May 3, 2016
Another year older and another challenge. For those of you who know me well I am a goal setter and I LOVE to be outdoors. Exercise is yet one more way I can be outdoors and have fun. When a client of mine came to me last year and said she wanted to lose weight, get fit and run a 5k (3.1 miles) like she had a few years before I knew she was someone who was motivated. This is when that goal setting is put into practice. Together we set some goals and some timelines then got to work. Three months later she was ready for her 5k the City to Sea Race in Pismo. I and a good friend of hers agreed to run with her. She beat her training time by 6 minutes. Her next goal, run the Castle to Coast 8 mile run in San Simeon in January. Again piece of cake!! What would be her next goal? Well....I of course recommended the San Luis Obispo 1/2 marathon in May. Why not said I it's only 5 more miles! Her real challenge was just beginning. She already had a good training schedule going but continuing that with a sick husband and our El Niño giving us plenty of rainy days she had some doubts. She bought a treadmill for home but even that wasn't getting her the miles she needed as her husband was requiring more care. As race day approached she accepted the fact that she probably wouldn't run the whole 13 miles she would however, finish the race.
When we set goal for ourselves we also set up expectations. They can drive us forward or they can hold us back. Think of this as an experience. The prize at the end is personal satisfaction and the fact that you did complete it. The runners at the start and throughout the race generally are very friendly. We made small talk while waiting to start after getting up at 4:00am to catch the bus to the High School. She began to realize she was amongst an inclusive, not exclusive, group and yes the race day had finally come.
All went well for her first eight miles. She learned to breath deep on the uphills and take advantage of those downhills by taking longer strides. As she continued her journey she reminded herself to enjoy the route...the beautiful farms and views along the way. Her support friend was having knee trouble and she had to resort to walking but assured her she would be sending positive vibes the rest of the way....
Shorty after she passed the eigth mile she "hit the wall". During training she had not been able to go further than eight miles. Could she really do this she thought. Her legs were doing fine but she was running out of energy. Fueling her body properly now became very important if she was to finish. Her main concern, how much more could her body take? And... would it hold up for the next 5 miles? At mile 10 it became a struggle to just put one foot in front of the other and she still had three miles to go. Her right calf started cramping adding another strain. I decided to run ahead for the last two miles understanding that the finish was her time to put everything she had practiced to the test. It took her a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes to completed her first 1/2 marathon.
She now saw why it was all worth it. Something happens when you cross that finish line. The nerves are replaced with confidence. Empowerment and self satisfaction are two of the many benefits this experience gave her. The pain will be forgotten and replaced with the pride of the accomplishment. In that moment, she felt strong and invincible knowing she accomplished something she never dreamed she could have!"We all have dreams, in order to make your dreams become a reality it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self discipline and effort."