One woman described her foray into running, originally to help her lose weight. Over 100 pounds lighter, she’s now hooked, preparing for a half marathon, then a marathon with a goal of running an ultra event.
Another woman had loved running but was forced to give it up with painful shin splints. After going to a trainer to work on her strength, she’s back to running 5Ks and couldn’t be happier about it.
Those are the stories which made me leave Syracuse with a big smile on my face. As part of Diva Night at Fleet Feet in Syracuse, I shared my story of becoming a runner and triathlete. But I think I got the better end of the deal, because I left completely inspired.
A number of women were preparing for the marathons in Disney — either the full or the half. For some it would be their first at that distance. For others, another challenge.
Some had completed their first triathlon this year and were thinking about adding distance running in the future.
Others were running 5Ks or just getting started. They were the women whose eyes grew wide and a bit glazed as they heard me relay my story of running my first marathon. They wondered how I decided to run a marathon.
Because there was no grand ah-ha! moment. No lightbulb over my head. No divine sign. It was really just a whisper. Just a small statement that came from inside of me: Maybe I can do a marathon.
The thought kept coming back to me. And instead of dwelling and analyzing, I decided to go with it. Something was calling me to try. Was it scary? Yes. But the scary was only on the surface. It was the knee-jerk reaction carefully formulated over the past 30-some years. If I let the scary part pass over, I found excitement and energy. I found myself wanting an adventure and a challenge and smiling from ear to ear, even as I had no idea what the training or race would be like. I would work those details out. Action which comes from your authentic place always is the most fruitful.
And that’s how I ended up deciding to run my first marathon. It’s how I decided to do a 70.3 race then an Ironman. Scary? For sure. Challenging? You bet. But deep inside me was the voice that said, “Let’s try this.” And she has yet to be wrong.
That being said, not everyone wants to run a marathon or do an Ironman. Some people love the 5K distance or sprint triathlons. And I celebrate with them. (OK, yes, sometimes on the course I can get a little bit of an attitude toward some shorter distance participants when I’m doing a longer distance. But it’s just because I’m cranky in the moment!)
You don’t have to be a marathoner or Ironman. I vividly recall when a 5K was stepping way, way outside my comfort zone. Some days, it still is outside my comfort zone.
Listen to what you really want to do. Let yourself be a bit uncomfortable. And see where it leads.