Circle of Inspiration

Yesterday morning I completed another 5k, the She Power 5k.

20190128_152212_hdr copyI had signed up for this 5k back in July 2018.  A while ago.  I had done this race in February and loved the race and the medal, so I knew I wanted to do it again.  And the medal this year was beautiful!  Who doesn’t want the bling from a race, isn’t that why we do it?  Well I also signed up with the intention that this was going to be a PR for me.  My fastest 5k race was in January 2009, 10 years ago.  I was 10 years younger and 20 lbs lighter and had trained for a couple of months.  6 months was plenty of time to get ready to make this 5k a Personal Best.  Sometimes the greatest intentions don’t always work out…..

I did not prepare for this race other than a couple of walks here and there and a 5k in November that told me I was REALLY out of shape…. But I still had time.

Everything was pretty much stacked against me for yesterday’s She Power 5k… no training, extra weight, my husband wouldn’t be able to be beside me and encourage and motivate me along the way…. Yes, things were stacked against me.  And thoughts did enter my mind that maybe I would just walk and set a goal for next year, putting off my goal for a future date.  The problem with that is that the future date usually doesn’t arrive.

Yes, circumstances, lack of preparedness and my thoughts were threatening to keep me from this 5k, until….

My Circle of Inspiration.

We all have a Circle of Inspiration, made up of friends, family, co-workers, strangers we meet or see on TV or read about, individuals who walk into our lives for a moment and so many more.  Many individuals form our circle, inspiring us along the way.  And we find inspiration and give inspiration within this circle.  The great thing about a circle is it has no end; the inspiration is all around us.  What a wondrous thing to be able to find inspiration in so many ways, from so many different individuals.

I have a wonderful and wide-spread Circle of Inspiration I can draw from.  And it is in this circle that I find the strength to fight on, to work harder, to keep going when all I want to do is quit.  Whether it is about just getting through my day, getting out of bed, stepping outside my comfort zone, continuing my journey of health, facing hard things in life or crossing a finish line when I don’t think I can, inspiration is there.  My husband, my sons, my daughter-in-law, my extended family, my friends, the strangers I have met and so many others inspire me to just do it, to take the leap and fly!

20190127_073024 copySo, with everything against me, what made the difference for me yesterday morning was these ladies, part of my Circle of Inspiration.  Some had done a 5k before and for some of them this was their first.  And they inspired me on my journey.

When I worked as a WW Coach (formerly known as a Weight Watcher Leader) I had the privilege of getting to know many individuals who inspired me every day, every week.  These women met in meetings I led.  And I was blessed these past couple of years to have been a part of their journey.  I have laughed with them, cried with them, celebrated with them, and commiserated with them.  And I have had the privilege of getting to know their individual stories.

Each of these women came to this race yesterday for their own reasons and with their own goals, inspiring each other along the way.  That Circle of Inspiration.  Some struggled with physical limitations, and some faced mindset challenges, yet each of them was willing to set aside the challenges that could have kept them from walking this 5k and instead they chose to step outside their comfort zones.  I have often said that stepping outside that comfort zone is where our greatest growth happens, and these ladies were proving that to be true.  Having the privilege of knowing their personal stories gave me the strength to show up and to cross that start line.  And they gave me the courage to push myself beyond what was comfortable so that I could finish strong.

We gathered before the race and lined up at the start together.  When it was time to go, we went at our own paces.  Each of us had our own personal goal we wanted to reach.  And that was scary for some of us, maybe for all of us.  But because of this Circle of Inspiration, because of the support we found in each other, we were able to push forward.  One-step-at-a-time, literally!

I was inspired by all of them, whether it was their first race or one of many…. I was inspired by their enthusiasm and excitement at completing a race.  I was inspired by their determination to push past the physical barriers that had kept them from even 20190128_152234_hdr copydreaming of doing a 5k race, those physical barriers that at one time kept them from even walking around a block, let alone 3.1 miles.  I was inspired by how they changed a mindset from “I can’t” to “I think I can” to “Yes! I can”.  I was inspired by the support and encouragement they showed each other.  I was inspired by those who conquered their fear and were willing to do this race with little preparation. I was inspired by seeing the empowerment that comes from believing in oneself.  I was inspired by the resolve to finish faster than the last one.  I was inspired by their faces, the joy, the pride after finishing this race. I was inspired by the courage shown to finish a race despite a fall and injury, and not just finish it, but finish strong, something I am not sure I could have done.

To say that these ladies inspire me is an understatement.  Each one of them is an inspiration and I am so very blessed to know them and be encouraged by them!

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Congratulations, my friends! You thought you could and you did!

We all finished this race yesterday morning, proud of each other and proud of ourselves.  We each met or exceeded our personal goals.  And yes, we are ready to do it again!

I know that without these ladies I would have still done this race, but I am not sure how hard I would have pushed myself without my Circle of Inspiration, those who inspire me every day in my life and these ladies who gave me the strength and courage to push myself faster and to see what I was capable of.

I didn’t finish with a PR, but I finished faster than the She Power 5k 1 year ago and faster than the 5k I did in November.  I walked and I ran, knowing these ladies were somewhere amid the sea of women and they were pushing themselves too.

I was just 3 ½ minutes slower than my fastest race 10 years ago……imagine what I can do with a little inspiration, a little training, and being a little healthier….  Next year will be my year, I have no doubt!

With a vast and far reaching Circle of Inspiration, WE CAN…. I CAN …do anything!!

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Choosing Me

My heart was racing. Anxiety was building.  Was I really going to do this?  Really?  But what if I can’t?  I know it is going to be really hard.

The fear was creeping into my brain, threatening to change my mind, to hold me back from doing something I had agreed to do.

How often in my life have I let my fear rule my choices? Far too many times. 

“may your CHOICES reflect your hopes, not your fears” –Nelson Mandela

This quote that I read last week in my new Fitness journal came back to me in the moments leading up to my hitting the “confirm” button. Was I going to let the fear stop me, or was I going to choose to follow my hope, the faith in my ability and the faith my husband had in me? 

Another quote I read recently stuck out in my mind:

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As I clicked on the confirm button, my excitement grew…..I am going to do this. I have made my choice.  I am going to let fear mean that I am facing everything and rising!  I am going to do this despite my fear of failure, fear of disappointment, and deep down my fear of succeeding, of being proud of me. 

I did it. I registered for my first half marathon.

I made my choice and I have chosen me.

Finding Peace in a stressful world

IMG_4028 copy“Me time” is so very important yet it feels so selfish. 

Life can be stressful making it hard to take care of “me”, making it hard to sometimes find some peace. 

We talk a lot about taking care of ourselves in the meetings that I lead and how important it is, yet we can get lost in the day-to-day of our lives and in the stresses. 

This morning I decided I was finally going to take some time for me…..some time to do something I enjoy, simply because I ENJOY it.  I grabbed my camera and I headed out to Riparian Preserve, an oasis in the middle of the city I live in.  This oasis makes me forget about all the “stuff” that clutters my mind.  I walked the trails, sat on the benches and enjoyed the birds and rabbits that call this preserve home. 

In this place, in the midst of the city, I found peace.

Believe

All week I have been talking in Weight Watcher meetings about Believing in ourselves and turning our negative thinking into positive thinking so that we can continue down the road toward what we are striving for. Believing in myself and my worth was key to my weight loss.  There are times when doubts creep in and the negatives become louder than the positive, but we learn the strategies to turn our thoughts around.  And sometimes we get a little reminder that we need to believe in ourselves, that we are worth it.

 Tonight I got one of those reminders.

I had had a rough day and came home from leading a meeting to find a package in my mailbox. I dumped everything on the counter, kicked off my heels and opened the package.  The package was from a very dear young lady who has been like a daughter to me and her little girl who is very much like my own grandchild….I was excited to open this unexpected gift. 

 Inside was a note congratulating me on my training for my half marathon and some very sweet words and inside the boxes were a chain and a charm to put on the chain….it said 13.1 on one side and fearless on the other side…..and my tears flowed….happy tears, amazed tears and tears of realization.

Every journey I have taken in my life has brought me some new insight into who I am and how the events of my life have affected me. And just when I think that I have learned it all, something happens, a new journey starts, a gift shows up in my mailbox and a new realization enters my realm. 

Until I received this precious gift I did not realize how much I needed to have someone believe in me—the kind of belief that comes out of the blue, unexpectedly. I also realized that I didn’t know how much I needed to believe in myself, how much I needed someone to believe in me all those years ago, when as a child or teen I wanted to step outside my box and try something new. 

In Weight Watchers meetings we talk about anchors, the tangible things or the imagined things that remind us why we are doing what we are doing, that remind us we can do it and help us to believe in ourselves. I had many anchors throughout my journey of losing weight and discovering “me” and now I have a new anchor to remind me to believe in me!

Don’t let my head get in the way of my heart

day 1

Today I began my training.  The Half-marathon is in one year which is plenty of time to train.  If only my head would get out of the way…..

My husband and I walked this morning.  2.6 miles is not a lot when compared to the 13.1 miles I am committed to doing next January.  And I have walked many miles over the years, enjoying some of those walks and dreading others.

Today I realized that I am letting my head get in the way.  I can come up with all kinds of excuses to get me out of this–it’s too cold…I am hungry….I am tired…it’s too cold…..I have a year, why do I need to go faster now?……I have a year, I can start next week (and next week will never come)…it’s too cold! 

And then it hit me as we walked and as I complained when my husband suggested that we speed up a little between the light poles, that my head gets in the way of a lot of things I want to do.  The little voice inside my head that says I CAN’T do this.  The voice that always said I would never accomplish anything…..I wasn’t worth it!  That voice still lives in my head and has been there since I was a little girl.  I have found ways through the years to quiet that voice, almost vanquishing it completely.  Today, that voice popped up and I listened, for a minute.  And then I went on.

My dad’s voice will no longer keep me from accomplishing the things I want to do in my life. 

The second step in the journey of 13.1 miles and more importantly, in the journey of living life this year and breathing, is to not let my head get in the way of my heart! 

I am going to do this and so much more this year!