Sixteen months ago I wrote a blog that documented my running achievements thus far and gave a few tips on staying motivated and inspired in your journey. At that point I had ran my first three half marathons and I was getting ready to take Dawn Brell, the winner of my first “How Do You Celebrate Success” contest, to run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland. I’ve learned a few things since then.
Sometimes life changes and things can get a little crazy.
I started working full time as a professional weight loss and wellness coach in an all-women’s gym facility and the time I used to have to write about everything I was doing suffered greatly, as all my extra time outside of work was being spent on trying to get my own exercise done and getting acclimated to my new situation.
My days off became the days I had to run errands and get things done around the house and all that free time I once had thanks to my old work-from-home, set-your-own-hours life started to dwindle. Finding the time to be a runner, a blogger, a puppy mom and a good girlfriend sort of took a back seat to my career.
In March of 2014, I held the second “How Do You Celebrate Success Contest” and my winner Amy Smith and I were off and running. First we were doing a couch to 10k program to get ourselves ready to run a 10k that we would submit as our pace time for coral placement and next, we were training for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.
Sometimes the biggest struggle is admitting you need support and being able to ask for it.
I lost myself somewhere between June and October. A really horrible bout of anniversary grief took me for a tail spin in June and it really took quite a while for me to recover. I learned a valuable lesson though. I’m not impervious to falling into old bad habits and I don’t deal with the time of year that my Father passed away well when I try to do it alone.
But I had obligations to people that were important to me. I had a commitment to Amy, as well as a commitment to a client of mine, Megan Hyler, to run the half marathons with them that I had helped them train for.
As the time for the first half marathon I had to run approached I was terrified. I wasn’t sure I could do it. I was convinced that all the time I had let go by between June and September had cost me my cardiovascular endurance and I’d lost the confidence that I could actually run 13.1 miles so I did what I normally do when I start doubting myself.
Sometimes you gotta pull up your big girl panties and deal with it.
So I went out and ran a half marathon, by myself, with just my dad and the music as my chip and time-keeper and I reminded myself that though it might be hard and I might have to push myself, I could indeed still do it.
Two weeks later I ran my fifth half marathon next to Megan Hyler at the Wake Forest Haunted Hallowed Half and pulled a PR of 2:31:59
Two weeks later, I was on a plane to Orlando to meet up with Amy, her friend Stacey as well as my dear friends Tammy, Heather and Joy, to do the Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney World where we all got to experience Heather running her first 5k. I learned so much about myself in that experience. I grew as a person and a coach thanks to the amazing women that were there to help support me.
Then came December, my first Christmas away from Oregon, and depression and sadness started sneaking their way back into my world. I sort felt like taking on a new career had taken over my life and put a dent in the things that were once a top priority for me, running, writing and sharing my journey with others.
My next half marathon was supposed to be in March. I had committed to running with a member of the gym that had tried to train for a half marathon two times before and had to stop because of injuries, and as March started creeping near I doubted myself and my ability to run a half marathon.
So I pulled on my big girl panties and signed up for another half marathon. I’d ran 3 half marathons in 2013, 4 half marathons in 2014 and now to try to get 2015 started right and convince myself I still had what it took, I did a last day registration for a local half marathon and got up early the next morning and went and ran the Wilmington 13.1 Half Marathon.
Less than a month later, with a lot of babying an unpredictable knee issue I ran my 9th half marathon alongside Ashley Hunt at the Quintiles Half Marathon
Sometimes you don’t realize your achievements until you write them down.
That half marathon really put some things in perspective for me. That morning Ashley and I went into that half marathon both a little unsure of what our bodies were going to allow us to do. When we finished that half marathon Ashley said something to me that will stick with me forever “Thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you.”
It was the first time that I had the experience of running beside someone who really needed me there to help push them. Most of the other women I have taken to a half marathon already ran one before they ran with me. They had done the same thing I had done, proven to themselves that they could do it first.
But crossing the finish line with Ashley as she completed her first half marathon was a new experience for me.
That’s the point that I sat down and started to look at what I had really accomplished. Since I started my new career this year I’ve had the privilege of giving several of my clients their first taste of running.
In the beginning of 2014 I had a goal to help inspire others find the love of achievements like your first 5k, your first 10k and your first half marathon. I had held these two contests on my site in order to help facilitate that dream and I had accomplished it. Being a part of Dawn and Amy’s journey to their first half marathon was amazing.
Through my career this year I have also been able to walk beside two women who are very special to me in their first 5k at the Wilma Dash with Jamie Martin and her amazing daughter Kylee. I’ve been able to run beside Nichole Marshall and Whitney Umberger in their first 5k at Color Me Rad. I got to be a part of Megan Hyler’s amazing journey from first 5k to first half marathon and got to cheer her on as she continued to take on her first full marathon and soon, her first ultra-marathon.
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of running beside a new client turned friend, Sarah Hanson as she ran her first 5k. Sarah had taken on the personal challenge of running her first 5k in honor of her mother. Nervous and unsure of herself I decided to take the pressure of trying to do it with everyone watching off and take Sarah to run her first 5k with me the weekend before. Completing that 5k with her was really special, I got to see Sarah realize what she is capable of and though she swore to me she’d never run a full marathon, she didn’t exclude running a half marathon, and that brought a smile to my face.
Last weekend Sarah ran her second 5k in order to honor her mother and to do something healthy to deal with the anniversary grief of her mother leaving this world instead of falling back into unhealthy habits. In order to support Sarah two of her fellow Weight Loss Boot Camp ladies Crystal Conklin and April Turner took on running their first 5k alongside her.
I had led the entire group in a stretching warm up routine before the 5k started and one of the gentleman there told us that he was running his first 5k. We noticed him several times along the route and gave him the thumbs up every time we saw him to encourage him. Once all my girls had crossed the finish line I decided to go back for him and see if he needed a little encouragement or support. When I told the girls I was going back, Crystal and Sarah decided that they were going to go back with me too. April would have gone too but she was nursing a really bad blister.
Let me just say that for someone who has lost weight and changed their entire career in order to help others fight obesity to see my clients come out to support one another and then go back to encourage someone else like this is one of the biggest emotional rewards I have ever received. Thank you ladies, it makes my heart sing to know that my clients are adopting the same pay it forward mentality that I have.
Sometimes you just have to stop and breathe and be grateful for what you have done.
Being a part of all amazing women’s journey has been a blessing for me this past year. It’s taught me more about who I am, what sort of coach I am, and it’s shown me that almost every experience that I have gone through during my own weight loss and running journey holds the value of experience that I get to pass on to others.
To each of you ladies that have chosen me as your friend, coach, and running partner. Thank you. Each of you has gifted me with something that is absolutely priceless, the experience of seeing you grow into healthier and happier versions of yourselves and celebrating your successes with you.
Each of us has a personal story, our journey is one big book and we write each chapter as we go. While I am always amazed by how my story can help motivate and inspire others I am even more amazed by how being a part of your stories motivates and inspires me.
I think one of the most important things for us to remember is that even though things might be scary and thought we might doubt ourselves sometimes it’s important to remember that sometimes life gets crazy and we have to roll with it and sometimes we just need to stop, look at what we have done and appreciate the journey and be grateful for it.
Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies, a Motivational Speaker and Exercise Instructor at a women’s only fitness facility in Wilmington North Carolina.
Dear Slender Seekers,
If you know anything about this Weight Loss & Wellness Coach you know that I love nothing more than encouraging and motivating folks to be the best version of themselves that they can be and that I think a great way to do that is to present a challenge that not only inspires you to do so but rewards you for doing so as well.
Setting SMART Goals and building your personal integrity by keeping the promises you make to yourself is one of the most handy tools I can put in a client’s weight loss journey tool box and my dear friend over at Bariatric Foodie has something going on that goes along with this concept.
Instead of me telling you all about it I thought I’d ask the author of one if the most amazing food inspired weight loss websites out there to do it herself. Without further whoop dee doo … Heeeere’s Nikki!
Guest Blog by Author of “Bariatric Foodie”
My name is Nikki Massie and I am a (GOOD) friend of Pandora’s. I also run a blog called Bariatric Foodie, where folks gather to learn to “play with their food” for weight loss success.
Although my blog’s main audience is people who have had weight loss surgery, we welcome anyone on the path to better health. That’s one reason why I like to do challenges! That’s something I know Pandora and I have in common.
In fact I have a challenge coming up that I’d like to invite you to check out. It’s called The Bariatric Foodie Pledge.
Tell me if you’ve ever experienced this. The new year comes, you make a resolution and work REALLY hard at it for a few weeks…then you run out of steam. The Bariatric Foodie Pledge is designed to keep that fire under you by encouraging you to make healthy goals and hold yourself accountable. Here’s how it works.
Starting February 1st, at the beginning of each week in February you’ll “pledge” a goal. All week-long you’ll work hard on that goal. At the end of the week you’ll be accountable and “check in” by answering a few questions. This all happens at the Bariatric Foodie website.
Everyone who does that each week is entered to win a weekly prize drawing. Everyone who does that all four weeks is eligible to win the “Winner Takes All” grand prize. That’s right, if you win the grand prize you win EVERYTHING that EVERYONE else won the previous four weeks!
What better motivation to work on your most challenging goals. I’d love to see you Slender Seekers participating and winning prizes. Will you join us?
If so, there’s some important information and a quick technology system check you need to do. So visit http://bit.ly/BFPledge2015 to check it all out – then get ready to crush your goals and (hopefully) win some prizes.
Hope to see you at the Pledge!