Motivate, Inspire, Encourage..Run to the Power of Words

Source: shape women's magazine

        Source: shape magazine

It’s not the average person who gets up on a typical day and decides – you know what, this is it..this is my kick-butt, bad- ass day; today I decide to stop with the excuses and show up and do shit ( yep I said it). No, even if you’re a veteran in the game, most days you have to do some heavy self-motivating to get those feet moving out the door. So for the newbie or ambivalent, I imagine it’s much harder. Lucky for you, I’ve been there, I’m still here and likely to be here for sometime into the indefinite future. That way I can always motivate my and your asses to lace up those sneakers and hit it up for some mileage.

Very often I’ve found that if you distance yourself from the naysayers and immerse yourself in an environment that’s supportive of your goals and ideals, you’ve gotten rid of the biggest obstacle to your success. We’ve heard it often enough – words are powerful, they have the power to change the world..to start wars or bring about peace (on a global scale). If this is true, and history tells us it is, then consider if we use, or allow them to be used, to allow positive change in our lives. Of course this is already the case with all the self-help books and other motivational material out there, but what if you and I, we, decide to make it our personal goal to immerse ourselves in those positive, transformational and inspiring words to motivate our next step? What if we make it so it’s the first thing we see and ingest in the morning and the last thing we breathe at night? I think crazy stuff will happen..blow-your-mind stuff.. I mean, we’d be unstoppable, both physically and emotionally; talk about goal achieved!

See, I’ve always believed that our destiny is inherently ours to decide, granted it’s guided and overseen by our Heavenly Father, but ultimately ours, as a by-product of His gifts of unconditional love and freedom of choice to us. We get to take these beautiful, and often self-serving machines, and make it into what we will. And the funny thing is words can help us, be it ours or someone else’s, verbosely, orally or in print. Stick it up, write it down, tattoo it on..however works best to get and keep you moving on the good days and not so good days.

Here are five of my favourite get up and kick ass quotes:

“Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to a stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” –  ascribed to Leonardo Da Vinci

“Once you make the decision that you will not fail, the heart and body will follow.” – Kara Groucher

“Nothing great in this world was ever accomplished without passion.” – ascribed to George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

“It’s when discomfort strikes they realize, a strong mind is the most powerful weapon.” – Chrissie Wellington

“Our limitations and success will be based, most often, on our own expectations of ourselves. What the mind dwells upon, the body acts upon.” – Dennis Waitley

Of the millions out there, these are my every day mantras. You need to suss yours out and wear it like a talisman, Scouts (runners) honor it will serve you well!

 

 

 

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Run Encouraged

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Source: anchoredfaith.com

“Encouragement is the fuel on which hope runs.”
-Zig Ziglar
I bet it’s getting harder to see the goal, bet a hundred reasons are turning up why today is not a good day, maybe it’s all you can do sometimes to get out of bed these days. If only I were a betting kind of girl.
We don’t have to search very far to find a thousand reasons everyday why we should give up; forget running, forget this cold, forget goals. Afterall, there’s always tomorrow – tomorrow when it’s not so cold and I’m not so tired and pissed off and busy, maybe then the sun’ll shine and I’ll feel motivated. Then, I’ll work extra hard, I’ll make up, I’ll double down, I’ll recommit.. tomorrow.
How well I know, seeing as I’ve been there all too often this season. Like most runners do, I know how feelings of discouragement, failure, disappointment, weakness, incompetence, dejection, not-being-good-enough, can’t-measure-up, not-having-what-it-takes, low self-confidence and a host of other negative emotions, how they can play havoc with your self-esteem and plans. If you ever thought that you are the only one, I beg to differ and welcome you to the club of misfit runners, the imperfect and always striving to be better, work-in-progress that we all are. It is a condition that we suffer from called being human. Frankly, you don’t get through life without having been subject to it at some point or another, and what better time to fall victim to its charms than winter.
Some call it winter blues, maybe an extreme case in some instances, but true blue, down and dirty feelings of just chucking it all to hell for the day, the week, the season or even forever. Thing is, if you really stop and think about it you’d recognize it for what it is and you’d be better for putting it right where it belongs – under your feet. Yes, you’d strap on those running shoes anyway and hit the road, if only for the mere reason of silencing the voices in your head. Later on with a clearer head, divested of all dastardly thoughts as running is wont to do, you can better appreciate how therapeutic the use of negative emotions can be. But then that’s partly why we run, to be free of the natural worries that we encounter and to be able to embrace the person we are in the present while giving what we have to give in the moment we can. And if for some reason there’s nothing to give in that moment or that day, please know that it’s ok. You are entitled to throw a winter pity party, at most once, then you pull yourself up and high-tail it out of there. Just like the Spring will come, it too shall pass. There is a lot to look forward to, lots of running to get done and lots of medals to be won. It really is all a matter of perspective. Run encouraged.

Running Groups Rock!

Source: precisionfitpb.com

Source: precisionfitpb.com

They’re that bunch of people you sometimes catch a glimpse of as the run by followed by infectious laughter and animated chatter, and sometimes, the tell-tale sounds of a playlist. I used to sneer at the raucousness, all serious and solitary-like,  wondering if they seriously got any anything done until I understood the camaraderie-boosting and encouraging spirit that embodies the running group.

Very early on my view of running had always been that of a get-out-there-get-the-job-done kinda sport with not much room for socializing on the course. I mean, who wants to be fighting to conserve energy one minute and wasting it in the next breath. My reasoning, though sensible, was flawed as it left no room for the ability to converse at varied paces as well as the need and right by some runners, to seek clarification, encouragement or even the opportunity to distract themselves from, what may be, a tough run. I felt it was do it, get over it..why prolong the suffering. My reward was delayed gratification via a race of some kind where my pace, form and endurance told the story of my application. “Where’s the fun in that?” You may rightly ask. My response is absolutely no where. Thank God I grew and matured in my views; it opened up a world of knowledge and opportunity in my running life.

I have come to appreciate and even love the running group. I now understand the dynamics at work with the aim of fostering a community of like-minded people who share a common passion. I’m such a convert that when my schedule allows, I’m first up and looking to hook myself up to the closest one; talk about transformative thinking. Here’s why my views changed:

-Running groups are a good way to meet people and make friends. It provides the avenue for social interaction and has become the basis for many a meaningful and lasting connection.

-Such groups are a deep well of encouragement, knowledge and opportunity to the runner, providing information on issues from nutrition to injury prevention and every and anything that concerns running.

-A running group is your very own personal cheer squad. They not only provide you with the impetus for running and training, being right there with you on your journey, but come the all-important race day, they are there to cheer you along and celebrate with you.

-Groups provide a benchmark for your development and success with the varied paces they offer. The average runner starts out running at any given pace but with repeated effort and training gets better and better and can measure their progress.

-They have the in when it comes to first-hand information on registration, specials, giveaways and discounts on races and can often-times provide group deals on running apparel and incentives for runners.

-Joining a running group or club comes with the opportunity to advance your running game. You can gain points and bragging rights depending on the competitive nature of the club.

-Most groups are free and only require you to show up while running clubs often ask a nominal fee to cover operational costs which is nothing compared to an annual gym membership.

-Also, you get the chance to be passionate for a good cause. Groups participate in charity events like Cancer walks, runs and relays and you have the opportunity to take a stand and make a difference.

Here in New York City we boast an endless array of running groups from the fun meet-ups to the competitive clubs, there is a group for everyone. Whether you’re a twice-a-week runner for fun or you’re training for a marathon or 5k, whether you thinking about starting, just started or have been running forever you can find your place or pace among dozens of runners who feel you.

Some of the well-known running groups in major cities including here in NYC stem from the stores that sell sports and running wear: Nike, Lululemon, Paragon, Northface, the Running Company and Jack Rabbit while some popular running clubs in and around the city include: New York Road Runners -host of the New York City Marathon, Central Park Track Club, New York Flyers, Front Runners, Dashing Whippets, Brooklyn Ross Runners, Forest Park Runners, Van Cortland Track Club among many others. All paces are welcome.

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It is the quintessential uniqueness of New York that welcomes all runners of all abilities to come and share their love, their story, their experience, their encouragement with every and anyone lucky enough to call it home. If that isn’t enough reason to love them, then I don’t know what is.

 

The Other Side of Running the TCS NYC Marathon: Volunteering and Cheering

Runners on the Verazzano Bridge, Staten Island

Runners on the Verazzano Bridge, Staten Island

Last Sunday was Marathon Sunday here in New York City. Over 50,800 runners braved the most windy and chilly day we’ve had in the longest time for the coveted title and medal for having run the largest and, some would argue, best marathon in the world: the New York City Marathon. As far back as last year, I had decided I wasn’t running this year; I felt I wanted to explore and expand my boundaries and focus my running outside of the city. I’ll be honest, on Sunday I was torn. Witnessing runners of all persuasions with varying abilities and over 50,000 reasons for running brought out my competitive spirit and I couldn’t help but wish that I had run. On the flip side, volunteering at the start quickly assuaged those running notions as I witnessed the anxiety and chilly determination of runners as they hunkered down in near-freezing temperatures to await the start from as early as 6am.

TCS NYCM 2014 VOLUNTEERS

TCS NYCM 2014 VOLUNTEERS

We did the best we could, chatting them up and seeking to encourage them as we too bore the brunt of the wind. Finally, it was time to usher runners on their way, as the canon boomed in the distance declaring the sending off of the first, second, then third and finally fourth wave of runners at 10:55am over the Verrazano bridge in Staten Island to the sound of Frank Sinatra’s “New York.” Consider those runners as they progressed throughout the five boroughs, oftentimes to the company of a head wind especially upon crossing the five land-mark bridges of the race. Tenacity is the one word that comes to mind, it describes the mindset and spirit that pervaded runners as they struggled against the odds, having to adjust their strategy and even goals. Through their journey they were not alone; accompanied each mile by cheering spectators: an estimated 1 million in total, and hard-working volunteers encouraging and providing sustenance, many persevered despite the prevailing conditions and made their way through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx and finally to Central Park and the finish line.

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There was never a doubt that after finishing my shift I was going to be a part of the most amazing cheer crowd the world over. 26.2 miles of spectators lined the streets of New York City, themselves braving the weather to make this race the phenomenal experience it is. It wouldn’t be the same without them and so more than anything, I wanted to be a part of that. I chose to stand close to the finish in Central Park and for four hours, cheered my encouragement and support, along with thousands of others, for runners I had never met but felt such an affinity with. Running, jogging, hopping, walking, crawling they came: an incessant wave from all over the world: young, old and everywhere in between they kept on coming; smiling, crying, in-pain, determined and victorious, to the utter delight of the crowds they came. From as early as 12pm runners were already in Central Park, Wilson Kipsang leading the pack as he cruised to the finish line in a time of 2:10:55 and picked up his first New York Marathon title, $100,000 and an additional $500,000 for going on to win the World Marathon Majors title with his win here in New York. Fellow Kenyan, Mary Kietany won first place in the women’s category with a time of 2:23:10. We clapped, hooted, whistled, rang bells, screamed and cheered for hours for thousands as they made their way home to the finish line, more than 3/4 of which were first time NYC marathon finishers and/ or first time marathoners at that.

Wilson Kipsang, 2014 TCS NYC Marathon title holder & World Marathon Majors 2014 title holder

Wilson Kipsang, 2014 TCS NYC Marathon title holder & World Marathon Majors 2014 title holder

I finally gave in to the chill and my voicelessness around 6:30pm while runners just kept on coming, no end in sight. In spite of the cold, I walked away with an incredibly inspiring feeling and felt much love, kudos and the deepest admiration for all runners this year. It does a girl’s running heart good to see so much love, support and dedication for her sport of choice. Thank you New York Road Runners, TCS New York City Marathon and the city of New York including all spectators, volunteers and runners for putting on a phenomenal event. See you next year. I will be running!

Something inside…

Something inside of me just said ‘Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him,’ and I just took off.
You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
~Steve Prefontaine

No matter who you are, we all need inspiration, motivation, encouragement, support and love to accompany us on our life’s journey. For my part, I try to surround myself with those who will empower me  to achieve my best self.  My personal credo is to always give of my best; be it running, writing, volunteering… whatever I do and wherever I go, this is never far from me.

Your challenge, is to find your little world of supporters..your personal cheer squad..that will do all of the above and then some; particularly on those days that you feel uncertainty, doubt and the desire to give up creeping in. Here are a few ideas to help with focus:

. Join a club/gym; make and meet new friends who share your passion
. Enlist the support and help of a girlfriend/buddy who will engender encouragement, motivation and accountability
. Read, watch, listen to inspiring testimonies of persons with like passions who have overcome adversity to achieve their goals
. Be open to constructive criticism from those who are knowledgable and informed on the topic
. Open your eyes and heart to the inspiration that abounds in people, nature,
things
. Weed out the negative elements in your life that will bring about discouragement and disappointment
. Finally, affirm yourself. You are who you say you are and others opinions contribute very little to you achieving the self-satisfaction and sense of achievement that comes from believing in yourself.

 

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Smiling through the Pain

NYC-Marathon-PhotoI did it! We did it! I preserved through 26.2 miles of pain and completed my first marathon in a time of 4:26:30.  On one hand it’s disappointing, my time that is, but on the other hand, I’m thrilled that I didn’t give in to the pain and stuck it through to the finish line.  It feels awesome enough that I have no regrets, strained ankle notwithstanding, and look forward to my next attempt with much anticipation.  I get it! I get what all the hype and fuss is about when people talk about The New York City Marathon and why it’s considered one of the best if not the best in the world and a must run for competitive and non-competitive runners alike.  I mean, it’s not everyday one gets to run through the most amazing city in the world among a star cast of athletes and be a star yourself as over 2 million spectators cheer you on.  It was an amazing feeling and I credit the crowds with providing the momentum and inspiration for all finishers.  We couldn’t have done it without them.  With that said, I have to pay special tribute to the Brooklyn spectators..they rocked! That was the only part of the race where I was able to leave my pain somewhat behind and connect with the crowds, which wasn’t bad, because it meant that for just over half of the race I was there; body, mind and spirit.

 CONGRATS all around, especially to all FINISHERS!

NYC-Marathon

Now that’s it’s all over, what’s next, you may ask.  Well, since I didn’t make my qualifying time for Boston 2015, I’m giving it a go once again at the Miami Marathon on 2 February, 2014.  Hopefully injury-free and in top form with nothing but beautiful scenery and a pretty flat course accompanying me.  Of slight concern is the weather, as it’ll most likely be MIAMI-HOT but I’ve run in temperatures like that before, I’m a Caribbean gal after all, and so I just have to prime myself for this.  I feel so excited and know that having run New York is just the beginning.  The sky’s the limit or more likely the World Marathon Series! Stay tuned for more on that.

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