Welp, I guess I’ll go run Marathon #10 tomorrow.
Rather than ramble on and on about goals and plans and nerves and whatnot, I’m just going to tell a story about one of the clients I’m currently coaching.
Back in July, this member–let’s call her Jamie–enrolled in our weight management program. During our first session, she described her goal to lose 30 pounds. We started off talking about workouts and when I asked if she had any goals or aspirations for her fitness, she responded: “Well, I’ll never run a 5K or anything. I can’t do that type of thing.“ To which I responded: “No, no, you most definitely can run a 5K if that’s what you want to do.“ She seemed to shrug it off and the conversation shifted from there. We set a diet goal and scheduled our next appointment two weeks out.
Two weeks later, Jamie was so excited to report she’d run a mile straight. She was surprised and motivated and really excited, so she set a goal to keep running every other day. And after another two weeks, she’d run two miles straight. It was during that third session that she brought up the 5K again, and on her own, saying: “I don’t know, maybe I could do it afterall.“ I should also note that not only was Jamie consistently running every other day and feeling confident enough to start considering a 5K, but she was down 10 lbs after one month!
Two weeks later, she started off the session excitedly sharing that she’d been looking at a 5K online and said: “I accidentally signed up. And it’s this weekend!“ She had looked at a couple different options and planned to sign up for a 5K that was a few weeks out, but mistakenly signed up for the sooner one. The entire session was a bit of a “pep talk,” pumping her up for the race. I told Jamie: the goal is to enjoy the experience–don’t put too much pressure on yourself–you’re job is just to finish it–you’re ready for this–you’ve been running for 6 weeks!
Well, we met again, two weeks later and Jamie started off the call reporting she was down another 10 lbs after two months. We talked about the weight loss and her diet, until finally I (somewhat apprehensively) asked: “So, how’d the 5K go?“ She responded that she ran the entire 5K without stopping and finished in under 30 minutes! With only a few minutes left in our session, I bubbled over with praise and excitement, congratulating her and telling her was an incredible accomplishment that was. I told her some people work a long time to break 30 minutes and here, she did it on her first try after we’d spent the entire previous session talking about there’s no shame in walking. I said: “You are so much stronger than you think you are.“ She was quiet for a moment, then with a quiver in her voice, she said: “Thank you.” She explained that she was personally very proud of her accomplishment, but when she told others, specifically, her family, about the race, they said: “Good job!” but didn’t really grasp how hard she had worked. To them, it was just a race that anyone could do any old day. To her, she had done the unimaginable. And to me, she said: “I’m surprising myself. And you get it. It’s nice to have someone get it.“
At the very end of that session, she surprised me by saying she was doing another 5K that weekend and she nonchalantly stated her goal was to beat her time. During our next session, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear she’d finished the very hilly 5K in 26 minutes and finished in the top 10 of her age group. I was surprised, however, to hear she’d already signed up for a 10K. And again, it was only a couple weeks away. This girl was on fire, signing up for races left and right, pushing herself, surprising herself and inspiring the heck out of me!
Again, as you might expect, Jamie rocked that 10K, finishing in 57 minutes. As we talked about the difficulty of the course and the challenge of those final miles, she laughed: “It was so hard. But I’m going to do a half-marathon. I already signed up.“ The half-marathon was only three weeks away and she won’t be running until next weekend, but we’ve been meeting more frequently as she prepares for this life-defining endeavor. We’ve talked training plans and injury prevention, endurance nutrition and mental toughness. And yesterday, I asked her: “How are you feeling? Are you nervous, anxious…?” To which Jamie responded, “Um, no… Should I be?” I had to laugh because I was totally projecting my own personal insecurities and lack of confidence (about my race tomorrow) onto her. This girl, who continues to surprise herself, is so full of confidence that it literally astounds me. She is completely excited–right to the brim, having lost 25 pounds of 30 in just three months time, having completed her first 5K, another one and a 10K, and having the courage and faith in herself to go after a goal that was unfathomable just a couple month ago…
So here I am, about to run Marathon #10. And while I could lie and say I’m not nervous or anxious, some of Jamie’s confidence rubbed off on me.
“All you have to do is convince your mind to believe in your body.” (-Sgt. Jerry Giglia)