Races are great for many reasons.  One of the reasons is how very important races are in setting and achieving goals.  Goals are a significant factor in making us feel fit forever.  Races have an end date, which significantly helps in attaining goals. Without an end date, your goal is not as specific as it needs to be to be attained and help you along the way of getting there. It’s important to sign up for some races well in advance so we can work hard towards that specific race goal over a period of time in smaller chunks as we go along.  Everything we do, and everything we don’t do, must be in line with our race goal, or it will hurt of chances of success or at the very least make us less successful than we could have been if we followed a more structured, strict plan to our goal.  Everything we do: all of our training, eating, sleeping, reading, who we are spending our time with, what we are spending our time doing when we are not training, is all important and adds up to working towards and achieving our goals.  It is also important to do these things in small increments, not to take on large goals all at once, even though the end goal is large, our plan needs to be in small increments that add up to the large end goal.  We must approach it in small chunks and celebrate the small successes along the way to our end goal.  As we do this, it not only feels good but makes the end result seem more achievable as we get closer to it.  It’s important to set goals that are large and somewhat challenging,.  If you set your goal too small or unchallenging, you likely won’t work as hard at it because you know you can do it.  It is in the unknown that we put our best foot forward many times.

It’s important to fuel and recover properly and consistently too.

We must always put our health first.  The best doctors in the world are healthy whole food, exercise regularly, quality sleep regularly, sunshine and fresh air regularly, keeping your peace no matter the situation, working your mind on a regular basis whether it with learning something new or challenging, or in some other way other than mundane mental activities.  All this adds up to feeling fit forever and is pivotal in not only how healthy we are, but maybe even more importantly it plays a huge role in how well we heal and how quickly, because as humans it is inevitable that we get sick at some point in time, even though following a healthy lifestyle significantly reduces the incidence of illness, being able to fight that illness requires a strong body in itself.

I have competed in 23 races to date, in my life so far.  I love racing and don’t get to race as much as I would like to.  I first raced in Aug. 2010.  I completed 213 miles in those 23 races to date, including 6 triathlons, 3 half marathons, one of which was my 1st trail race that also happened to be my 3rd half marathon, 1 full marathon and a few age group places in some smaller distance races.  It was so thrilling when I placed 2nd age group, in my very first race ever, in Aug 2010 !  I knew from that very moment, early on in my running and racing, that placing in a race sure feels great, but doesnt always mean anything, and should be taken with a grain of salt, because it depends on who you raced against if you place.  It’s really that simple and time has confirmed this truth for me.  Still, it sure is nice for the recongnition and achievement of an age group place.  But I always like to remind myself of this truth, for the many more times that I do not place, because what matters most to me, is how I did against myself, and if I did my best and if I had a PR (personal best).  I had a great start in running and racing until about a year after I started.  In Aug 2011, I had a major medical issue, massive blood clotting, that required 5 surgeries in 6 days at Columbia Hospital in NYC.  These surgeries are so very specialized that they are only offered at a few hospitals in the country and not any local to me.  I am very thankful for the awesome team of doctors that worked hard to save my life and I now have a much richer life experience every day since I went through such a huge life threatening ordeal.  I am so much more mindful every second of every day and know that time should never be wasted because it can end suddenly and without warning.  It has taken years for me to fully recover from these surgeries and since then I have also had to deal with other medical issues and injuries, but I approach these with determination and belief that I can and will endure, heal and thrive.  I also know that it takes time, sometimes more time than we ever thought it would.  I have a very strong faith in God and put all my trust in God always, now, but didn’t always know how to do this even though I have always believed in God and had strong faith, it wasn’t until this happened to me that it gave me unyielding faith.  Complete total trust in God, no matter what happens. This is something that I learned that is invaluable.  Patience is so important in all worthwhile pursuits and what is more worthwhile than your health?  I never raced before Aug. 2010 and had a sedentary life and was over weight for much of my life.  I would go up in down in my weight over the years, although many times I was thin too, I still wasn’t active, only occasionally.  I changed my mindset in Jan 2010. In Jan. 2010, I weighed over 200 lbs., I stopped weighing myself in disgust, and my body hurt from this weight. It hurt to walk, to move, to do anything and I had no energy. I needed to push myself constantly to move and try to eat healthier because I wanted it that bad, to be able to feel good and look good.  It sure has been a huge improvement to where I am now, from where I started.   I knew I had to do something different, something better, something that would work and keep working for my whole life.  I did it all on my own and have kept the weight off years later.  I did it by getting to know as much as I can about food and nutrition and health and fitness.  I am still learning and growing in my health and fitness journey, but I love the journey and embrace it with much love.  It is my life passion. I am counting on a lifetime of races won in my time, which is always the Lord’s time in actuality. No matter what we think or what we want, its always done in God’s time, not our own.  If in the future, I happen to place in my age group at a race, then that would be a great bonus! 🙂 But what I do is just go out there, in this world every day, and always do my best and always work to improve myself in every way I can think of.  Mind, body and soul.  I know that it will take time, esp. since I lived almost half  a century not making good health choices, my body needs the respect of ample time to benefit from the work it takes to improve my health and fitness dramatically and permanently.  I recently learned, I have weak ankles. I have ankle injuries, likely due to my sedentary life for all those years before, and even though I was able to accomplish all those many miles and races (for me it was many, although I know for some its not much), my body wasn’t fully prepared to take on such activity.  I love to run and miss it very much!  I am very thankful that I am able to have the opportunity to address my weak ankles and run again someday, hopefully soon.  I am working hard to improve my strength and it is very humbling doing these exercises.  I am already very healthy, fit and strong in many parts of my body, but these exercises that focus on my weaknesses are very challenging to say the least.  Finally finding out what is wrong and how to treat it is priceless.  It is so very humbling and liberating in my both my fitness journey and my walk with God.  God is always showing us ways to improve ourselves and I love that.  It is in learning how to listen to God’s whisper that we can find out what we need to improve on and work on in our life.  How do you listen to God’s voice?  What does it sound like?  You must first quiet your mind. When your mind is not busy with other thoughts, God’s thought can jump into your head and that is how you listen to God.  Now that I am active and fit, I cannot imagine life any other way and I feel like I dont even know that person I used to be.  But I am still the same sweet, smart person who “gives her all” in all she does.  I just give my all to myself now too, instead of just to everyone else.  I learned it is not selfish to take good care of yourself, its actually selfish to not take time to care for yourself because if you are not healthy and fit, how can you care for those you love?  Love them enough, to love yourself first 🙂   Happy racing everyone.  We all race towards something in life.  Make it a good one! Make it your best race ever 🙂


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