Happy Tuesday! I’m so glad that Monday is behind us and also that it’s a recovery week for me. I have two hard ‘workouts’ on tap this week (tomorrow morning with 8 miles @ goal marathon pace & then Friday afternoon with 3 x 1 mile @ 7:20-6:50ish pace) and then 3 easy runs and that is all! It’s refreshing to have these weeks, where I’m 100% focused on recovery (i.e. getting my hair cut tomorrow and a massage booked ; ) , along with ample sleep). I also really love to train hard because it helps push me beyond what I believe are my capabilities.
Maybe you already know this by now, but I love to reflect when I’m running (anyone else there like to do this?). I know so many that say ‘don’t look back or don’t compare’, which normally I AGREE with, however with International Women’s Day coming up on March 8th - it got me thinking how grateful I am to have so much in my life and to have the ability to train hard every day. My parents sacrificed so much for me to be able to participate in sports growing up. Not only was I introduced to the great outdoors, but I learned how hard work and determination can help you reach your goals. I learned that with team work, you can achieve more than you would have just on your own.
Way before I began running, I was super into figure skating. A very individual sport. I would train at 5:30 in the morning before school, after school, and on the weekends. I would travel over an hour to get to my coach several times a week and often sacrifice social events to prioritize my training and schoolwork. I loved how skating made me feel-
When I was on the ice, I felt free to be creative.
Strong even when I was falling. Resilient even when I didn't get the placement I wanted.
Being able to engage myself in skating gave me the confidence to pursue so many other opportunities outside of the rink.
When I arrived to Syracuse (the first barrier that skating helped me break- I’m a first-generation college student!), I honestly had a hard time transitioning. It was a BIG school and I had lived a pretty sheltered life until then. I had never had friends who criticized their bodies or called themselves ‘fat’. I always appreciated my body for all that it did for me and never looked to food as somethings ‘bad’ for you. But WOW does college sure open your eyes to so many things! Unfortunately these thoughts started to hit me pretty hard and I no longer had skating in the same way that I had growing up. I still competed on the Synchronized Skating Team and trained when I could on my own, but once the negative seeds had been planted- there really was no turning back. I waviered through my college years; however my confidence was still pretty high (in some aspects). I guess that’s why I took on so many leadership roles and ended up taking something crazy like 18-20 credits per semester (WHO WAS I?!?). I also started to create those ‘bucketlist’ items - which is how I found myself running towards my first half marathon finish line.
At the time, I had no idea how much an impact running would later make on my life. It’s funny how something that seems ‘impossible’ provides the most satisfaction when you achieve it. Finishing this race really boosted my confidence and gave me the strength that I had lost for a few years - I began to seek down opportunities that really terrified me.
I began exploring the outdoors.
I started hiking and camping by myself. When accomplishing these things, I felt strong. When others would question my plans or suggest that it wasn’t the best ‘idea’ to hike on my own- I was propelled to do it even more.
I began to stop questioning myself and then I started running more. I ran my first marathon and the confidence that came with checking off that accomplishment was incredible. I became hungrier to explore the outdoors and see everything that I could by foot.
I try to imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have the opportunity to participate in sports like skating or running. If I didn’t have the encouragement and barriers already broken by other strong women (thanks to my Mom, Grandmother, Michelle Obama, K.V. Switzer, Michelle Kwan to name a few!) in my life to pursue crazy goals - none of what I’ve accomplished would be possible. It’s incredible to imagine where I’ve come from, but I still believe that we have more to go.
I’m fired up and ready to tackle some really big (SCARY) goals this year in 2019.
Tell me- what barriers has someone else broken down to help you become who you are today?
What barriers are you LOOKING to break down?
What has the ability to participate in sports given you?