The Last Leg Is the Hardest and Most Fulfilling
Picture it: Detroit, 2013.
I had trained for six months to run my first 5k (that’s five kilometers; a little over three miles).
Day after day I woke up at 5 a.m. to hit the gym – something I usually hated. I spent no less than two hours at the gym daily. Then I would shower and head to work. I always prepared my lunch the night before to make sure I wasn’t tempted by the vending machine or smell of fast food from my colleagues.
I was on a high protein, low fat diet and full of determination, discipline and excitement.
Finally the day was here.
A few of my friends had entered the race, too although I wasn’t the least bit concerned with their journey. I couldn’t tell you whether or not they had also been strictly training or not. For me, this race was about my redemption. I had something to prove – to me, myself and I.
You see I was recently divorced.
I started training before it was actually finalized as a way to push through my depression and anxiety. And if I’m being completely honest, I needed to prove that I still had IT. You know – that even without a man, I was desirable.
And I had allowed myself to wallow in self pity for too long while separated. It was time to get up, dust myself off and keep it moving.
I took pictures with friends before we started the race and my adrenaline was pumping. There were two lanes – one for walking, the other for running. I looked condescendingly at the people in the walking lane and thought to myself “why would I enter a 5k to WALK?”
The time came to take your positions and I joined the runners, full of anticipation. Music was blaring in my ear.
I took off in full stride with a smile on my face. I was doing it! I had overcome my hesitation to enter the race, put in the work to get physically and mentally fit and now it was happening. The first mile felt like a breeze. I had been running at least two miles for three months.
Then came the unexpected.
Another runner fell just to the right of me. In an attempt to not trip over them, I made a weird pivot and there went my ankle.
The same ankle that I regularly seemed to twist. The same ankle that I’d failed to brace properly even with this knowledge. The same ankle that was now distracting me from focusing on the race.
I was now forced to swallow my pride and…you guessed it.
Walk it out. I had to join the group of walkers that I had just loathed at the beginning of the race.
I could hear the lyrics to Fantasia’s “Lose to Win” in the background of my throbbing pain.
I had a choice. Slow down, keep going, or give up. Two of those choices would at least allow me to finish. Now I just had to decide which meant more to me: Simply finishing…or Finishing Strong?
I’m sure you’ve already made the comparison between my 5k and the last leg of 2020. So, which will you choose?
If you choose like I did, here’s some ways you can Finish 2020 Strong:
Get Your Mind Right – shake off whatever feelings you have about uncontrollable circumstances until now and decide to refocus your energy on what is within your control. Practice daily meditation, mindfulness and prayer.
Gather Your Resources – take advantage of tools, resources, people, finances, etc. that will help you achieve the greatest possible outcome.
Get Motivated – whatever typically motivates you – vision boards, planners, affirmations, music, exercise – do it every day starting now. (Fantasia’s song “Something to Prove” set a fire under me and I put that pain in the back of my psyche and finished the race in just over forty five minutes.)
Celebrate Small Wins – reinforce your determination to finish strong by celebrating small victories. Put it somewhere visible to rejoice every day.
Pick Up the Pace – momentum fuels motivation. So keep your eye on the prize and push even harder to finish strong.
What else will you do to finish strong?
P.S. Oh yeah, I finished in just under an hour. 😜