The Strength to Run the Race

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Michelene Cleary, aka MICHCLEARY

“True Strength is not brute force; it is a quiet decision to do whatever it takes to get the results that you want.” Yoga Magazine – March Issue

It all started out easy enough, the wellness challenge at the office that recommended participation with SparkPeople. That was nineteen months ago for me and I look back on that day as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Little did I know how much the decision to not only join, but participate with my whole heart, would change my life. As I write this blog I am down a total of 95 lbs and very close to my goal weight.

Earning SparkPoints through SparkPeople was part of the way to win the challenge, so I worked hard to get as many as I could in the beginning. That’s when I stumbled across this dailySpark blog by Coach Nicole. I was so inspired by her blog that I decided to run a 5K. I hadn’t run one in over 20 years and have never considered myself a runner. I talked my best friend into joining me and we ran together in November of 2009.

We had a good time at a very small race and decided to keep it up in 2010. We ended up running five races last year. Through it we’ve donated to cancer research, several other nonprofit organizations and have become runners. We’ve had some crazy experiences, run with Coach Nancy and other SparkDallas members, and have now added my youngest daughter to our running craze. Our goal this year is to run 12 races.

Through the experiences on SparkPeople I have realized that there is strength in numbers. If you look up strength in the dictionary you’ll find: the quality or state of being strong; force as measured in numbers (an army at full strength). I do have to have personal strength to pursue my goals, but I am continually supported by the friends/teammates on SparkPeople. They always inspire me to push beyond my normal limits, and give me the motivation when mine is at a low point.

I’ve added to running 5K's and on March 27th will be completing my very first half marathon at the Dallas Rock ‘N Roll event. I shared my goal on my blogs and with my teammates, and have had great support during training. I still hesitate when people call me a runner, usually qualifying it as my weaker sport. The benefit to me of sharing the goal is that it is out there and people hold me accountable to the spoken word. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said “Well done is better than well said.” Saying it compels me to do it.

So from the very first step on March 27th until I cross that finish line after 13.1 miles, I’ll be carrying the support of all my SparkPeople friends. It’s my intention to not stop until I have that medal around my neck and the word finisher after my name. I will owe part of that victory to Coach Nicole and her broccoli/running-loving ways.

What will you do this year that is a stretch goal? Who will you share it with?
Remember – "you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take" - Wayne Gretzky. Take a shot today and register for an event, try a new sport, or join a SparkTeam. We’re all here to support you, and in that you will find strength to make it through.