Friday, December 20, 2013

Anything you set your mind to, you can do!

It’s 5:30 am.  I can’t sleep.  My mind and heart is full of the events of yesterday and I just need to share.
It’s incredible when you set you mind to do something… you can do anything!!

Yesterday, I ran a half marathon in Hawaii.  In some of the most breathtakingly beautiful surroundings I have ever seen.   It was amazing.  It was hard.  It was emotional. The terrain was rugged.  It was hot.  It was fun.  And it was something I had never even dreamed I could do prior to this year.

In January, I signed up to do Bootcamp two times a week with Sarah Seads from Equilibrium Lifestyle Management. A google search for ‘fitness challenges Comox Valley’ lead me to her and I am forever greatful!   I had committed to twice a week, and a full on fitness challenge where I recorded what I ate, how much I slept, how much water I drank and how often I did cardio, resistance training and stretching.  That first 5am alarm rang, and I was ready to go.  Excited for my first class.  Excited to see the changes that I could make in 10 weeks.  That 10 weeks would end just before I turned 40 and that in itself was a motivator for me.  Turning 40 had me a little bit afraid, I am not going to lie.  But, I knew that committing to this challenge would lead me to that ‘day’ and I would be too busy thinking about taking care of me, to worry about the approaching “40”.

The challenge was amazing.  I loved it.  I loved bootcamp and I started to love early mornings.  5am alarms.  And, if you know me AT ALL, you know simply how crazy that in itself is.  I’m a night owl.  Typically working till 2 or 3am.  But this all switched for me.  I saw great results during that 10 weeks, both physically, cardiovasularly (that’s probably not even a word!) and emotionally.  I had accomplished something great and I was proud.  Turns out there were 4 other amazing people who were incredibly proud of their Mommy, and they got me something GREAT for my birthday to show me that!

I remember exactly where I was standing when Sarah mentioned it in early February.  “Team ELM will be travelling to Oahu to take part in the XTERRA World Championship Trail Race this fall.”  My ears perked up.  There was a 5k, a 10k and the championship 21k course.  My first thought was, I could go as the official team photographer. :)  I told Andy about it when I got home.  Since doing the Great Walk the first time, I had always wanted to do a ‘destination’ event.  I mean who wouldn’t love to go to a wonderful place to complete an event.  Then you just enjoy your time there afterwards.  As time passed, I thought, I could totally do the 5k! (I was also taking the ‘learn to run clinic’ at the same time and 5k seemed totally doable to me at that point.)  Time passed, I got stronger and more fit, and couldn’t stop talking about this event.  But, I was afraid.  Afraid that I couldn’t do it.  Afraid that I would let my ‘team’ down, because I was so slow.  Afraid to even think I was strong enough to do it.  So I talked about it as a ‘wouldn’t that be fun if only I wasn’t a slowpoke who can’t run’ event’.  And even the day before my birthday when I sat on the deck with my beautiful aunt having tea, I mentioned it, but never actually thought that anything would come of it.  I mean, I couldn’t run.  I could maybe run 5k, but that’s a long way to travel to run 5k.

But, in the meantime, my sweet husband was making a call to Sarah.  Telling her that I kept talking about this event. Asking her if she thought I could do it.  And signing me up.  BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER!!  40 didn’t seem so scary now!  I had a renewed love for fitness, a 5k training plan that had just finished and a super exciting race to look forward to in Hawaii!!  :)  And at that point, quite honestly, I was going to do the 5k.
As time passed I thought ‘maybe I could do the 10k.’  That was stretching it for me.  The day in May I paid Sarah for the balance of the training program for Oahu, I said “I’m thinking I’m gonna do the 10!  And Sarah replied, “I’m totally signing you up for the 21… you can do it!”  That day, on the way home, I had tears in my eyes.  But those were greatful tears.  Thankful tears.  And tears of disbelief.  I had Andy and Sarah and so many others around me who believed in me.  Much more than I believed in myself.   That’s a pretty powerful thing.  Pretty amazing thing, and something I am so greatful for.

Fast forward to August 17th.  The first offical Team Oahu meeting and start of our training plan.  Oh goodness I was nervous.  And excited.  We had a 14 week training plan to follow.  As I read down the page and saw the long runs getting progressively longer my heart started to race.  ‘What on earth am I doing here?’  22k?  That’s a long way to run!  And the disbelief started to creep in.  But as Andy reminded me on many, many occasions over the coming months… ‘Sarah is a great trainer, and she is going to train you and prepare you to do this… don’t be afraid, just do the training and you will be ready!’  And, I was!
Race morning came.  Team jerseys were on.  Tummy butterflies were flying around like crazy.  And I was excited/ nervous/ scared/ happy/ overwhelmed/ and every other emotion you could feel.  We got our numbers pinned on, took our team photo, and got ready for our warm up.  As we stood on the road, ready to head out for our pre-race run, music started to play.  It was the Biggest Loser theme song, (which gets me everytime I hear it) and when I heard the phrase “What have you done today to make you feel proud?” my eyes welled up with tears, I got choked up and I felt it.  Felt the most amazing chest swelling sense of pride ever.  I was so proud of myself.  I had done all the training, the preparations, and here I was standing, on Kualoa Ranch getting ready to run a half marathon with a team of amazing women.  I was PROUD.  Just to be there.  It was incredible!  And when I turned around Sarah said, “Why are you crying? Are you okay?  Are you having fun?”  To which I replied, “Yes.  I’m okay, and this is amazing.”  I was totally okay, not scared for one second, I just stood there and took it all in, the sights, the sounds the smells, the feeling of being a part of an amazing team, and the enormity of it all.  THIS was huge!  It was a pretty great feeling!  And, yes… I cried all over again as I wrote that!  It’s pretty cool.  Cause now, I’ve actually finished the race, and there’s a whole gamut of emotions that I feel following that!  That will be another post!  :)

I could go on forever about this process.  The event and all of it.  And I just may.  In another post.  But, what I was feeling as I woke at 5:30 was nothing short of amazing.  My heart is full, and I am excited to share.  Excited to tell you that anything you set your mind to, you can do!  Believe in yourself, and if you aren’t quite there yet, know that you have an amazing network and support crew of people around you that will, and already do, believe in you.  You really do!

Make a goal, and say it out loud.  It may be a whisper at first.  For me it was… I didn’t want to tell anyone that I had signed up for a half marathon, because I didn’t believe I could do it.  And I definitely couldn’t handle if someone said, or even thought, “What??? That’s crazy!  You’re not a runner!”

So I whispered it to one person, and then another, and another, and before I knew it I had this amazing group of people cheering me on.  Not one of them said “You’re crazy”  every single one of them said “Good for you, go for it!!”  And then I started saying it out loud, “Yep, I’m a new runner, and I am travelling to Oahu to run a half marathon!”  and the cheering got louder.  And stronger.  And I believed more and more.  So, know that if there is ANYTHING you want to do.  However crazy it may seem.  Just do it.  And know that you are braver, and stronger and more amazing than you believe you are.  You are incredible and I am cheering for you.  So if you need someone to whisper to… I’m here!

Love to all… thanks for sharing this with me!  Once I get home, I will post photos for sure!  For now, I’m off to enjoy the beach with the 4 greatest supporters of all!
Niki  xoxo

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