I am hardly in shape. In fact I have a lot of work to do. But slow progress is still progress. At least that’s what I hear. So when one of my good friends suggested we do a 10k walk/run together I initially told her no. I actually said, “I love you and you’re my hero, but I’d have to be picked up off the street!” She is very convincing, though, so after some back and forth texts, I reluctantly agreed. I also told her I wasn’t sure if she was a good or bad influence…
For about a month I made sure to go to the gym and hit the cardio hard, but I honestly should’ve trained a lot harder. As the event got closer, I started to get nervous. I began to overthink the whole thing and had some doubts on if I was going to physically be able to complete this race. A 10k is 6.2 miles all at the same time. When I went to our business conference last month I walked well over that amount daily, but it was over the course of the day with breaks in between for classes and parties and food! I complained online about the 10k so much a friend even reached out to the organizer to see if I could drop down to the 5k…but I told her no, I committed to the 10k and will just have to do it! I mostly didn’t want to let my friend down and make her go alone on a 10k.
I hardly slept the night before the race and when my alarm went off at 4:45am I was definitely rethinking this whole thing. I was up super early on a Saturday with no opportunity to earn money or be going on vacation. In fact, I woke up that early to purposely push my body not to it’s limit, but way past it! What have I done?? I didn’t prepare enough for this! I can’t go that far, not all in the same trek! Oh my gosh! How embarrassing will it be to have to get a ride back?! What will my friend think? Allllll the bad thoughts were racing through my brain, but I’m very well the most stubborn and loyal person ever, so I had to go anyway and keep my word to my friend.
Here we are right before the race. Once I met up with her for the ride over and listened to her tell me over and over how we were about to rock this 10k I started to feel better and believe her! Plus, again, super stubborn so I had to just suck it up and do it, even it if meant crawling back. So, we did the group warm-up and lined up at the start line and just like that, we were in a 10k!
We had a beautiful track. Basically it was a river walk and mostly flat. It was early so it wasn’t the heat of the day, and we had a nice cool breeze coming from the water. We talked about our lives, we saw crew teams practicing on the river and felt glad to not be working that hard, we sang and listened to music, and before we knew it we had already gone halfway!
We had kept a good pace and even jogged a bit! We found the more we slowed down, the harder it was, so we either jogged or power walked. It was like slowing down made us lose momentum even though we were getting tired. So we tried to keep moving with quicker strides. Then we made it to the final big race marker which left less than 2 miles for us to make it to the finish line! We both were shocked how well we felt and were still going! But we weren’t done yet!
I think the closer we got to the end the harder it became. Not because we were tired but because we were excited to be done! Sort of like the week leading up to a vacation, you know how it seems like the longest week ever? We had tackled the longest part already, but just wanted to be at the finish line and it was so close, yet seemed so far away still. But, together we rallied, turned up some carefully chosen jams to pump us up and we just kept encouraging each other.
Suddenly we could see it, the finish line! I think it seemed like it was even farther away the closer it became. She told me before we even started that no matter what, we had to jog across the finish line. My legs were burning, I had a cramp not just in my side but all across my stomach, and my shirt was soaked with a bad mix of humidity and sweat. But, I told I her I would jog across with her. As we got closer I saw a marker and said we will start the jog there. I took a few deep breaths leading up to the marker and then when we hit it, we both took off running, up a small hill no less! Once we crossed the finish line, we both high-fived and then stopped to breathe. It hurt to stop moving. Once we stopped, the adrenaline stopped and pain set in! We made our way up to grab a drink and a snack provided by the organizer and some wonderful sponsors. We hung around to hear the winners, even though we knew it wouldn’t be us, and hear some of the announcements.
We did it. We both finished a 10k, our first 10k. Oddly enough we were all smiles! Sweaty, tired, but smiley! I was so proud of her, she was so proud of me, and we were both proud of ourselves!
Most folks were unsure why I would even attempt to do this even though I wasn’t ready and could have just as easily supported this organization by doing the 5k or even just making a donation. This was a test. Not a physical one, either. Follow me here…
Most of us limit our beliefs to what we have already done or accomplished. We assume because we haven’t done something it’s not possible, or even that we have to spend countless hours and days learning or prepping for something we want. I needed to push myself. Yes, some of the push was physical, but most of it was mental. You’d be surprised what your body will do if you think you can do it. I had to tell myself I had to finish, not try to finish or want to finish but HAD to finish. No option. Was it going to be hard, yes, but my poor self-talk leading up to it only made it harder. I had to change my brain in the hours leading up to the race and during the race to stop with the doubts and make myself believe I could do it. I relied on the encouragement of my friend as well as my own positive thoughts to push me to keep going. I told myself over and over I was going to finish and be able to say I completed a 10k. This was also a chance to test and prove a few theories…
1. Surrounding yourself with people who are not only positive but willing to push you and walk beside you are so important. Find your real squad, even it’s it just one or two people, and never let them go.
2. If you think you can you’re right, if you think you can’t you’re right. You decide what you can and can’t do, so why not tell yourself you can?
3. Winging it is ok. You don’t have to do all the training and prepping to actually do the thing. If you spend too much time planning, when are you just going to do it? Don’t spend so much time prepping you don’t try things. Sometimes the best lessons are mistakes. And wonky experiences are still better than no experience at all.
4. Be willing to look silly. Nobody wants to be around a know-it-all or someone who looks like they’re ready for their cover shoot all the time. Real is better than perfect. When in doubt, wear the tutu. The right people will gravitate to you regardless of how you or your house looks.
5. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your bestie. You would be nothing but encouraging to her, so why are you mentally pooping on yourself? Your thoughts become your belief, so why not believe you’re a badass unicorn goddess??
So go forth and find your squad, change your mind, wing it, look silly, and be that badass unicorn goddess I know you are! I’ll be doing the same!