The Strength to Run the Race

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Michelene Cleary, aka MICHCLEARY

“True Strength is not brute force; it is a quiet decision to do whatever it takes to get the results that you want.” Yoga Magazine – March Issue

It all started out easy enough, the wellness challenge at the office that recommended participation with SparkPeople. That was nineteen months ago for me and I look back on that day as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Little did I know how much the decision to not only join, but participate with my whole heart, would change my life. As I write this blog I am down a total of 95 lbs and very close to my goal weight.

Earning SparkPoints through SparkPeople was part of the way to win the challenge, so I worked hard to get as many as I could in the beginning. That’s when I stumbled across this dailySpark blog by Coach Nicole. I was so inspired by her blog that I decided to run a 5K. I hadn’t run one in over 20 years and have never considered myself a runner. I talked my best friend into joining me and we ran together in November of 2009.

We had a good time at a very small race and decided to keep it up in 2010. We ended up running five races last year. Through it we’ve donated to cancer research, several other nonprofit organizations and have become runners. We’ve had some crazy experiences, run with Coach Nancy and other SparkDallas members, and have now added my youngest daughter to our running craze. Our goal this year is to run 12 races.

Through the experiences on SparkPeople I have realized that there is strength in numbers. If you look up strength in the dictionary you’ll find: the quality or state of being strong; force as measured in numbers (an army at full strength). I do have to have personal strength to pursue my goals, but I am continually supported by the friends/teammates on SparkPeople. They always inspire me to push beyond my normal limits, and give me the motivation when mine is at a low point.

I’ve added to running 5K's and on March 27th will be completing my very first half marathon at the Dallas Rock ‘N Roll event. I shared my goal on my blogs and with my teammates, and have had great support during training. I still hesitate when people call me a runner, usually qualifying it as my weaker sport. The benefit to me of sharing the goal is that it is out there and people hold me accountable to the spoken word. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said “Well done is better than well said.” Saying it compels me to do it.

So from the very first step on March 27th until I cross that finish line after 13.1 miles, I’ll be carrying the support of all my SparkPeople friends. It’s my intention to not stop until I have that medal around my neck and the word finisher after my name. I will owe part of that victory to Coach Nicole and her broccoli/running-loving ways.

What will you do this year that is a stretch goal? Who will you share it with?
Remember – "you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take" - Wayne Gretzky. Take a shot today and register for an event, try a new sport, or join a SparkTeam. We’re all here to support you, and in that you will find strength to make it through.

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LIS193 11/5/2020
Great! Report
SPINECCO 3/14/2020
Thanks for sharing. Report
RYCGIRL 2/15/2020
thx Report
Interesting Report
Signed up for the Bay Bridge in November. Report
I'm still a very brisk walker but I'll get there some day. Report
"What will you do this year that is a stretch goal? Who will you share it with?"
I am training to run my first 10k.
I too have been inspired by coach nicole's blog
Last year I ran my first 5 k.
I am sharing the run with my partner, and the details of training with my spark friends.
I am also inspired by you! Have a great run!
My New Year's Resolution was to do one 5k (as a minimum) very single month... I am 3 for 3 so far. My fourth is next weekend. May is a 24 hour relay. My final month? Half marathon in Vegas! Yup...I'm not waiting until I hit my goal weight! :) Report
Great comments and what an inspiration you are to your family--keep spreading the joy of running! I did the San Antonio Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon this past November and will do the Capitol 10K in Austin this weekend. I also believe there is strength in numbers--I drag my cousins along with me to run at each event.
Good luck with your 1/2 marathon! You are going to do well :-) Report
I have NEVER been very active. Over the years I've tried at various times, but never followed through, until now. I was lucky enough to retire at 49 and that's when I decided that I no longer had any excuses about work and that I really needed to do something before I was too old and did permanent damage to myself. So I did. I've been at it now for 6 years. I've taken a few rest periods for one reason or another, but have always gone back. Two years ago a friend told me she was planning to do a 1/2 marathon. I had been working out and felt good so I said, great, me too.

Had I know just exactly how long a 1/2 marathon is, I doubt I would have volunteered. But I did and when I committ to doing something, I do it, so I did. And I did another one the year after. This year I'm doing at least 2. What I find is committing to something like a marathon forces you to be consistent. I don't think anyone can just wake up one day and say "ok, I'm doing a marathon today".
Great blog Report
wow I like this blog a lot. I even like the Gretzky quote at the end too:) Thnx! Good job Report
Good Luck Saturday. What an inspiration you are! Report
This is such an inspiration like many people have said! I am running my 1st 5K in May and this motivates me even more! Thank you for sharing! Report
have a wonderful time - looking at the race map brought me back to the years when I lived in the Dallas area - you'll be in some nice areas!

my stretch goal? to run if my knees (one replaced one needing to be) will go for it Report
You are such an amazing woman and a huge inspiration to me!

You WILL finish the half marathon, you runner!!! Report
I'm running in my first 10K since the year 2000. Nervous and excited all at once!!! Report
I completed C25K last year & ran my first 5K this past September with much pride as I have never ever even considered that I had the capacity or the strength to run. I have been in hiatus since having discovered outdoor running. With spring around the corner, I restarted C25K last week. I am already considering my next 5K...Thanks for the inspiration... Report
Way to go with all of your work, your focus, and your continuing success! You are an inspiration to me! Report
You inspire me to. I need it. Report
I 'm doing the virtual 5k on here and have been training for 4 weeks and this week which is week 5 is the actual race week.
I was not losing regularly and excercising in an unorganized way. By following the training program on here I have been losing about a pound a week and have more energy.
I love my walking and it has been a stress relief and mood booster! Report
Thanks for sharing. Good luck with your half marathon! Report
Very good, indeed. Report
How wonderful. Your blog is definitely a motivator. I am hoping to participate in my first 5K this year. It actually makes me a little nervous to admit that. But, whoa, you've done wonderfully well. Congratulations.
TerrBear Report
Congrats on being the guest totally deserve that honor and many more. You have been such an inspiration to so many of us and I am so glad to call you my Sparkfriend! Report
I'm so impressed with your journey - congratulations!! I don't know what company you work for, but they are to be complimented as well. Report
You Go Girl!!! I never thought I'd be a runner either, but here I am training for a half-marathon too. Keep on Keepin' on!!! Report
I have a delima. I use to smoke and I signed up for the 5K challenge. I now find it hard to try to run. The first week they suggest that you do a walk run combo. I can walk quit a distance but running is a challenge. What am I to do? Where should I start? Report
my goal is to run to see my sister. She lives 5 miles away. I have walked to see her but never ran. I usually run 5 days a week for an hour each time. so this will be different. Nice article. I will share this acomplishement with her when I get to her place. I will also call and tell Dennis of course. Report
I just completed my "stretch goal" today, running the Shamrock 8K. It was the longest I have ever run to date! Report
Good luck, like you I am running my first 1/2 marathon on May 7th in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Today I ran my first ever 7 miles with a great group of girls from Racine....keep up the good work and again good luck. Report
Wow, I'm so proud of you and honored to be one of your "sparkfriends".
Thanks for letting us know about your blog and having the link for us. I love earning sp points..hahah. Haven't been loosing weight lately but I always check in everyday to earn my points!!
Good luck with your race!!
Susan Report
I envy those wh run Report
Awesome. I know you will do great on your 1/2 marathon. Report
Omigosh! This is just what I needed to read today! I've been wanting to run a race for about a year now, but have let fear hold me back. I started seriously looking for one in my area this last month, and I found a Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure - which is exactly the kind of race I wanted to do, since my family has been personally affected by breast and ovarian cancers (we found out some carry the BRCA 1 gene).
I'm still not sure I'm going to do it, but I'm going to talk about it with family members, see if I can get a partner (or two!) to do it with me, and we'll see. Reading this just makes me feel like I really should go for it! Report
I really enjoyed and was inspired by your blog. Good luck with your half. Take it a mile at a time and enjoy the experience. Report
Awesome job and very motivating! I plan on a 5k this summer. Report
I'll be cheering you on on the 27th! Report
I aspire to be where you are with running! Thanks for the motivating post. Report

You should definitely consider yourself a runner. You run. Ergo, you are a runner.

I had a discussion with a friend on line about whether or not I was a "real" writer (the forum included a number of full time authors, including a number who were published) and she said "you write. There fore, you are a writer." It didn't matter if that writing was good or bad, or if I had published or was writing for my own pleasure, but I wrote--regularly and consistently--therefore, I am a writer.

And if I'm a writer, you are, by the same logic, a runner.

I don't have any new stretch goals this year, but I'm continuing to fence and that's plenty of challenge for me for now! Report
WTG Michelene - you are always so inspiring and good luck in your half marathon! You can do it! Report
GOOD Report
I registered for my first 5k today. I've said more than once over the past couple of years that I wanted to run a race but never summoned up the moxie to do so. Thanks to a SparkFriends blog today, I went and registered for a race on April 30th.

So inspiring! Thanks for sharing! Report
You have just given me the extra incentive that I needed to "push myself" into a 10k. (Just yesterday I was telling myself, I just can't do a 10k as I finishing up a 4 mile run) If I can do 4, I CAN DO 6.2! Thank you! Report
I saw a program on NOVA PBS-TV about training for a marathon and the group at five months ran a half-marathon and then went on for four more months to then run the full marathon. The doctors at Tuffs University determined that the group got 90% of the benefit by the time they did the half marathon after five months of training and going on for the full marathon only gave them another 10%, so they determined that a person was best to do the half marathon. Report
How awesome are you?!!!

My stretch goals this year are the triathlons I signed up for. I was widowed 3 years ago - and my husband was a triathlete. And I have worked so hard on my health in the last year and a half to feel well and be healthy for our kids. And now I am planning to pick up his torch and do triathlons! Report
AWESOME!!! Report
You ROCK girlfriend and you inspire me to train and run my own half marathon this year as well! No excuses.... Report