what seemed like forever, and after the longest 5K of my life, I crossed the finish line in 41 minutes and 43 seconds-- my slowest 5K race by over 8 minutes.
The crazy thing is that even though it was my slowest 5K ever, other than my first one, it was by far the most rewarding. During those 42 minutes, I used many of the lessons I've learned on my journey to better health over the last 2 years and solidified my desire to continue to challenge myself.
Here are just a few of the things I relearned:
1. Even if you aren't the best at something, you can inspire others through actions, words and deeds. At the end of the race, a woman approached me at the finish line and thanked me. I'd never been thanked before at the end of a race, so I was pretty confused. I'd passed her a few times while she was walking and she would pass me when she would run. She told me that after awhile, she realized that we were about the same pace and she just settled in right behind me, watched my feet and ran the rest of the way on my heels. I thought that it was really cool that I could help someone finish. Much to my surprise, 2 other women came up to me at the end of the race and thanked me too. I soon found out that there was a line of 6 women running right behind me and I was their “mother hen.” How cool!!
2. When things don't go as planned, being positive, flexible, and patient with yourself will always help you move forward, even if it's not as fast as you wanted to go. The race was hard, but I changed my goals on the fly without thought that that equated to failure, allowed myself to slow down, stayed positive, and finished what I'd set out to do.
When you are consistent, you'll be more confident when things don't go as planned. Like I said earlier, I'd never planned to do a 5K in the snow. Fortunately, my training and the many other skills that I've learned on this journey gave me the confidence to continue even in the face of adversity.
When you meet a challenge, it will propel you forward to achieve the next one. Yes it was only a 5K, but after today, I'm no longer afraid of making the jump from the 10K races I've done to running a half marathon. It will be hard, but I know that I have what it takes to make it!
Thanks for reading and letting me share my experience with you! Happy journeys!
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