My heart was pounding as I heard the voice over the loudspeaker say,
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You have 90 seconds to cross the start line before we close it, and you will need to begin with the rest of the racers at 7:30 am.
As I rounded the metal barricade and stepped across the start line of the 2015 Long Beach Half Marathon, I knew today would be a celebration of a year of intentionality.
Rewind the clock one year and as I stepped across the start line of the 2014 Long Beach Half Marathon, I was…
- 20 pounds heavier
- Out of shape
- Hoping to finish the race
- In pursuit of life-change
- At a crossroads
This year has flown by, and I turned 40 just six weeks ago. I didn't face a mid-life crisis. I didn't pursue some common upgrades. I did, however, commit to making lifestyle changes that would bring out a better version of myself.
The 2015 Long Beach Half Marathon was a celebration of an incredible year.
In one year (including this race), I completed five half-marathons and lowered my personal best by 43 minutes!
To be completely honest, it wasn't easy. In fact, I challenged myself to run two half marathons within ten days of each other…and it hurt…really bad. But, I finished!
Lessons From the Half Marathon Road
During the past year, I learned four valuable lessons from pursuing (and completing) these half marathons.
- Dream Big – I don't want to look back over my life and wonder if my dreams were so easy to attain because they weren't big enough. My mother always told me to dream big. I started out the year wanting to complete the Beach Cities Challenge (three half marathons); I could never have imagined completing five. Completing these races has helped me consider some other bigger dreams.
- Goals and Focus Go Together like peanut butter and chocolate. This year, I worked through 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt, and it forced me to be intentional in my pursuit of goals I wanted to accomplish. I put them on paper and then chalkboards and then I went after them. Every day I woke up and looked at my goal for a race. Every night, I went to sleep looking at that goal. If you want to accomplish something, you must focus on it!
- Celebrate Your Successes – When we focus and pursue our goals, we often miss the celebratory moments that got us to our goals. When I ran a personal best in Chicago (3:17:41), I was ecstatic. I had just taken 20 minutes off my previous personal best. I had trained and focused on running a good time. This was something to be celebrated and I did with a giant medal!
- Sometimes You Just Don't Have It – I want to be real for a moment. Just because you focus and train for something doesn't mean success will be granted to you. This past Sunday, I woke up late, and it was hot. I still did a personal best for the race despite having to walk over half of the race. I did my race prep and comparison planning (after all, I was a coach – habits die hard). I had my checklist of don't forget these items. But the bottom line is sometimes you just don't have it. I had every excuse in the book to skip the race, but I didn't. I started and I finished and that's what matters!
For me, it was half marathons. For you, it might be something else. I want to encourage you to look back over your year and see what has defined you. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
I love this quote by Wilma Rudolph,
Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.
I hope you realize that you, yes you, have the potential for greatness.
What dream is in your heart that you can't shake?
What person needs your encouragement and guidance?
What project needs your leadership?
Don't be afraid to chase your dreams. I know it's easier said than done, but there's only one you and the world needs you! Be the best version of yourself each day!
[reminder]What is one lesson you have learned in the past year?[/reminder]
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