Doing things that scare you {Falmouth Road Race Recap}

I’ve mentioned it in a few Instagram posts by now, but last weekend I ran the Falmouth Road Race. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s one of the most popular summer races in Massachusetts. I had never been, so I wasn’t sure why, but I knew I wanted to run it.

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Fast forward to last week when we were out to dinner with some friends, one of which has a family home in Falmouth and has run the race over 10 times by now. We were talking about the race and my urge to run it was even more real… even considering it was a short 4 days away.

If you know me, you know that when I get my mind on something, I can’t let it go, so when I saw someone selling their bib (shhh), I had to jump on it. Not only was it after I hit “send” on Venmo that I realized “Holy Sh*t! What did I just get myself into? I haven’t run much at all lately and haven’t run more than 4 miles in probably 3 years”.

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As I voiced this concern to people, everyone said “you’ll be fine! You’re so active and so fit. It’ll be easy!” While they were so kind to give me those words of encouragement, it wasn’t totally successful in quieting the negative words & thoughts in my head telling me it would be hard and that I would regret my decision to run a 7 mile race entirely untrained (in terms of running). I wasn’t afraid of not finishing, but moreso in what condition I’d finish in. Would I go out too fast and burn out too quickly? Would I cramp up? Would I have to stop a lot? What’s the slowest I thought I’d actually run it?

By the time Saturday night rolled around, I was a bundle of nerves, but luckily slept great. I woke up Sunday excited, but still very nervous! I got dressed, braided my hair, applied sunscreen, packed my throw away bag to hold my snacks & water and got ready to go. My friends Sheila and Amy drove me to the race bus pickup which was a good distraction and got me excited about it.

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I ended up getting to the race start over an hour and a half early, which left lots of alone time for me to continue to be nervous, lol. My sister texted me and when I told her I was nervous, she said that was so weird because I never get nervous. And she was right! Most of the time I feel confident about my abilities, but for some reason (likely because I didn’t traing), I felt SO nervous and scared! When I texted my concerns to my mom, she hit the nail on the head with her response and it helped to calm me down (funny how moms are always able to do that).

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Shortly after she sent that I ended up seeing a picture on Insta of a friend I used to work with so I ended up meeting up with her and her friend which was exactly what I needed – distraction from being nervous and people to hang with!

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Before we knew it, it was time to start. We were already sweating, so I was happy that the race started a bit slower than I normally would. The crowds were huge so it was a struggle to navigate them throughout the first handful of miles. Looking back, this was a blessing in disguise because it forced me to run slower than normal, which I think was necessary in order for me to finish the race feeling as strong as I did, rather than coming out too fast and burning out halfway through.

The course was incredibly beautiful – lots of rolling hills, gorgeous homes, views of the water and amazing spectators. I couldn’t help but get super emotional as I was running – there’s something about races that do that for me!

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The miles ticked away and I continued to feel good. I was getting negative splits as the crowds dispersed a bit, but I knew to still take it easy since it was a longer race than I’ve run in a long time. Around miles 4-5.5 I started to get super antsy. It was just a long, straight, flat part of the course entirely in the sun and I just wanted to see RM and my friends. I knew they were just before the 6 mile mark so it seemed like those 2 miles DRAGGED on. I felt hot, tired and ready to be done, however, seeing RM and my friends helped give me the push I needed as I forged ahead to the last mile.

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By this point, my feet felt like hot sausages stuffed in my sneakers, I was getting a blister, felt dehydrated and started to cramp up a bit. I paused for a brief moment twice in that last mile as I prepared for the big hill at the end. Leading up to the hill, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it without walking, but I did it, slow step by slow step and getting to the top felt so great! Before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line and it’s hard to explain how amazing it felt.

I had done it. I had completed the 7 mile race. I felt good (all things considered). I was smiling. And I was so happy it was over, lol ūüėČ

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As I continue to reflect on the race and the experience, I am so proud of myself for doing something that scared the sh*t out of me. I fought through all of the “I can’t’s” in my head and I proved to myself that I CAN. It was uncomfortable at times, but I am stronger for having done it – it truly is amazing what you can accomplish once you put your mind to it and give it a try.

I like to think of it this way: we can live our lives only doing things that make us feel safe or comfortable, or we can push through that and challenge ourselves by doing things that scare us a little or make us feel uncomfortable. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather live my life doing the latter- it’s a hell of a lot more exciting and when you realize you CAN do things you didn’t think you could, well, it’s the most incredible feeling.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words and to RM, Sheila and Amy for being so supportive while I was running!! Huge thank you to my friends at NB for inviting us to hangout at their after party, which was exactly what I needed! And thanks to Sheila’s parents for letting us stay at their Inn and then using their boat for the afternoon. It was a weekend I will never forget!

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Questions for you: Have you ever run the Falmouth Road Race? Do you like to run races? When’s the last time you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone?

 

Just Do Something

As part of one of my book clubs, we read The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, by Mark Manson. This book was incredible- a true must-read for everyone (seriously), and while I could talk about so many things, I want to first talk about one part/method that really aligned with my views regarding getting sh*t done. What he calls it is the “Do Something” principle.

In this section, Mark talks about how we have it all wrong when it comes to trying to get something done. Generally speaking, we operate in an Inspiration ->  Motivation -> Action circle, which basically means that we think in order to get things done, we first need to be inspired, which will in turn motivate us to take action.

But what about when you are having trouble getting inspired? What do you do then? Nothing, right? ¬†It’s all too overwhelming and frustrating not being able to find inspiration to do whatever it is you need to do (work, design, workout, clean, homework, project, shopping, meal prepping, etc.).

However, the¬†¬†“Do Something” principle is all about showing us that the aforementioned chain is not really the best way to go about accomplishing a task. Instead, he says that we need to DO something. Anything, really, just to get started. Once we get started, we will usually get some inspiration and then motivation to keep going and continue taking action, getting more inspired and more motivated. Make sense? In other words:

Action-> Inspiration -> Motivation

As soon as I read this, it all made so much sense, and it aligns so well with one of the messages I try to get out through my blog.  Take this list for instance (all things I talk about a lot on the blog):

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Meal Prepping
  • Working out
  • Responding to emails
  • Picking up the clutter in your house
  • Working on a big project

Am I right saying that when these are weighing on you, it’s hard to get motivation to do them. Maybe it’s too overwhelming to think about how much you have to do or how long it will take. Maybe it’s just dread because you simply don’t want to do them.

However, when you apply the “Do Something” principle to these tasks, it simply means that you just have to start. Just do something towards reaching your end goal, and that could look a little something like this:

  • Looking through your cabinents & refridgerator and making a grocery list
  • Making a meal plan for the week
  • Getting your workout clothes on, new playlist downloaded or finding a new workout to try
  • Opening your inbox and deleting all of the junk/spam/not important/no response required emails so as to knock your “unread” count down a bit
  • Creating a timeline or a “big picture” outline of what needs to go into the project

By breaking it down into small, mini-steps it does a few things: 1. It makes it seem easier and more doable and 2. Allows you to focus on what’s in front of you and what needs to get done first, rather than feeling overwhelmed by thinking about the item as a whole. The key thing here, though, is that if you just DO SOMETHING in relation to any of these things, you’re one step closer to accomplishing said task/project, and for me, that right there gives me motivation to keep going. I celebrate each small victory (making the grocery list, getting my workout clothes on and to the gym, etc.), which helps push me towards the end goal.

I just recently talked about how if I don’t want to meal prep, I tell myself to just cut up vegetables, or set a timer and see what I can get done in 30 minutes, and usually I end up going longer because the simple action of doing something motivated me to continue doing something. Same thing for the gym- if I don’t want to workout, I give myself a small goal: 10 minutes or just start by walking or just do one circuit. And again, 99% of the time once I get going, I’m motivated to keep going.

These are just a few examples, but I’m hoping that they shed a little light into ways to help you start working towards whatever it is that’s weighing on you or that’s something you dread by following the “Do Something” principle and just starting. Not worrying about finishing or the steps along the way, but just starting.

Questions for you: Have you read this book yet? What are your thoughts on it? How do you get yourself to do something you may not feel like doing? Does any of this resonate with you?

You Never Know Who You May Be Inspiring

Last week was an interesting week- I worked my normal 40+ hour work week at my day job and taught 4 classes in 3 days (3 of those classes in 1 day). But, I was also able to get to the gym after work to take a class one day and then on another, I was able to come right home after work, which never happens. RM and I were even able to go out for a mid-week drink, which also never happens! It was a good mix of work and play, and even though it was tiring because of long days, there were were so many times when I felt really thankful for what I am able to do on a daily basis.

Blogging, teaching, sharing workouts, organizing workouts, etc., while so rewarding, can also be time consuming and hard “jobs”. It takes a lot of behind the scenes prep work and execution in order to make things go smoothly or to have content to share, and while I get to see people benefit from the work I put into making playlists, planning workouts, trying out new moves, etc., blogging doesn’t always provide me with such clear “rewards”. Often times- especially lately- I wonder if anyone is even reading, enjoying or relating to the posts that I write.

Do people even do the workouts I share? Do people relate to any of the more personal topics I share and talk about? Are the time saving, meal prepping, organization tips valuable or useful to anyone who might be reading this little blog?

I’ll be honest when I say that I probably question these things too much, which is a big reason behind why I haven’t been blogging as much over the past few months (although I am trying to make it more of a priority!)- why bother if no one is reading?

But last week, I had validation from three different people telling me that you guys actually DO read this little blog. You DO try the workouts. You DO relate to stories or situations I share. You DO appreciate the tips I share to make healthy living a little easier.

And while this may not seem like a big deal, it means the world to me to hear these things. To know that I am helping you in one way or another validates all of the time I spend on thinking of topics to write about and then actually writing them.

In the world of fitness, I also had validation that I am motivating and inspiring people, which is both amazing, but also humbling. I put so much time and energy into making myself the best instructor that I can be, to create challenging yet doable workouts, to connect with the members, to lead by example in my own workouts, etc., so to have people tell me that I inspired them to try something new or to get a workout in even when they didn’t want to or that they pushed themselves harder in class because they saw me pushing hard, is crazy, but crazy awesome.

And it just goes to show you that you never know who you might be inspiring by your daily actions. A simple smile, holding the door, offering your help, nailing a presentation, lifting heavy weights, doing burpees, cooking a nice meal, etc. All of those things can impact others around you without you even realizing it.

I want to challenge you this week to tell someone if they inspire or motivate you- whether it’s at work, at the gym, at home or somewhere else. Because, although simple, it could help make someone’s day (or week), and maybe even inspire or motivate them to share the love.

So, I want to thank all of you for your support and for letting me be a bit of inspiration or motivation – you guys are what make it all worth it.

If you want to hear more about why I teach and why I love it so much, check out this video. I’m really proud of how it came out ūüôā

 

“I’ll Do My Best”

Which is all anyone can really ask for, right? As a group exercise instructor, I have the ability to work with various fitness abilities, ages, injuries, etc., which is one of the reasons why I love my job so much. Every class is different which keeps me on my toes, making sure I am able to adequately teach, help and push everyone. Before my sweat-KICK class at Foster Fitness last week, I had a fittie (that’s what Meghan calls her members- love it!) come up to me before class and say that she knew she wasn’t good, but she was going to do her best and keep coming because she loves the class.

Of course my first response to her comment was to assure her that she was good and that I see improvements from her every class. As long as they are safely sweating, I don’t care if they’re not on the same lead or not able to keep up with all the combos- that will come with time and more experience in my classes.

What I loved about my brief interaction with her was that she wasn’t going to let anything like not getting the combos or not being able to do pushups on her toes get her down or stop her from coming. And, what I loved even more was hearing her say “I’ll do my best” because that is all I ever ask my members/fitties to do. We are all different and each day our bodies react to exercise differently based on how much sleep we’ve had, what we’ve eaten, how much stress we are under, etc., so I don’t ever ask them to be better than they were yesterday. I just ask that they do their best THAT DAY.

By going into a workout (or anything, really), with the mindset of doing our best rather than comparing ourselves to someone else or how we did something on another day, we are allowing ourselves to appreciate everything we can do. If my best one day is only running 2 miles or doing incline pushups or squatting 100 pounds, then what good does it do me to compare myself to someone who posted on Instagram their “awesome 5 miler” or “easing back into it with 150 pounds today” or even what I did last week? You’re right. It doesn’t do me any good. Rather, appreciating what you were able to do THAT DAY leaves you with a much better feeling, right? If you give it your all, no matter whether your “all” is more or less than your neighbor’s or what you’ve done previously, then you’re doing your best and that’s great.

So I challenge you to do your best today- whether it’s with a work project, participating in a meeting, getting to the gym or a class or anything else you may face. And even more, I want you to soak in the feeling of appreciating your best TODAY. Not yesterday or last week or even where you want to get. But your best today. Soak it in, give yourself a pat on the back and thank yourself for doing your best. Because at the end of the day, that’s all anyone can really ask of you.

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Photo credit: Janelle Carmela Photography