Why don’t we share more personal successes and wins amongst our professional circles? So many of us speak the concept of bringing our whole selves to work, but oftentimes, we only do it when it elevates our professional credentials.I want to share with you a personal win. One that was not easy for me. It was the completion of my first half-marathon (13.1 miles).All my life I have struggled with balancing a healthy lifestyle. My family came from Guatemala and instilled in me many of my foundational concepts of what was healthy and what was not. I then tried to balance that along with what I was taught here in the United States. Altogether, you got an overweight version of myself for the majority of my teen and adult years. I struggled with justifying time at the gym and eating “clean.”
Late last year, my health choices finally caught up with my body and landed me in the hospital. It was then that I decided I needed to make a change in my life and begin investing in quality foods, form a better relationship with my health and body, and come to terms with my reality.
8 months later, I ran my first half-marathon and here is what I learned from it.
1. You cannot run a half-marathon or achieve anything alone. I tried and tried my whole life to figure things out for myself. And although I needed to have my own “aha” moments, they came from trusting others, being inspired by others, and finding encouragement through others. I was only able to do what I did because so many people along this journey poured so much into me doing it.
2. Your mind is a place that needs investment. During my training and long runs, I found myself in a constant battle with my mind. I needed to overcome it, I needed to be kind to it, and I needed to finally process a lot with it. I found that talking myself through my runs provided me with greater awareness of myself and my body. I was able to process difficulties from my past, from that day, and able to be more present for others.
3. I am so privileged. As I openly ran the streets to train, I realized how privileged I was. Beyond my skin color and gender, I hold free access to clean air, clean water, full-body mobility, and an ability to run freely. I couldn’t help but think of those that don’t have the same access as I do. I ran for each individual that can’t do what I can because of limitations in their bodies, for where they live, or for who they are.
4. Intention is everything. What shifted for me was that I went from waiting for the day when I would run to making today the day. I had to intentionally decide and put forth an effort to put one foot forward and just start running and not stop.