I’m just back from this week’s 8-mile group run. This is the first week in a while that I actually feel good after completing such a long distance. Being sick took a lot out of me and getting back on track has taken me longer than I expected. I pushed myself too hard when I first went back to training, expecting that I would be at the distance and pace I was at before getting sick. Needless to say I was mistaken. When I couldn’t keep up at practice, I started to have doubts and felt dread when coming into Saturday’s group run. The negative thoughts were taking over and this process was no longer exciting. I didn’t feel like I was working towards accomplishing something incredible. I felt defeated and doubted whether or not I would be able to do this. No more! Today my motivation and sense of purpose is back. Don’t misunderstand, 8 miles still does not come easy to me. I still have to walk the hills (the hills where we run in Palos Verdes are brutal). But during the last 3 miles or so, I got a tiny glimpse of the emotion I am going to feel when I actually cross that finish line in October. Notice that I say when, not if. The triathlon team was also training in PV today. As I was nearing the end of my run, bikers with purple Team in Training jerseys kept passing by, rooting me on, shouting “Go Team”. The encouragement and team spirit felt great. I admit I got a little teary thinking about the fact that I was part of something much bigger than just me trying to complete 13.1 miles. I am part of a group of people pushing themselves to new limits to support a cause whose purpose is about saving lives and helping people overcome the worst kind of challenge.
My newfound motivation is also partly due to an experience I had this week witnessing an incredible group of children overcoming their own challenges. My 6-year old daughter Leila, who was born with a severe hearing impairment, recently began participating in a drama program for deaf and hard of hearing kids, appropriately called “No Limits”. The program’s motto is “I can do it!” When I picked Leila up this week, I walked in on the tail end of rehearsal while the kids were holding hands in a circle, taking turns saying “I can do it” as loud as they could. As I was running today, the sound of those beautiful little voices shouting, and believing, “I CAN DO IT” was resonating in my head. I draw parallels because hearing them was a great reminder that anything you set out to achieve is about overcoming doubts and challenges, getting rid of the negative thoughts and believing in yourself. I will no longer think of myself as the little engine puttering up the hill saying “I think I can” – because I now believe in my heart that I can do this.