I originally had a different blog post ready to share today but I had such a powerful experience this weekend that I wanted to share it with you.
This weekend, I was signed up to do the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon. I’ve done the race twice before and earlier this year I thought, yes, l want to do it a third time.
Training time started.
I scheduled the time in my calendar to do my runs.
I printed training schedules.
Then I went to Cuba and I didn’t run.
And I came home and I still didn’t run.
I was fighting a foot injury but instead of actively doing something to heal it, I gave up.
A few weeks ago, I came to a tough realization.
I wasn’t going to be able to do the half marathon
It just wasn’t going to happen.
It was a tough decision for me to pull out. I felt awful. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t do it. I was self-conscious. I felt like a running-wannabe.
I switched to the 8km run instead of the half marathon.
As you can tell, this thinking was ALL about me.
“I can’t do this.” “I suck.” “What’s wrong with me?”
At the race expo on Friday night, I had to change my mindset. I was done with the race being all about me. I didn’t like hearing all the terrible things I was telling myself.
Instead, I was motivated by the liveliness of others.
I decided to soak up the positive energy all I could for the weekend.
It’s incredible what happened when I shifted my thinking from ME to thinking of OTHER people.
I started thinking about how could I serve others in this race? How could I make the experience better for others? How could I immerse myself in the positivity from others? How could I enjoy the experience with the other amazing humans who were running?
I made an effort to care about others doing the race.
I spent the weekend meeting other runners and getting excited for THEIR races. I arrived early to my race so that I could cheer on those who were doing the half marathon.
This felt MUCH better than self doubt. Or embarrassment. Or self-consciousness.
This was brilliance.
See, life’s not about self-doubt. It's about soaking up the awesome.
I was caught up in dreading the weekend. Fearing telling people that I was "only" doing the 8km. Dreading doing it alone.
Talking about the race embarrassed me. Made me a little sick to my stomach.
I was self-conscious.
As soon as I got over myself, I was able to take it in and enjoy.
Be excited for other runners. Scream for other runners. Get motivated by humans who had accomplished what seems impossible.
I was able to watch teams prepare together and see the beauty of the camaraderie. I fed off the energy. I got goosebumps.
It was unbelievably inspirational. In fact, I cried before the race had even started. Yup I'm that girl.
It wasn't a perfect race. I still had to nervous-pee all morning. I plowed into someone sprinting to make the Skytrain. I drank wine the night before (sorry to my #runnowinelaterteam). I wined before... and after the race. My feet hurt so badly that I had to stop at the 5km mark to take my insoles out. (My finish line pictures have me carrying my insoles in my hand).
But WOW - was the race ever rewarding. And dazzling.
So I challenge you. Where in your life are you focusing on the negative aspects of yourself? Where do you need to tell your ego to shut up? Where can you open up tosee the awesome, the inspiring, the incredible?
Reflect and evaluate where you’re letting the ego win. Instead, make it about others, your journey and the human spirit.
Next time you find yourself in a situation you are feeling bad about yourself, shift that focus and make it about someone else. Help someone else. Show support for somebody else. Get excited for someone else. All those negative feelings will go away. There simply won’t be space for them. There will only be room for optimism and confidence!
I am so proud of absolutely everyone that did the run. Or any run. I’m proud of all the people who trained for months. Put their hearts and souls into preparation. The time, dedication, sweat, blisters and usually blood.
They did it!
And I did it too.
I have enormous gratitude to the volunteers and sponsors that make it possible. And to all the people who came to cheer us on. If you’re reading this, thank you. You make a difference in every runner’s life. And if you're a runner reading this - Congratulations!
This weekend, I was reminded that sporting events are only about ego if I let them be.
LIFE is only about ego if I let it be.
The race - and life - are really both about supporting each other. Testing ourselves. Pushing ourselves.
We get to be a part of the journey together, whether it’s 8k, 21k, 42k… or the journey of life.
Just watching, I was unbelievably inspired by other people. When I stopped making it about me and my ego, and made it about others and the human spirit, it completely changed the experience.
All my negative thoughts disappeared.
I opened my eyes, and my race became beautiful. Inspiring. Hopeful.
I couldn't be more grateful in this moment.
PS. I also had the pleasure of meeting two unbelievable men this weekend.
Here are their stories.
- Friday night, I met John Stanton, the founder of The Running Room. Check out this video of John’s story. John’s now done 61 marathons and on top of that, encouraged millions of Canadians to run!
- Saturday, while eating fish and chips, I met a man who flew from Japan for the race. He was doing his 83rd marathon. 83 marathons! Next week will be his 84th in Japan. And number 85 in New York in just a few weeks. In addition to being humbled and impressed, I felt a lot less guilty about choosing fish and chips as my race-prep meal.
Now you see, anything is possible.
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