This summer, I ran the lululemon Seawheeze half marathon. Unexpectedly. Accidentally, you could say.
The Seawheeze is one hot race. It usually sells out in minutes. Trust me, I’d been trying to get in for five years.
But last fall, the Running Gods looked upon me and finally offered me the chance to run the race and I took it as fast as my internet speed would let me click “sign me up!”
Fast-forward almost a full year, and when it came time to start training, I found out I was pregnant.
As a runner for the last 5 years, I wasn’t worried. I’d run 5 half marathons in the past; I was sure I could do one more.
But honestly, the first trimester of pregnancy kicked my butt. Hard. Between nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, and headaches, just eating and staying upright was a daily, monumental challenge.
Added to that was the fact that my body was getting ready for labour by loosening muscles in my pelvic area (the body is AMAZING, btw!). This sounds great, except it was creating pain so excruciating it has been difficult to roll over in bed, stand up, sit up and walk, let alone run for any length of time (without something chasing me).
The race weekend was coming up and I knew I at least wanted to participate. I worked with a whole team - chiropractor, osteopath, physiotherapist and reiki healer, in hopes it would help me walk and roll over better, and comfortably do a few kilometers on race day.
Race day came, and my goal was to do 10km.
And when I hit 10km, someone said “you’re halfway there”! I looked around me and saw other women, pregnant and rockin’ it. I saw people of all ages and fitness levels, still going. And I felt the energy that comes from working towards a common goal as a group and came alive.
I decided to keep going. And I ended up completing the entire race!
No-one was more shocked than I was.
I felt Ah-MAZING!
It turns out, I am much more capable than I ever knew. And you are too.
Here's how I know you are unbelievably capable of anything and absolutely UNSTOPPABLE:
1. Joy trumps everything and makes anything possible. While running, I was having FUN on the race. I was soaking up the energy from those around me. I was taking in the sights of Vancouver as I ran through it.
I wasn’t focused on a goal, or a time or a target. I was just enjoying.
2. Pain does not equal suffering. I’ll be honest. For most half marathons that I’ve done, I have pain. Inevitably, my head, feet, back, calves, or other muscle I didn’t know existed, gives me some horrendous pain.
Not focusing on the pain made this pregnant, hot, sweaty race the most fun I’ve ever had running 21.1 kms (because 21.2kms would just be crazy…).
I ran collecting high-fives, sharing smiles, and cheering as loudly as I could for all of us.
And that was way better than collecting metals, sharing best times and cheering for just myself.
I always expect that from kilometers 15-21, I’ll wonder what the heck I’m doing. I know the last .1km at the end of the race will last forever. And I’ll cry because it’s just what I do at the end of races.
But this time, when the pain hit, I expected it. I knew it was normal. And yet I was having so much fun, I hardly noticed it.
I was in pain whether I walked or ran, and had a bit of a side lean/limp to me. I was not a pretty or graceful gazelle crossing the finish line.
Those last few kilometers, despite the pain, I was having fun. I was not suffering.
And there IS a difference.
Despite the pain, the limp, the lean I had going on, I was still laughing. I was still excited and grateful to be there.
I was still chatting with friends, taking in the sights, and strategizing what I was going to eat after the race (incredibly joyful and motivating!).
Pain is not optional. But suffering is. And this time, I chose to not suffer.
(Also, will someone send this to me and help me remember this before labour in January? Thank you, much appreciated.)
3. Trying is better than not trying. You might get further than you ever expected.
You’re capable of more than you ever imagine. More dreams and goals die before they begin because of fear, than because of failure.
And let’s be honest, failure really isn’t that bad.
But success IS that good. Accomplishment feels THAT amazing. Doing good – BEING good – is totally, absolutely worth the fact that you might fail.
Trying is all that matters. Don’t stop trying.
Now, this might all sound pretty and poetic… and possibly helpful if you spontanteously end up pregnant in a half marathon… but what does this look like in everyday life?
Here’s how to become unstoppable:
- Find a way to be joyful in the work you do. Heck, in all you do. Pick one “fun” task for the day, every day, and crank up the music, invite a friend to join you, or pop some sparkling water to create joy as you do it
- Separate pain from suffering by committing to make the best of it. A weekly work meeting you particularly dread might be the perfect chance to practice this. Try volunteering to take on part of the meeting, or commit to taking three leadership lessons out of it. Find a way to focus on more than just how crappy the situation is.
- Not sure if you can do something? Who cares? Just try. Who knows… you might get further than you think. Apply for that promotion. Sign up for that race. Start that business. Ask that cute guy on a date. Just friggin’ try.
- Recognize that all things will involve pain. Even a good massage often involves some deep breathing as your muscles release. The same goes for starting a new job or business – the learning curve can hurt. There’s sometimes pain involved when you set up your first automatic savings plan (goodbye daily happy hours…_). Being prepared for the “painpoints” and knowing it’s normal, means that you can be mentally strong enough to overcome that pain and push through to the inevitable benefits and success that will come.
In moments of doubt, pain, or even suffering, remember these words. Remember these lessons. And use them to propel you to be even better than you knew you could be.
Let this little picture of me at the end of the race - mine and baby's first half marathon together - serve as a reminder that you are absolutely unstoppable and capable of more than you imagine.
Go for it.
Success Coach & Speaker
PS. Earlier this week, I hopped onto Facebook Live and hosted a session of "Pick Lisa's Brain." On the call, I shared:
-How to make more time in your life (just one of these tricks will make you 25% more productive!)
-Calendar schedulers and avoiding the back-and-forth of arranging meetings, clients, and more!
-What do to if you've been insulted and it's still sticking with you
-How I include self-care in my life and you can too
AND I have a huge announcement coming this Monday but I shared it early on this call too (#spoileralert).
Got other questions for future "Pick Lisa's Brain"? Hit "reply" and let me know! I love helping you create a modern career - one where you have work you love AND a fun-filled live!
And until then, catch the replay of "Pick Lisa's Brain."