In a few short days I will be traveling to the Big Apple (AKA New York City) to run in the NYC Half Marathon. When I took up running six years ago I had no clue where this journey would take me. It was and has always been a dream of mine to run the streets of New York City. And I am truly blessed to have this opportunity to lace up my running shoes, sport my running attire and fulfill my dream of running around Central Park, down 7th Avenue, pass Times Square, then along the West Side Highway until I reach the finish line at the South Street Seaport.
In my two years of destination runs, this will be the first run that I will be running without my fellow SparkRunners. When this journey of destination runs began in New Orleans in February 2010 with over twenty SparkPeople members, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the incredible opportunity this would give me. To have the honor to meet other SparkPeople runners from across the country--from Seattle, to Chicago, to Pittsburgh, to Portland, to San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, even Victoria, British Columbia, is truly a blessing. This will be the first time in a very long time I will be lining up on the start line without my fellow runners to meet me at the finish line.
In preparation for my training runs, I asked my fellow runners to share with me their favorite running tunes so that I could make a play list to train with. While I will not be racing with music in New York, I do find training with music helps me get past the tough times when I just don't have it in me to take on that hill or that next mile.
Well, as fate would have it, my Spark Running Buddies never cease to amaze me. One of my pals, Ruth told me I had to get a really great song by Sick Puppies titled Maybe. OK, before you start laughing, I have no clue who this group was much less their genre of music, but I'm thinking with a band named Sick Puppies, this probably wouldn't be one tune that I would by adding to my music library. Well, I went to iTunes, listened to the preview and knew from the first few lyrics, this was going to be my new running theme song.
As I have mentioned in the past, many of my motivational blog ideas come when I am running. I think that's because I have no distractions. I have always been a thinker. I think about anything and everything during my runs. However, when I was listening to the lyrics of this song I felt moved by the words. It touched every aspect of this journey I have been on from the time I took my first step into the running world. To go from wearing baggy sweat pants while hiding out at the gym on treadmill far removed from others to timing my outside runs when most people would not be home so they would not see me, seems like yesterday. But that all changed when I started working with a running coach. He believed in me, more than I believed in myself. He did not judge me, but coached me to becoming the best runner I could be.
So you may be wondering where I am going with this. Change is going to happen whether we like it or not. Seven years and 80 pounds ago I was merely living just to survive. I took my high blood pressure medicine every morning and did little else to change the path I was on--yet time still marched on.
As I was running my 6 mile run in the rain (a first for me as I don't like getting wet), I was in tuned to these very poignant lyrics:
I've never been one to walk alone
I've always been scared to try
So why does it feel so wrong
To reach for something more
To wanna live a better life
What am I waiting for?
'Cause nothing stays the same
Maybe it's time to change
I must say these words left me in tears (thankfully it was raining so my neighbors did not see me crying). Seven years ago I was afraid to change. I didn't like change. There is a comfort knowing what life is like as we know it, but as I said earlier, like it or not, life is gonna change and more times than not, it is out of our control. This can bring up feelings of uncertainty.
But what I have found in this journey is I am much stronger than I give myself credit for. And when I don't have the strength to take life on by myself, I have no problem asking for help from my friends along the way. "I wanna live a better life" and if that means I have to change to get it, then bring on the change. I can't stop the train, but I can enjoy the scenery along the way.
So when I am walking to Central Park in the wee hours of March 18th ready to tackle my 16th half-marathon, I will have each of you running with me in true SparkSpirit. As I run pass Times Square I will take in the enormity of the event I have been blessed to run. As I pass the 9-11 Memorial I will say a prayer for those who perished on that tragic day 10 1/2 years ago. And I will cross the finish line in true SparkVictory no matter what my time.
I no longer have to be scared, nor do I have to walk this journey alone. I have changed and while it can be scary, just wait-- the whole world opens up when you are willing to take that first step. When you are willing to change your life amazing things await each and every one of you. When you are willing to take the steps into the unknown just know you are never alone. Enjoy the journey to change and know that we are all here to help you along the way.
What changes have you made in your life? Does change scare you or do you face it head on?