October 10, 2010

Project Stroller Strides: Run Like A Mother


Today was the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5K. -- My-first-ever-5K-run. -- I've been in 5K walks before. Honestly I'm happy to walk 3.1 miles for a good cause - But there has never been a "Wow, this is amazing moment" before for me during a 5K walk... But among a sea of pink, along side my hubby and with my daughters right there- It was pretty awesome.



I was promised by my Stroller Strides franchise owner / instructor, Kelly, that when I ran my first 5K she and the rest of Team Stroller Strides would be at the finish line cheering me across. She did not let me down! Just shy of the finish line a group of my dear SS Mamas, who had already finished, gathered and cheered and yelled and snapped photos of the rest of us. I have to say I was not really fading... or urging myself on to the finish line like I anticipated I would be; but when I approached Team Stroller Strides and heard my name and heard the cheers and shouts of praise and encouragement, a second wind suddenly came over me and I was able to sprint across the finish line.

Words cannot express the emotions or pride that I felt when I crossed that finish line. I suppose I went into this first 5K run with low expectations to shield myself from any disappointment. Each time I felt a catch in my side or started to feel the need to stop, I slowed my breathing, took a deep breath, focused, really focused on my next few breaths and pushed on.  It's amazing what you can do when you slow down and relax.  There was a running dialogue in my head for most of the run and it wasn't I expected I'd be telling myself. I have always run with "Just a few more yards, feet, etc...." --  "You're almost there." -- "You can do it..." -- blah...blah...blah... urging myself just-a-bit-further.... And if I am being really honest, it has never been all that helpful.  So today.... today I ran like a mother. *

Focus...
Relax...
Breathe...
Focus on your breathing....
Your daughters are watching....
In through your nose and out through your mouth....
Relax...
Just take a few, slow, deep breaths and you can get rid of this cramp...
Drop your shoulders -- Relax...
Your daughters are watching...
Focus...
Breathe slowly...
Relax....
Your daughters can see your strength...
I can be strong for my daughters...
Relax...
Breathe...


I never looked ahead to how much further. I never gave a thought to how far I'd run. I just knew that I couldn't stop and if I just focused on relaxing my shoulders and breathing I could do this!  AND I DID! What a difference it makes when you focus on managing only what you can control. I cannot control the distance between me and the finish line - It is what it is.... But I can control me. How fast I run, how deep my breaths are, how relaxed my frame is.... I can control me and once I started to focus on controlling me - the miles slipped away and the race was over!

Why did I run this race? Well it so happened that the Breast Cancer 5k was falling at the right time.  Brian and I have family members who are survivors of breast Cancer and family members who are currently fighting to survive breast cancer, this is a great cause and I am proud to say that in the last 24 hours hubby and I were able to raise just shy of our $300 goal for Susan G Komen. I am also proud to say that I will continue to fundraise for the rest of this "Breast Cancer Awareness" month because it's is an amazing cause. But this particular 5K was my first because it happened to fall 1 week into my new goal.

My Goal:

Last Sunday was my 34th birthday.
In my 33rd year I set a goal to set a good example for my daughters.
I wanted to show them that Strong is beautiful. -- Looks are not what make a woman beautiful. -- Confidence, and strength both of body and character make a woman beautiful. -- Brains make a woman beautiful. 

I need my daughters to know...without telling them, but by showing them; The women on magazine covers do not exist! -- Those women in magazines are mythical creatures. True beauty comes from making smart choices, taking care of yourself, taking care of your body and loving who and what you are. {or as Katie always says; "Be proud of what you've got"}  --- So I started working out again. For the first time in over three years I set a goal to workout on a regular basis and made the choice to not only do it with my daughters, but do it in front of my daughters. In doing so I learned something amazing...  Mothers supporting Mothers is beautiful. Women encouraging other women is empowering. Taking time everyday to meet just one of my needs shows my girls that I am important too. That I value myself... That, well that is a lesson I did not even know I wanted to teach.

After learning {at 33} that I needed to value myself before I could teach my girls to value themselves I decided I really needed to go a step further. If I am more than I give myself credit for - am I capable of more than I give myself credit for? Can I really say "I'm not a..." If I've never really tried to be a... ? You read all the time about older men and women picking something up and becoming a great success. A 40 year old who never played soccer a day in their life, at 41 become the star of their league. A 50 year old who never ran, cycled or swam more than a child would on any summer afternoon, enters their first triathlon and in a few years is finishing an ironman. { Wouldn't that be awesome to say you did?? } .... You get the point. So why wait?  I never thought I'd be a runner. But I have a support system. I have other women who have never been runners that want to run.  I could set my mind to something and at least try...Right? Oh look.... there is another lesson. You cannot say "cannot" unless you try. It's okay to fail. But if you try, give it your all, can you really call that a failure?  How will you know unless you try?

So my goal for my 34th year is to run a 1/2 marathon. We however live in the desert. The unforgiving, baking everything until its dust, desert. There are exactly 3 months out of 12 where you are pretty well guaranteed cool weather - there are 2 more that may or may not be "running" weather and the rest... well the rest I am pretty well convinced you could die just standing in your driveway, forget about running. So.... If I want to run a 1/2 marathon my choices are get my butt out and run because I have to complete the 1/2 marathon before the end of March or try to find a half marathon, a local half marathon before the beginning of October next year, but since October is one of those could be nice could be hot months, I really only have until February.... I am sure that my goal for 34 will have to be met in the next 4 months and I will then have to find/set a new goal without giving up on running... How I am going to accomplish that is beyond me, but control, only what I can control....

So 5K today, 9K next month, run every possible day in between; continue to kick butt at Stroller Strides and then... well then, who knows?  As for today - I RAN my first 5K, I crossed the finish line, I ran the entire race and I am proud of what I've got! A beautiful family, and a race under my belt! Today was a GOOD DAY!


After running my first 5K!






* Run Like a Mother {the book}
The essays in Run Like A Mother–a book unlike clinical, workout-heavy running books out there–replicate the lively conversations good friends have when they’re out on a run: a mix of personal stories, hard-won, helpful advice, and crack-you-up anecdotes that cement a connection that goes well beyond the miles logged that day.

6 comments:

strollerstridesflagstaff said...

congrats on running your 1st 5k! That is AWESOME! You are such an inspiration to your girls!!! And I LOVE that you did it with the help of Stroller Strides- that's what we are all about!!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your accomplishment!

LatteLover said...

Congratulations!!! We just had the Portland RFTC a few weeks ago. :-) I am touched by your words about being a role model for your daughters, and showing them that strong is beautiful! I am doing my half next Sunday, and will use your words to get me to the finish line...where my kids will be waiting! ;-) Good luck with your 1/2 goal. You can DO IT!

Jessica Walls said...

Shelbi,

You are amazing and I am so lucky to have you by my side through all of this! Can you imagine what we will feel like in February after what we felt like today!

Loved this post, I am so grateful to have moms like you out there who really "get it!"

Thank you for always reminding me to be proud of what I got!

Jess

Jackie said...

What an inspiring story!! I too am a member of Stroller Strides in Virginia Beach and I am running my first 5K this weekend!!!

Congratulations!!

Shelbi said...

Yay!!! Well then Jackie - Good Luck and RUN LIKE A MOTHER! I'm sure you are going to ROCK your first 5K - Come back and tell us about your vi.K.tory after this weekends event!

Cheering you on from afar!
~Shelbi
"A Mother's Musings, Mishaps & Milestones"

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