stepping up to the challenge

A year ago I stepped up to the starting line and ran the Verizon Corporate Challenge.  It was a balmy 90 degrees with 100% humidity.  I had been running infrequently and signed up for the race because of the coaxing talk of my co-workers.  

Some would consider the course hilly, and a year ago that is exactly how I felt.  Before you make the final turn and get a glimpse of the finish line there is a hill you have to climb.  Last year I struggled up that hill.  My body did not want to move, my lungs were tired, and from the side of the road I heard "use your arms".  I am not even sure who shouted those words and they most likely weren't even talking to me, but that phrase has stuck with me.  Each time I am climbing a hill I repeat in my head "use your arms".  It has become my hill climbing mantra.  

Stepping up to the starting line this year I am a completely different runner.  I have logged mile after mile and climbed hills that I never thought I would make it to the top of.  I am not just a causal runner like I was last year.  I could no longer joke about just wanting to finish without passing out.  I am a runner.  A runner who is training for the NYC Marathon.  

As I made my way through the course this year my body felt strong.  My mind did not once say "I want to stop, I want to stop" as it used to do.  I was prepared mentally and physically.  Those hills that pushed me to the limits and challenged me last year were a walk in the park.  On the last hill where I received the wise words of "use your arms" I started laughing out loud. . . . this was the hill that was a killer, really?  

It is so good to feel the results of all the hard work I have been putting in.  To have a place to compare back to and be able to measure what I have overcome.  I have grown leaps and bounds simply from steadily showing up.  When things were hard and I wanted to quit I kept going.  When I didn't want to run and my mind kept telling me to stay home instead, I laced up my sneakers and went out the door.  It wasn't always easy, but I always showed up.  Even in the rain, the cold, and the sweltering heart you would find me out there pounding the pavement as I racked up my miles.  

I have learned that so much can be accomplished when we put our minds to it.  When we stick to our guns and show up day after day after day.  It isn't always going to be pretty.  There will be days and moments when it totally sucks!  But if we stick to it progress is made.  We begin to feel stronger.  And soon running three miles is a walk in the park and we are aiming to push past 14.  It is amazing what we are capable of.  

What big dream do you want to accomplish? Go ahead .... say yes to it and show up.  It will begin to unfold and you will be amazed.