About 2 months ago I decided that I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. And I’m not talking about my business, I’m talking about my personal life, but it relates to business as I’ve learned lessons along this journey.
The commitment I publicly made to my friends, family and Facebook connections was that:
I was going to RUN a 5K race before my 41st birthday this coming October.
Now some of you may say “A 5K, that’s 3.2 miles, no big deal” and for others you might say, “I can’t run 3 blocks much less 3 miles.”
Now here’s the deal. I HATE working out. I’ve tried off and on for the last 12 years to try to get into it at the urging of my spouse who is an avid workout person and an athlete. Really, I’ve tried and I’ll do a year here or 6 months there and somehow I always fall back off the wagon and drop the consistent workout routine. It’s not that I don’t want to be healthy, I just find working out boring. I just never enjoyed it.
Then why in the world would I publicly commit to something like this?
Because I thought it would be FUN. And fun motivates me. I’m going to share the story and some lessons learned so far.
I am a driven person. When I commit to something, I mean fully commit, not halfway commit, then I am all over it like a dog with a bone. I made this commitment to myself in a serious way so I knew it was something that would be achieved. However — it has been more FUN sharing the journey with my friends, family and connections. Life should be as FUN as we can make it.
Any you know what? That goes for business too. If you’re not having fun and you hate what you’re doing…find something else, transition to something else. Life’s too short.
So, in late May, my husband signed us up for a 5K run in June sort of as a tester for me as I’d be only about 1/2 way through my training program called Couch to 5K. His thoughts were that it would give me an idea of what to expect and get a feel for the race I want to do in August/September.
So, I’m 5 weeks into my training and I get sick. I mean really sick for 10 days plus where I could barely breathe. After the ten days I finally feel better.
Now, race day is only about another 10 days away from that point and I’m freaking out because I hadn’t been able to run for 10 days…zip, nada, not a step. Its kinda hard to run when you need to be able to breath and can’t get your lungs filled with air.
What did I do? I didn’t waver on my commitment. I was doing the race no matter what, even if I had to walk part of it or whatever. After all, this was just the first of many and I still had time on my goal…it’s only June and October is still a few months away. I kept my eye on the ball and didn’t let my fear get to me. I just decided I was going to do the best I could where I was and give it my all, NO EXCUSES style.
Just like in business, we get stuck or something tries to deter us we need to work through it and keep going.
Race day comes. It’s pouring rain out and I’m thinking, ‘What did I sign my self up for?’ ‘Can I really do this, am I crazy?’ Some fear, some nerves. And then I remind myself: ‘You’ll all in on this, quit whining, it’s just a little water.’
Now mind you, in my training I am only up to about 2 miles that I can do consistently.
Hubby and I set out for the race location. I remind myself it is only 3.2 miles and worst case I take a break and walk a bit. Bottomline: I knew I would finish the race and that was the outcome I wanted for this particular event. I wanted to finish, I wasn’t out to win, just get a feel and finish. Dipping my toe in the race experience.
We get there. I’m pumped:
This picture was taken 30 minutes before the race began.
Hubby says: “Ok dear, we start together, we finish together”. Remember, he’s the athlete, 3 miles is no problem for him. The race begins and I’m feeling good. I go about the first 1.25 miles. My side starts to hurt and my heart feels like it is going to explode. I push. I make it about another .25 miles and stop to walk and catch my breath for about 45 seconds. I start again. I make it another .25 miles. Then we hit an uphill. My side hurts. I have to walk again. Each time for about 30-45 seconds just to catch my breath.
The water station is now in front of me and I think I’ve never been happier. We jog up to it and walk through it.
I grab my gatorade and energy pouch thing. I was hot. My throat was dry. It tasted like crap but I was so grateful for anything wet at that moment.
This is at the 2 mile mark. I turn to my hubby and say…only a mile to go. He smiles…homestretch now!
I muster all my energy and we start running again. I swear my left side hurts and now my right side has a cramp. I think I’m a wuss and power through. Body over mind.
Another 1/3rd of a mile, I have to walk again. Hubby’s with me still. I tell him to go ahead. (He can run 3 miles easy). He says “NO. We start together we finish together.”
After this last 60 seconds of walking I see where we are on the route and I know that I’ve run this last stretch in my training multiple times. It’s now or never. I can finish the last 2/3 mile and I know it.
We go, I skip to my FAVORITE running song on iTunes. “She’s a Beauty by The Tubes”.
3 blocks to go — I’m almost there. 2 blocks to go, I do my best to smile for the photographer.
Round the corner — there’s the finish line. My mind can’t believe it, my body is so excited.
I speed up those last 20 feet….cross the finish line, do a fist pump and am amazed at what I’ve just done.
I achieved my goal. My outcome. What I set out to do. Holy Crap — I made it!
I wanted to run as much as I possible could and the outcome was to finish no matter what.
(This picture was taken about within a few minutes of crossing the finish line.)
Why did I do this? I did this for me. It was a personal thing. I’m not getting any younger at 40 and I’ve needed to find something exercise wise for years. I believe running is it. I’ve fallen in love with it. Thing is, I set myself up for success not failure. I knew in the beginning there would be fits and spurts.
And what running this test race before the “big one” later this summer was for was to give me an idea of what to expect. I dipped my toe in the water. Now I know where I need to train and practice. Now I know what I can work on to improve.
Just like in our business. Many of us want to know and do it all right upfront but that’s not possible unless we learn, train and practice. If you’ve never been an accountant before, you can’t be expected to pull together massive financial reports overnight. If you’ve never been a salesperson, you can’t expect yourself to make a zillion sales overnight.
Just like I am becoming a runner over time, one can become a marketer or a business person over time.
Set your mind to an outcome, find the support you need and then go for it.
Let yourself get past the fear — you’ll be surprised what can happen!
I came up with this saying years ago: “I believe in taking leaps of faith — sometimes the other side is closer than you think.”
If you found this inspiring or helpful, please share it with another person. You never know who you can help with a simple share.
I’d love to hear any other lessons you may recognize. There are more, I just couldn’t write about them all.
Oh — and I should let you know….I came in 2nd place for my age group. (Totally shocked me!)
Now I train for September!
Thanks for sharing my journey!