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Monday, June 1, 2009

Change Your Mind About What You Can Do

Dear Boys and Girls,

Back in 1999, I joined a triathlon club because I thought it would be fun, and well, because my husband at the time had joined and I tagged along. To my surprise, I discovered a love for the support.

I wasn't very good at it even though I had been on the track team in high school. The only reason I had joined the track team was because I was hoping it would help me lose weight. It didn't, by the way. People always laugh when I tell them that I once finished an Olympic distance triathlon right behind the 69 year old lady with the hip replacement. Um, no, I really did. I was just happy to finish that race or any race for that matter. My trophy was that I almost always finished last. Whatever, I thought, I'm not an athlete.

So, how did I win second place in my age group 35-39 yesterday in a 5k race when I have only run about 5 times in the past two years? Yes, boys and girls, I came in at 24 minutes and 36 seconds! That's a 7:59 pace! Okay, I'm not ready to go to Olympics just yet, but still!! Honestly, I never imagined that such a time would be possible for me.

BeachBody, baby! The programs work to change your level of fitness, but also to help you change the way you think about yourself.

When I showed up for the race yesterday, my goal was to work hard at keeping a 9 minute pace. I was there to push myself hard, that's all I knew. For better or for worse, my speed tracker was set on kilometers, and so, I had no idea how fast or how slow I was going. So, I adjusted my plan: Barbie, just run hard. Pace yourself. But run!! Push!

So, I ran! I pushed beyond my comfort zone and then I pushed a little more. If Shaun T's insanity hadn't killed me, this race wouldn't.

Early on in the race, I saw a man in front of me who was clearly fit and whose pace would be challenging, but not impossible for me to follow. So, I started following him. Then somewhere around mile two, he dropped behind and I could hardly believe it. Barbie left behind Mr. Super duper fit?? Really?! I just kept going and pushed a little harder. I can. I will. When the lady with the clicker called my time at mile 2--17:03--again, I asked, "reallly?!".

Was I tired? Oh, goodness, let's just say I was glad no one was around me. I was breathing so heavily it was embarrassing, but I had a destination to reach! Admittedly, for the last mile, I wanted to slow down, I wanted to walk, but I didn't. Instead, I just kept repeating, "I can. I will. I can. I will." I told myself that if I slowed down now, I would erase the hard work I had put in the first two miles. What could I do now, I asked myself, that would make me proud at the finish line?

Keep pushing, Barbie! Run! So, I ran.

It felt as if the finish line would never come. The last 400, 300, 200 meters felt endless. But, I pushed, and holy moly, I could hardly believe that I had done it in 24 something minutes.

It's just a race. Yes. But, something has changed. There's very little I feel I can't do. I find myself always asking:

Why not me?

I can. I will.

Bring it!!!!

Barbie, PhD


Meike said...

What a fantastic "sharing" of your race. Reading it, I felt like I was there with you. Loved your mantra, btw. I might have to borrow it climbing a mountain, this weekend, at the start of a 24 mile hike. That hill almost kicked my hiney last year. This year, I say, "Bring it On!"

Great job, Barbie. You are an inspiring lady.

Jem09 said...

What an awesome blog post barbie! I'm so proud of you :) I ran my first 5k last november and your rigt its very empowering to complete it. "I can I will I can I will" so powerful and SO true! great job!

Coach Barbie, PhD said...

Wow! THanks! I thought this blog post might be too boring, but I wrote it anyway.
The "I can. I will." mantra I got from Tony HOrton. He posted about it on facebook and it's somewhere on my blog. :)

Kimberly Drever said...

Hey Barbie, I have passed on to you a Lemonade Award cause you're inspiring! I hope you stop by to accept it. Kim