The power of the finish line
I believe everyone should have a goal. Always. You can have professional goals, emotional goals, organizational goals but my absolute favorite kind of goal is an event goal. A goal where you put hard earned money down and say you are going to show up at a certain time and place and you will participate in something. Why do I like this kind of goal best? Because it's scary and it holds your feet to the fire. In occupying that spot on your calendar, it forces you to move your body, to train, to prepare.
Believe it or not, my first scary event was running a 5k about 5 years ago. Its funny to look back at that now because these days a 5k is a bit of an active recovery for me. I don't say that to brag but to share with you how far I've come. At the time of me writing this I'm staring down a schedule full of Ironman events that will have me running for hours but five years ago? Yeah, running a 5k was uncharted territory. I had somehow managed to navigate a lifetime of athletics (even as a college athlete) without ever having strung 3.1 miles together. I had told myself the lie that I just wasn't a runner when the truth was I had never put together a training plan that built me up slowly over time to even know what it meant to run for any amount of time at all.
Despite having no confidence in myself as a runner I got it in my head that I was going to attempt a 5K. I was a young mother and for some reason running seemed like something I could devote time to. I could run from my house. I could do it when my schedule allowed (so important with babies in the house) and I thought I could manage the training on my own. I found a program (Free! Online!) that took me from zero running to run/walking, to running a little more... to OMG I'm doing this! Was I fast? Hell no, but I'm going to share something I learned through this experience. On your event day (notice I didn't say "race day") they don't just cheer for the fastest people. They cheer for EVERYONE. I also learned that all that discipline, all that work, all that effort comes flooding back to you on the finish line and it is crazy emotional. I felt AMAZING that day. So amazing that I was completely hooked. I signed up for another 5K, and then a 15K, and then a ten miler and a half marathon.
Now here is the best part. As I was building my foundation I was also talking to friends and family inviting them to join me on this journey. "Do an event with me!" I would say. "We'll train, we'll get there. It will be amazing! You'll see." I must be have said something along the way that made people believe in themselves because people did actually start to join me. With every event more and more people started to show up and we have encouraged each other along. I'm so absolutely beside myself to announce, this upcoming summer a group of FORTY women and I will be meeting up in the great city of Philadelphia for a sprint triathlon. This is my third year doing this particular event and I am over the moon to help so many first timers get ready. We're going to cry happy tears on the finish and drink champagne toasting to our accomplishments. It truly will feel like Christmas in July and I absolutely cannot wait.
Now if you are reading this and want to follow in my footsteps, remember I started at nothing. I began my journey where all cardio activity, not just running, slaughtered me. The secret is I listened to my body. I recovered when I needed to and when I could I went back for more. When you make a promise to yourself, you honor that. You show up for yourself and when your day comes you don't hold back when you cross that finish line. You celebrate yourself, your hard work, your commitment.
Now go on, find your event, put your money down and put together a plan (and shoot me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a cheerleader. I got you.)