Last spring, Erin started Fit School. When asked to write 3 goals for the program, she came up with one BIG goal. Erin wanted to be able to run around the course to watch her youngest son compete at The Washington State Cross Country Championships and to still be able to breathe and enjoy. From the photo, you can see that she joyfully led the pack of spectators and got to see her son place 2nd!
Erin’s goal was BIG enough in her heart to help her get outside to run on really hot days and really rainy, wet, cold days. It also helped her to take almost 3 1/2 minutes off of her mile time!
So, what is your BIG goal? What do you want so much and makes your heart sing so loudly, that it will take you out the door for a walk or a run even on those not-so-perfect days? Write this goal down, put it into your phone to show up each day, put it on her nightstand, bathroom mirror, and computer. This BIG goal will help you get out of bed when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m. for your morning walk or help you refocus when you are tired after a long day in the office.
What is your BIG goal? Write it down right now. Do 1 tiny step in the next 24 hours to make that goal happen.
On the evening of November 15th, 8 Awesome Fit School Women crossed the finish line at the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. One of those women was my mom, Mary.
As you can tell from this photo, I am very proud of my mom. Her journey to the finish line in 3:36 was not an easy one. She has never been much of an exerciser, so a half marathon goal was a little extreme. The trip to Vegas was my gift to her for her 71st birthday. Along with a trip voucher, she got a 6-month training plan and race entry (I know a lot of you are thinking, “I’m glad that I’m not her mom”!).
My mom still lives in the rural Pennsylvania town where I grew up. Since she works as a care-taker during the night, she would drive to a neighborhood track after she got off work at 7am. Here is where she would power-walk each day before heading home to bed. This was a whole new routine from her busy, but pretty sedentary lifestyle.
During the 6 months of training, a lot happened. My mom broke her toe, her husband had some health issues, her knee replacement hurt, and she even got food poisoning the night before the race. Some great things happened too. We became closer by talking about training and anticipating having a vacation together, she actually started enjoying her exercise routine, and during her training and during the race, she did not complain once (at least to me!). Oh, she also lost 23 pounds!
My mom inspired me in a way I never thought possible. So, if you ever think you are too old, too heavy, too broken, too busy, or too anything, just think of Mary. You can do so much more than you think. Persevere and keep going. You got this!
This week, Shalane Flanagan set a new American record in the 10K road race. The record was set 25 years ago by one of my sheroes, Lynn Jennings. I’d like to share a story about Lynn and me, and the day I ran the best race of my life.
In April 1991 I was 21-years-old and on the starting line of the Penn Relays 10K race in Philadelphia, PA. This was my senior year at Penn State University and my last time competing in the relays. I was ready. I had trained. I had eaten right. Now, all I needed to do was run 25 times around the track as fast as I could!
The gun went off, and Lynn Jennings pulled ahead of the pack. I settled into my own pace, confident, relaxed, and enjoying the experience. All of the women were jostling for position, and I found myself in a pack (photo above) where I felt comfortable.
At mile 5, I found myself in front of my pack, breathing hard, but maintaining an even pace. I heard my coach calling my name and encouraging me to dig deep. Coming around the corner toward the lap counters, the crowd started cheering wildly. I could hear Lynn’s footsteps from behind. I picked up my pace. As we crossed the line together, she had won. I, on the other hand, had 3 more laps to go!
After that burst of adrenaline, I picked up my pace for those last 3 laps. I had crossed the line with an American Record Holder! My pack and I ran with our hearts for the last few meters of our race. As I crossed the finish line, I could see the clock. 36:33 – a 5:53 pace per mile and my personal best! I turned around to hug and congratulate the woman behind me. With tears running down her face, she thanked me for keeping the pace. We both had run personal bests!
So why do I tell you this story? No, it’s not to brag about my awesome 21-year-old self. It’s to share with you what I learned that day.
Run your own pace in running and in life. There are going to be people ahead (even lapping you!) and behind you. That doesn’t matter. Focus on your pace, your breathing, your footsteps.
When we focus on our own pace and don’t waste our valuable energy comparing ourselves to others, shoulding on ourselves, and trying to run a pace that is not our own, we end up not only doing our best, but we help others along the way. By being relaxed and settling into our pace, we allow and inspire others to find their stride.
So, I challenge you this week, when you come upon a difficult task, relax, breathe, find your pace, and do your thing. You’ve got this!