“If the plan doesn’t work out, change the plan but never the goal.” Author Unknown
Earlier this year, I hosted an Envisioning accountability group and I set a goal, along with a few of the other members, to run the Cooper River Bridge Run. I wanted to feel strong and powerful. I wanted to trust my body again. My miscarriage had left me with a sense of distrust toward my body, and motherhood had left me with a half assed workout schedule. A good friend of mine shared with me that when she was done having her babies, she signed up for a half marathon as a way to empower herself again. This idea really inspired me.
Before having Mikayla, I ran 2 half marathons and got my black belt in Muay Tai kickboxing. After Mikayla I would try work out routines and then drop them. Nothing seemed to stick, and my drive was gone. I have gotten into yoga but even that has been half assed, and I really missed the competition that running races and doing karate brought into my life. So I set a goal to get back into running. However, for some reason, I was lazy about paying for this race. The entry was only $50 which is something I could afford and have paid to run races in the past but the last time I ran this race, I got free entry.
And a few years ago I was also offered free entry, so in my mind I wanted to manifest free entry again.
As time went by I couldn’t see a way to do this, and so I started to think I would just suck it up and pay. Then, Mike wasn’t sure if he was going to go home to Massachusetts for his Fantasy baseball draft (because yes he is THAT committed to Fantasy baseball) and so I kept things intentionally open by not signing up for the race. He ended up not going home, but things were still getting busy so I kept making excuses.
Two days before the race, one of my friends ended up with an extra bib, which she offered to me. Mike wasn’t going to be out of work in time for me to go (he works 24 hour shifts as a firefighter) and it seemed like a lot of work last minute to get a babysitter. But my decision plagued me. I don’t like not completing my goals. Then, the night before the race, another friend ended up with an unused bib that I could have. For the same reasons that I declined the first offer, I let this one pass me by too. However I couldn’t help but feel that these were all signs that I was meant to run this race!
I didn’t think much of my decision not to the next morning as my 6:00 am wake up call from Mikayla occurred. We did breakfast and put our hair in pigtail braids (because we wanted to be like Princess Anna, obvi) and then when Mike came home he said, “hey, do you guys want to walk over to the race to cheer on the runners?” Something awesome about living in downtown Charleston, as we now do, is being able to get involved with so many community activities in your backyard.
I literally had to put a bra on to go out because I had no intention of leaving the house for many hours. I didn’t even have my wallet with me. When we got out there and I saw the racers running, my adrenaline took over. I said to Mike, “do you think anyone would notice or care if I just joined the race?” He was apprehensive; he is less into impulsive decisions than I am. He also had to be somewhere in an hour and, of course, had that big Fantasy baseball draft to prepare for (In case you were worried or wondering the logistics—he Skyped in). I started to think of maybe taking Mikayla out in the stroller but wasn’t sure if strollers were even allowed.
Then, I saw a few strollers go by and Mikayla looked at me and said, “Mommy–why aren’t we running?” That was enough for me. I texted my friend Tiffany who was running, and she reassured me that other people were running with strollers. Of course it would have even been better if I had my jogging stroller, but one of the tires was flat and as the race was already in motion, I knew if we were going to do this thing, we had to do it now. And that is when my adventurous toddler and I jumped right into the race.
We ran the last 2 miles. Along the way if I ever stopped running, Mikayla encouraged me by saying “C’mon Mommy–why aren’t we running?” She was my best coach and motivator. People were also so supportive yelling things like “You got this mama!” It was all really inspiring, and I had many moments of gratitude. Gratitude for living in such a beautiful and cool place. Gratitude for my little girl and all the important reminders she provides me with about how life doesn’t have to be as complicated as we adults make it out to be. Gratitude for my physical body and the fact that even with my half assed work out routines, I can still jump in and run races.
I always love the adrenaline and motivation of races. People from all walks of life come out with different goals in mind but all of which center around community and healthy lifestyle–what’s not to love? And then there’s always a great big celebration after, and you feel so justified and empowered in celebrating.
As we crossed the finish line, M and I both took medals. After all I had 2 different opportunities to be in the race and so I knew I was taking the place of 2 people who couldn’t be there. And most importantly, even though she didn’t physically run, Mikayla was such a big part of this journey and I couldn’t have done it without her. She currently has both medals around her neck, and I know this has been a special experience for her.
There is no coincidence that this race was meant to kick off April—where I have set some aggressive goals for myself in my business and in my life. I love experiences like these that shake things up and wake us up from our normal routine and remind us that life is about our next great adventure. It is about embracing the moment. And it is a reminder that we can achieve our goals in unexpected ways.
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