Life Lessons from a 1st 5k

I recently completed my first 5k run. Those who follow me on social media know that I started training for this months in advance. As a kid who couldn't run at recess due to asthma (my left lung collapsed twice) and as an adult managing chronic asthma, running was not an activity that I ever imagined I would enjoy or participate in. Not to mention I have had 4 left knee surgeries including an ACL replacement as a result of a cheerleading injury that never got repaired timely!

Preparing for such a physical challenge really opened my eyes to some valuable life lessons. The way you prepare for one thing is an indication of how you prepare for anything.

1) Set your own pace.
When you begin any new challenge, your biggest competitor is yourself. Don't worry about what others are accomplishing or at what speed they are accomplishing things. This is your new challenge and you are working towards your personal best. Someone boasted on social media that they didn't need to train for their race. I thought "Good for you but imagine what your time had been if you had put in the time and commitment to train."

2) Accept that setbacks will happen.
I started 2016 with a very ambitious challenge posted on facebook-90 miles in 90 days. On the surface I thought this would be easy; that averages a mile a day. Since we have a treadmill at home, I assumed I could easily reach this challenge. I didn't account for sick days, long days at work or simple lack of motivation. Listen to your body! If your body is telling you to sit this one out and rest, listen to it! For the days I missed, I added on those miles and am proud to say I did run/walk/jog 90 miles in 90 days but I went in thinking it was a done deal. Always mentally prepare for obstacles so you can overcome them when they occur.

3) Inspire and Impact.
Don't be afraid to share your goals or your progress. Those who perceive it as boasting or self promotion are shallow in scope. Your accomplishment can inspire someone else who would like to do what you have done. People should like to see their friends and family working towards a goal and they should contribute to that goal if possible. You are working hard; share your positive news with your circle. The world needs more of it!

4) Whatever you do, just finish!
I remember standing at the START line. I was in a new city (Philadelphia) and didn't know anyone at the race. I thought about backing out because I was getting nervous, scared and embarrassed. Then we all started off; some running, some walking and some jogging. My confidence soared when I passed others and my confidence dropped when others flew by me. It was humid and there were unplanned steep inclines on the path. I stopped to use my asthma inhaler and thought "Can I do this?" ABSOLUTELY. I walked until I got the strength to start running again. Whether you walk, crawl, run, jog or skip....just finish! Remember, you are competing to win against yourself. Your negative self speak is your only enemy.

It was an awesome feeling to have people cheer and celebrate as we crossed the finish line. This was about setting a goal and working hard towards it. I wasn't out to compete against friends or prove anything to anyone else. I used to run from a painful past but now I choose to run for a brighter future!


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