October 30, 2011

It's about the journey. . . Not the destination

I started this journey almost exactly one year ago. Honestly though, it feels like just yesterday. {How quickly a year can pass} For me, this was one of those journeys that began with so much trepidation, I wasn't even sure I was moving forward until I was already well on my way.

Last October, shortly after my 34th birthday I lost a good friend over the whole "Princes debacle" and then I  ran my first 5k.  Fueled by a determination to set the anti-princess example for my girls without preaching it, the pain over the loss of someone I once considered a dear friend and a sense of empowerment and accomplishment I put one foot in front of the other and moved toward 35 with a dream, that quickly became a plan and before I knew it, a mission. I wanted to OWN 35 and be fearless!
{okay and maybe a little bit fierce!}

~ Girl Power  ~
Somewhere along the way the P.E. Teacher in me got swallowed up by the flight attendant, and then eventually by the mom. Thankfully though, mom's are smart and this one straightened up and started to fly right. If it was important for my kids to get at least 60 minutes of good physical activity a day, why wasn't it important for me to do the same?  The answer is: IT IS!  At this point, I'd already been working out a few times a week with Stroller Strides. Undoubtably this was an excellent example to set for my girls, but it was time to step it up, so I did.  I attended more classes each week and made a stronger commitment to make it to class.  Hey Gigi and Lula.... Strong is the new beautiful!

~ Girl Power{ful} ~

By April I'd been working hard  and I started to realize that the excuse 'I didn't want anyone getting in my face yelling at me' was really just fear{Lame excuse, huh?}  Once I admitted to myself that fear was natural and facing your fears powerful I was able to take the leap; I joined my already fearless friends and committed to 8 weeks of  Body Back boot camp. That 8 weeks was physically and emotionally HARD. Like, hard-core HARD. There were tears and wicked sore muscles and doubt and at more than one point I was pretty sure I was going to die --  But I survived. Not only did I survive, I improved. I was stronger, faster and determined. I was leaner and I was hungry for more. I found a new drug and it was pushing my limits. I WAS HOOKED!! 

Our mantra was:
If I am still standing at the end of Body Back, hit me with a board and knock me down, because it means I haven't given everything I have.  No regrets!
So..... of course I signed up for 8 more weeks!! Surrounded by amazing women, getting a few hours a week to myself to workout, work on me and get composed so that I could go back and be the best mother and wife I could be was priceless.  I was now aware that if I wanted to do something I needed to Just Do It! {Yeah, Nike really did get that one right, didn't they?}  What was holding me back?  Would I want the girls to hold themselves back??  No! I would tell them: You never know until you try; and if you give it your all you cannot fail.
Failure is an attitude of mind.

Set the example Shelbi!  Don't only do the things you know you will be good at. Try things that are hard, so something you are not sure you can.
So by June I had stopped "talking" about running a half marathon. I had decided that I WAS going to run a half marathon.  I stopped saying 'I can't...'  -  'I won't'....  and  'I'd never be able to...' and I started saying  'I WILL !'

~ My Journey ~

I've had sore muscles, pulled hamstrings, aching joints and pain. I was pushing 35, clearly I am not a kid anymore. But I would turn 35 and celebrate by completing my first half marathon!  Eyes on the prize.........
There were days I didn't want to.
There were days I didn't think I could.
There were days I just didn't have anything left.
More pain
Even a stress fractured tibia that sidelined me for 8 weeks.
Anything that costs this much and causes you to work this hard for it, must be worth it! 

Hey Gigi and Lula....... life doesn't end when you become a mom.
35 is not over the hill or washed up.
THIS is the prime of my life because I decided it should be.
I am determined.
I. am. a. girl. and I CAN DO ANYTHING!
{I can do anything a boy can do and some things I can even do better!}

On my journey to this half marathon...
I have kicked myself when I was down.
I have been hard on myself. 
I have been disappointed in myself.
And at times.... not at all kind to myself. 

But I now know how stupid that is!  Not every run is a good one. But the hardest step for a runner is the first one out the door. So even when the run was hard, or painful or disappointing I was out there and I was doing it.  That in itself is a WIN! So what if I wasn't the fastest runner out there? I was lapping everyone on the couch! 

All of those bad days, hard runs, tears and pain got me here today. I have loved and at times hated my 4am alarm. I have wondered "What the Hell I am doing/thinking??" as I wandered bleery eyed through my days after waking at the crack-of-dawn to run with my girlfriends. Last Sunday I ran 11 miles. The farthest I have ever run in my life!!! This morning, after running a very painful 5am 5 miles yesterday with Body Back I lept from my bed at 4am to run my last training run with some of the best training partners in the world! Held together by duct tape... Okay, really by the miracle that is KT Tape and in my trusty old Nikes I hit the road before dawn for this last 8 'training' miles.

This morning, in the dark, under the stars and with the "cold" air making my nose and cheeks feel chilled I reflected on all that has brought me to this point. . . . . . . .  12 months ago I had to will myself to keep running for 3.1 miles. I had to talk to myself the entire way. "Breathe. Keep going, You can do it. Relax. Breathe"  Today 3 miles feels like a cake walk and leaves me wanting more. . . . . . .   Last year I knew and liked my training partners, today I *know* and love them. I've sweat with them, cried with them, been victorious with them and been at my most raw and vulnerable with them. Today the women who were my friends a year ago are now my sisters. And after I reflected for a few miles about how grateful I am to be on this amazing journey - I let go. 

It's possible that I let go for the first time ever while running.
I wasn't in my head.
I wasn't worried about my pace,
keeping up,
catching up,
finishing first,
not finishing last,
finishing at all....
Instead of hiding behind my visor with my head down trying not to look ahead at how much farther I need to go . . . how big the hill in front of me is . . . how far away the finish line is. . .  I held my head up. I ran with my chest proud, my shoulders back and down and my eyes front.  I listened to the music in my ears and I just ran.... and it was amazing!

All of this... these months of running. All of the crack-of-dawn miles now under my belt.... they are a marathon in themselves.  If  I was too foolish to enjoy them, take pride in them, stop and drink in the moment.... I will not make that mistake again.  This entire journey has been a victory for me.  I have learned a lot about myself this past 12 months.  I now know what I am made of. 

My amazing Stroller Stirides and Body Back instructor Kelly tells us at the most difficult moments during Body Back "Show yourself!"   Next Sunday, that is exactly what I am going to do. And while I will be pushing myself and digging deep - Next Sunday... no matter what, I plan to savor every mile.

Next up...... The Tough Mudder! 11 miles of INSANITY!



The SassMaster said...

Shelbi... what can I say??? You're a girl, a mother and a runner with an inner PE teacher and flight attendant. And this was a post where I really saw you WRITER. I love your blog updates and to be able to keep up with your girls' "growings" but sister, you need to write about what makes you PASSIONATE more often. This was beautiful to read. I was ON the journey with you just reading this and I am proud to be your friend and proud to know a mama who doesn't talk about but SHOWS her girls what can be acheived.Love, love, love you!

The SassMaster said...

I even left you a typo in the comments section so you know you're in good company LOL

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