Finishing is Winning! My first 10K

It was Valentine’s Day, 2017, and I don’t think I had fully thought through the choice I had made. My foot was still bothering me, but there was hope it would get better and I needed to do some training and lose some weight to meet this new goal….but I pressed submit and signed up for the Disney World 10K for January 5, 2018 during Disney’s Marathon weekend.

I could do this. I had a plan.

I was going to walk, fast. I knew that. And it meant I needed to get back into fighting shape….I wanted to complete the 10k at a 13-minute mile pace…. I could do that…. After all, when I was younger I had completed a 5k at a 13-minute mile pace…. (but I am a little older now…ugh!)

The year went on and life got in the way.

So did fear.

I feared the pain in my foot returning and every little twinge since last February made me contemplate not being able to complete this race.

But I kept planning for the race…. Not really thinking about the complete picture and what it meant for me.

Not only was there fear about my foot and my back acting up, but there were some other deep-seeded fears beginning to bubble to the surface…and I kept pushing them aside, ignoring them.

After all, I had a plan—

–train for the 11 months leading up to the race

–follow what I know and love about Weight Watchers and drop the 20+ lbs I wanted to lose

–get to the race and get in the front of the corral to create a buffer between me and the 16-minute mile pace balloon ladies (the ones who pass you and then you get picked up because you couldn’t keep up the pace, but I wouldn’t have to worry about it because I would have a buffer and I would be going faster….)

–And finish!

And then January 2018 arrived and I decided my goal this new year would be to continue to step outside my comfort zone, to try new things and to continue to take the leap. And little did I know when I signed up for this 10k back in February that it would test all of this and more…..

I don’t like to do things on my own, especially things that I have never done. Yes, I go shopping and travel alone. I have done a lot on my own, but each time was a test for me to push myself outside that comfort zone and to see what I was capable of. The thought of doing something on my own scares me, makes me anxious, and has my mind finding excuses to NOT do those things. And though I have done things on my own, there are still some things I cannot do—go to a movie alone, go to a restaurant alone….. It is just completely outside my comfort zone……

And this race was testing me, scaring me and making me anxious. As we packed for the trip I realized I was going to be doing a 10K alone….sure there would be thousands of others out there with me, BUT I wouldn’t know them. I had never done this! I would be alone. I have walked this distance and more with friends and family….but…..never alone.

My mind was trying to find ways out of it….I was just getting over the flu. My foot might “pop” again. What about my back? It is going to be FREEZING!!

And then this morning arrived.

My husband drove me to the start at Epcot and walked me to the corral area. I was a NERVOUS WRECK!

Remember that plan I mentioned that I had when I signed up for this race….well…….

–I didn’t train. No. Not. At. All. Life just got in the way

–I didn’t lose the weight. Not. One. Ounce. Life got in the way

–I was in the LAST corral. And tried my best to get toward the front. I was somewhere in the middle of the corral….until……..

The race had started.  I waited for my corral to get the chance to go. We were last. But I could see a lot of people behind me. A LOT! And then the corral began to move to the start and they broke us into two waves. I knew I was far enough ahead in the coral that I would start with the first wave and create that buffer…..until……..I looked behind me…..there were only about 50 people there.

WHAT??? HOW did that happen?? I was now at the very back of the racers, thousands ahead of me…..and the balloon ladies were right behind me. CRAP! There goes my plan for a buffer!

And we were off. I took off. I didn’t look back. I focused on those in front of me, picking one person to pass. And then another one. And another. I was going to put space between me and those pacers and create a buffer.

I felt good. The first mile done. Then the second. And I knew that when I reached the 3 mile mark I would be almost half way done and would be in World Showcase in Epcot. As I turned the corner and saw the flames in World Showcase I knew I was half way done. I could do this!

I had passed a lot of people and with a quick glance back I felt I was doing well. So, I stopped for what should have been a quick bathroom stop…….and there was a line……..and that quick bathroom stop turned into minutes……..and I was finally leaving the bathroom, just as the bicyclist stopped to tell all of us in the bathroom we were now BEHIND the pacers…….

Ugh! That bathroom stop.

There went the last bit of my plan.

I was NOT going to let it stop me from finishing. So, time to adjust. They were 1 ½ minutes ahead of me at that time. Okay. I hadn’t come this far to ONLY get this far! I was going to FINISH this race ahead of the pacers!!

And I left that bathroom and ran.

Yep. There went the plan to just walk.

No training and now I was running (slow, but faster than my walk!)

I could see the ladies ahead of me. I had to stop running and walk fast for a bit, but even walking I was gaining ground. And then I ran again, getting very close. I could hear their conversation. I walked a minute and then ran again. I ran right past them. Me! I RAN right past those pacers. Now, to create some distance between me and those balloon ladies.

I focused on one person at a time to pass.

We ran around the boardwalk and then back into Epcot.   Mile 5 done! And when I looked back, I couldn’t see the ladies. I was building that buffer and passing a lot of people. Walking fast with short moments of running.

And then mile 6.  Emotions started building.

Only .2 miles to go. The longest .2 miles ever.

I rounded the corner. There was the finish line. Yes! I was going to finish!

And I jogged across that finish line! I did it! As I crossed the finish line, I told myself just how proud I was of ME!

I am not often proud of myself, really proud. This morning I was proud. I had pushed past the fear. I had pushed past the discomfort. I had silenced the excuses and negative thoughts. And I DID IT!

I DID IT!!

My husband was there at the finish waiting for me. The look on his face when he saw me, the pride in his eyes……brought me to tears. My husband believed in me even when I didn’t and he knew I could do it, even when I doubted. That hug was the BEST hug ever!

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I did it! I realized that by pushing myself out of my comfort zone I am so much more capable than I thought, I can do so much more. I can accomplish a goal even when the plan gets derailed. And when faced with the possibility of not finishing what I started, I found that my determination will get me there. I won’t quit! I will succeed!

I took a chance. I took the leap and I finished!

 

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Mindful

I have always been a “live in the moment” kind of person. I love to notice the world around me, to delight in the flowers, the scenery, the birds, the people….really everything. It doesn’t take a lot to bring a smile to my face or to make me happy….little things bring me great joy. And I have often been called “just a big kid” by my family and friends…..life is to be lived, enjoyed, experienced. Yet, there are times that being present is difficult. Times when I lose sight of the little things that delight me and I stop noticing the world around me……..And then I am reminded of just how important being mindful in life is.

In Weight Watchers meetings this past week we talked about being mindful. And yes, it got me thinking and evaluating how much time I have spent being mindful lately…..being present in the “now” instead of mired in the past or distracted by the worries of the future or the many “to do’s” on my ever growing list or distracted by the many electronics and instant access tools in my life.

Last weekend as I prepped my meetings for the week I asked myself the questions I was preparing to ask my members…..what does Mindful mean? How am I mindful? When is it difficult to be mindful? What keeps me from being mindful?

I discovered that I need to spend more time in the present….paying attention to and noticing the world around me….now…..not next week, not yesterday and not tomorrow. Here. Now. Present in mind and body.

I found that the events of this past year and the emotional rollercoaster have taken away some of my mindfulness, as I am filled with worry. I find myself on autopilot more often than not. It is hard to appreciate and notice those things that bring us joy when we are filled with dread and worry……and I realized I needed to be more mindful….intentionally mindful.

Why?

Being mindful means I am aware….whether it is my food choices, the amounts I eat or the activity I do or whether it is being fully present in the now……awareness keeps me in the “now”. Present.

Being mindful means finding joy in the moment…..even in the midst of the storm…..there is always something good, something enjoyable to find.

Being mindful means that I am not lost in the past or consumed by what is to come…..I am present, now. And that makes me happy. Being present and noticing the world around me keeps the worry of what is to come from robbing me of my joy now.

I decided last weekend, as I prepared my meeting and answered those questions that I would start that day, to be more mindful…..and that I would need to be intentional about it…..make myself do it.

And I started that day……

A friend of mine inspires me with her intentional mindfulness…….something she started a few years ago…..taking an Instagram every day as a way to notice the world around her. I love her idea! And I love her Instagram’s. It is with her inspiration in mind that I started to take one Instagram photo each day, making me pay more attention to the world around me. In doing this, I have found that I am not just noticing the things I am taking pictures of. I am also noticing– the variety of shapes in the monsoon clouds, the quail scurrying across the road, the lizard resting in the sun, the spider web on the bushes that glistens after the rain, and I am paying attention to the people around me as I go about my day, even talking to many of them…….all things that make me smile.

I have also started my mornings differently, in order to bring my mindfulness to getting in touch with me, centering myself before the day starts. Instead of starting my day with the news and the internet, I have begun to start my day in my favorite chair, in my favorite room in our house. And I read…..my devotionals, my bible……and I pray. Starting my day with intention and mindfulness, being in touch with “me” has given me a sense of calm and brings me to the now, the moment, and makes it all so clear. A much better start to my day, even if it means rising a little earlier to have this time to myself.

Being mindful is a way to take a step back from the craziness of my fast paced life and get back in touch with the things that make me smile, bring me joy and bring a calm to my day.

Being mindful is another way to just breathe……

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchors

When thinking about Anchors, one usually conjures up images of anchors used by ships and boats to keep them from drifting in the current of the river, sea, bay, etc. Those anchors keep them from moving……forward, sideways or backwards. I grew up with a dad who loved boating. We would take his boat out in the summers for days, sometimes weeks, exploring the Washington and Canadian islands. And we used the anchor to keep us in place in quiet inlets, near isolated islands that we would row our dingy too so we could explore them. The anchor kept us from drifting and kept us safely in protected areas…..safe from rough open waters, and safe from getting lost at sea while sleeping the night away.

Yes, anchors were necessary.

And anchors in our personal lives are just as necessary.

I spent this past week leading my Weight Watchers members in discussions about our “whys” and about anchors.

An anchor is something that grounds us to our “why”, our motivation. An anchor is a reminder of where we want to go, how far we have come, the things we have accomplished and what is important to us. An anchor can be a strong motivator.

Anchors come in many forms…..Things we can see, touch, feel, smell…..Things that we say to ourselves…..The people in our lives……Things we visualize in our minds. These anchors are important in reminding us just how much we CAN do, HAVE done and what we WILL do.

I shared in my meetings some of the anchors that I used on my journey to reach my goal weight and some anchors I still use to keep me from going back to where I started, going back to my before….something that I could easily do if I did not have the tools, skills, motivation and anchors that keep me grounded to, or anchored to, why I started this journey, what I have learned and where I want to be in the future.

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During my weight loss journey, my anchors kept me moving forward, especially after I discovered the POWER that an anchor has in keeping me motivated. My first REAL anchor on this journey with Weight Watchers was given to me by my leader—a popsicle stick to remind me to “Stick to it”. THAT popsicle stick was instrumental in leading me to my “aha” moment…the moment that changed the course of my journey….when I realized that I didn’t think I was worth the effort. And that realization led to another anchor—a phrase said every morning while looking in the mirror….”I am Worth It”. Both of those anchors play a role in my life today.

Other anchors came into play throughout my journey to my goal weight—my Weight Watcher “bling”—kept where I can see it and bling that I continue to add to today as I continue attending meetings as a member, a reminder of how far I have come. And my before picture…..a POWERFUL reminder of just how far I have come, physically and mentally. After reaching my goal, a special necklace given to me by my husband many years earlier, became a strong, emotional anchor….I had never been able to wear the necklace….I was far too big…….and then I put it on. It FIT. It was perfect! I cried……tears of joy, pride and tears for the girl who had been so lost before. This necklace still inspires me and motivates me.

I have anchors that remind this once exercise phobic girl, that I CAN accomplish an activity goal—my 5K medal from my first Disney World 5k race, a strong reminder of the HUGE sense of accomplishment and the incredible PRIDE in doing so. And a Half-Marathon medal that I have not yet earned, that is kept safely set aside as a reminder of the commitment I made to my family and to myself and that I WILL accomplish this goal and EARN this medal when I am healthy enough to do so.

And this week as I talked, listened to the members and reflected on my motivation and anchors, I realized just how important it was for me to continue to set goals, to challenge myself and to remember why I started this journey in the first place. Sometimes we forget why. Sometimes we lose our motivation. Sometimes we think that since we have reached our goal we are done…..but we are not. This is a lifelong journey and one that needs anchors.

I also found this week while contemplating and getting back in touch with my anchors that mine are not just about my journey with Weight Watchers. I have powerful anchors that remind me of what is important in my life, that remind me joy can be found even in the darkest moments….something that keeps me going and keeps me finding the pleasures in this life. Anchors that remind me that I have the strength to get through anything thrown at me……even when I doubt. And anchors that remind me how important my family, my friends and my faith are in sustaining me and bringing me joy.

A bracelet I wear often to remind me of my faith and family…….two bracelets too remind me to never give up and that anything is possible…..necklaces that remind me of hope and that I am worth it……t-shirts with positive, uplifting phrases, bought to inspire my exercise and worn to inspire my day and remind me just how strong I am…..a framed phrase on the wall to reminds me to trust my faith and to hold onto God’s hand when I am feeling weak…..a stone etched with my favorite bible verse reminding me that I CAN do anything, as long as I do it with God by my side…..Instagram photos taken by a dear friend and given to me, remind me of the beauty in the world around me and remind me to appreciate what is here, in this moment right now. There is always something beautiful!……..photos of my family to remind me just how very blessed I am to love them and be loved by them…….. and so many more reminders…anchors.

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Anchors that keep me grounded and connected to what is REALLY important to me and anchors that keep me grounded and connected to my support, my faith, my family and to just how much I CAN accomplish in this life.

Anchors give me the courage to take the leap and help me to just breathe when I am facing challenges.