I have been silent the past several months, and I feel l owe you an explanation, but I had been struggling with what to say, so here is a little background:
I thought I would never run again, and in a way, I didn’t want to.
Physically, mentally, emotionally – I’ve thought it in every way. Strange coming from me, who’s entire life once revolved around running.
Running was not just my childhood sport and past time, it was my identity. I wasn’t tall enough (or more likely, coordinated enough), for the popular sports like basketball and volleyball, and I didn’t have the resources for the costly sports like dance or tennis. As for anything in the arts? I only wish! I believe you need either ability or interest (if not both), and in those fields, I had neither. But running was free, and required no resources, so running became my ‘thing’… and I have to say it was a strategic choice, as the sport of distance running literally became my ticket to a bigger world (via a full Division I athletic scholarship to a prestigious American university).
Note: one of the special things about running, is that you don’t have to be ‘seen’ to advance, there is little subjectivity in the sport – a time on a track, is a time on a track, anywhere. And the winner is straightforward: you cross the finish line first: you win.
However, what I know, and what I always knew deep down, was that I don’t think I ever truly loved running, not when I really ‘could run’ that is. It was exactly what I described above: my claim to “fame” (aka identity), and my ticket. It was the one thing I was really REALLY good at and garnered attention with, heck, it even got me awards, records, money, pictures in magazines… so I stuck with it…
I once heard that winning can be a curse, because there is nowhere to go but down. I’m not sure I agree with that entirely, but I will say, running put a pressure on me like nothing else I have ever experienced. It was a daily battle – and the real battle was in my head. I actually recall race days with chills, as I used to get sick to my stomach with nerves –I was forever tired, my body ached, and the pressure to perform in a way that literally sucks the lungs right out of you was sometimes unbearable. Just a fraction of the training we endured was every other sports ‘punishment.’
But, what scared me more than the pain and the pressure was quitting. I didn’t want to fail at the one thing I knew. So I kept running, literally kept running until I could no longer run anymore.
My running career was cut short right at the pinnacle, in 2008 before the Beijing Olympics, with an injury that threatened to end my running days altogether and would absolutely end my competitive career as I knew it. I don’t talk much about this part of my background, and many people don’t even know that my foray into fitness came from my background as a runner – but that is the truth, and it was the BEST thing that ever happened to me.
I wanted to write this, NOT as a story of tragedy, or to garner sympathy but rather because from this specific life-changing experience, I learned the real purpose of my life. It shaped not only who I would become, and how I look at the world, but what I have chosen to do with my life (shout out to the tens of thousands of Fit, Strong and Sexy women around the world)! From it I gained a work ethic, laser focus and drive to succeed more intense than I even want to admit. Now, it is my greater life goals that have become my race finish lines, and I thrive in the daily ‘training’ to get there. Only this time the purpose is much bigger.
You see with running you don’t touch anyone – it’s only about you, your times, your distances, and whether you win or lose. But in the bigger scheme, who cares? What seemed to me like the biggest failure, and truly was a death of a part of myself, ended up becoming my greatest gift. It forced me to find a larger world, a different life, a way to affect others in positive way.
The fact that the online community, FSS, was born is a symbolic universal message of want I want to…need to share, in hopes it will resonate with you in some way. Even if finding your own version of fitness and health isn’t a driving force, I do believe it serves a greater reason beyond anything exercise or aesthetic-related.
What I gained from having running taken away was the realization of how much benefit it brings. There is a reason there is NO greater metaphor for life: overcoming challenges, obstacles, rising above and uniting with other people through a race, a race by foot, which requires only you, your body, your spirit, your energy.
Whether your challenges have been physical, mental, financial, physiological – we ALL have struggles, and the point is that we cannot compare them or give them a hierarchy. Rather we must focus of getting over the hurdles, getting back up, focusing on what we CAN do vs what we can’t.
Six months ago a mentor, and someone I deeply admire, shared an opportunity to reach an even bigger audience – an audience that includes both men and women, and would involve partnering with a global legacy fitness brand. Something inside me was re-lit, and I’ve spent the past many months making the career-transition of what I believe is the biggest and best step yet. One that will allow us to pool resources and touch the world in a way greater than any one individual or brand could do on their own.
I am so excited to make the official announcement in a few short weeks, if you’d like to get the news and be part of this next chapter, please sign up to receive my newsletter here. Don’t worry, no spam!
You see, fitness is a catalyst for positive change in one’s life and it has a positive rippling effect on the world around you. I have been blessed to be touched by it on so many levels. This world is about relationships and sharing, so I hope you will be part of it.
And if interested, please post a comment on my facebook page, and let’s coordinate future “workouts” and meet ups in cities across globe!
Here’s to raising the standard in your own life,