My husband is one of four brothers. When I married into his big, loud Polish family, I also married three brothers and three women who would become my sisters. Our eight pack is about to be complete in January 2017, when the final brother marries Jayce in Hawaii.
Jayce has been a huge positive influence in my life. She is one of the most kind, tough and optimistic women I have ever known. She is also a CrossFit badass with the best legs and ass. Jayce sported her comfy booty shorts at the family beach house with confidence and I was jealous. I needed to get fit and she seemed to know how to make it happen.
I credit Jayce for pushing me to make one of the most major shifts in self-belief in my lifetime. Jayce told me to try the Couch to 5K program. Apparently I was smoking crack at that point and I decided to start. We even picked a specific 5K date a mere three months away to train for.
In the first few weeks of the program, I would text her expletives from the treadmill. It was so hard. It hurt so bad. I was convinced I had “bad knees” and couldn’t run. Just to be clear, Couch to 5K literally starts with intervals of 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking. Dying. I was dying.
But she told me to push on. To keep going. So I did. Every week, it got less painful. There were certain weeks I felt obvious progress. I would text her my achievements and she would send me happy emojis and lots of “!!!!!”
The more I worked through each week of the program, the more I started to understand why I needed running in my life. In the summer of 2015, I was in the height of my over commitment and self-destruction. I was manically working in my business and at The Birth Center. I was approaching entering Lucy into a brand new school. I was stressed and exhausted and ready to crack.
The best way to describe running for me is:
When I run, I am able to blow the crazy out of my ears.
I get lost in my music and the running cadence and all the crazy that swirls and swirls inside of my head begins to dissipate.
Some runs, I hit a running high and exhale a breath that is almost an orgasm—this release of pent up… everything.
With my husband’s support and dedication to complete his own first 5K, we did it. I finished my first 5K without walking and it was really, really hard. It was in August and way too hot to be running. I had an additional 35 pounds on me and it took every little bit of my self determination to not stop. I crossed the finish line and burst out in tears. I didn’t quit. I did it. Three brothers, their three wives, and even some cousins ran the race with me!
After that race, I stopped running for a few months. I was too busy getting Lucy settled in a new school and working myself ragged. The weather was getting colder, so it seemed like a good excuse to stop.
I proceeded to feel like shit for three months and hit burnout around Christmastime.
It wasn’t until Girls on the Run that I was able to dig myself out. It wasn’t until Girls on the Run that I became newly and seriously dedicated to maintaining a lifestyle change.
I started to figure out how everything was interconnected. How if I didn’t eat properly during the day, I didn’t have the energy to run. How if I wanted to be a real role model to the girls, I needed to model real commitment to self-care.
I was able to shift my obsession with achievement and performance to my health. I am no stranger to goal setting and high achievement. I had done it in almost every area of my life except wellness.
But here is the major self-belief that what was standing between me and being a runner:
I am not an athlete. I am not a runner. I am not fit. And I will never be.
See, I had quit every sport I ever tried. In high school I was a cheerleader. Yes, a cheerleader, folks. Now, I was not an athlete cheerleader. There are plenty of amazing cheerleader athletes. I was charismatic and I looked cute in my uniform. I was not an athlete.
So, when Jayce and Mike announced we had about 10 months before the destination wedding in Hawaii, it was game on for me. I decided then and there that I would look and feel my lifelong best for this trip. When would I ever have this opportunity again??
With a little nudge from some friends, I committed to the Inspire 10K at Winterthur. (It wasn’t until months later that I learned this was not just a 10K, but a very hilly 10K.) I literally trained my ass off. I got my eating right to fuel my runs. I got up at 6:00 am and ran the hills in my neighborhood. I pushed myself physically harder than I had ever before in my life.
Running this race was the second hardest thing I have done in my life after giving birth to Lucy.
I can tell you now:
I am a runner. I am an athlete.
So, why am I telling you this? Because you should now become a runner? No, not unless you want to, in which case I highly recommend it.
I am telling you this because you probably have beliefs about yourself—beliefs that are not truths.
Just because you have quit things in the past doesn’t make you a “quitter.”
Just because you have buckled under pressure in that past doesn’t make you a “weak person.”
Just because you failed at things in life doesn’t make you a “failure.”
So here is my “woo-woo” message for you:
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.” –Henry Ford