This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a 2-Day fitness business retreat in Asheville, North Carolina, which I’m going to call the Portland of the east (never having been to Portland, mind you). Asheville is a great little town, though my instincts tell me I’d like the surrounding rural areas even better. During the retreat, I was surrounded by nearly 100 really fit and very motivated women, most of whom are in the midst of starting health and fitness-related business. I met personal trainers, body builders, nutritionists, stay at home moms, doctors and former food addicts.
It was so inspiring to be amongst “my people”! I feel truly blessed to have been able to attend. Thank you to Michael for holding down the fort at home (never easy).
I had some exciting insights during my time in Asheville:
- There are lots of people out there who want to help others improve their health, wellness and fitness! Yeah.
- Most of these helpers (aka Coaches) have struggled with the thing they’re trying to improve for their clients at some point in the past. And they’re passionate about what they’re doing for that reason.
- The internet is enabling us to interact in a million different ways and it is changing all of the time – it’s pretty cool to watch the way we communicate shape our behaviors (I, hater of selfies, almost took a video of myself on the way home from my run tonight for InstaStories – almost, but then I chickened out. haha. But I’m committing to doing one very soon).
- The stories we tell ourselves are incredibly powerful and often automatic, based on what we’ve been told until now, BUT they should be challenged. As the creators of our own stories, we have the freedom, perhaps the obligation, to decide to tell ourselves a new story. Then, of course, we have to work our butts off to make the new story a reality. Thanks to Jade Teta, for his wisdom on this.
This last one, is especially powerful, and it’s also why running has been so great for me. It has helped prove to me that I have the ability to rewrite my story.
We develop a sense of what we are capable of (or what we should do) from our parents and our peers. This begins at birth and never really ends. Parents have certain expectations of their children and they assume certain limitations. It’s totally normal & necessary. But, at some point, the pen shifts from parent to child and we should question it all and redirect.
A few years ago, I ran by a father with his young son. They were spectating The 5th Ave mile, a one mile race down 5th Avenue in NYC that happens in early September each year. The father was tall and lanky. As the fastest runners came by, the father told his son that he and his son did not / would not have the proper build to be that fast, especially over even longer distances. I felt like a witnessed something unique and sort of abusive. I resisted the tiny urge to intervene and tell the dad to shush. The father obviously had a limiting belief, and in that moment, he may have transferred it to his son. If his son does start to believe he doesn’t have a body for running, he will likely never know if he could be a fast runner because he won’t even try it now.
If you asked me in 2007, my first flirtation with running, if I would ever run a marathon, I would have said, “not a chance” or “I could never…” and if you would have mentioned Ironman, I probably would have just laughed or said, “those people are crazy”.
In 2007 I couldn’t run a mile. I was working a desk job, sitting for most of the day. That’s when my cube-mate, Meredith and I, decided to start walking 2 miles to and from work a few days a week. We walked and talked. And I loved it. Moving felt good.
And then another colleague suggested we do a relay marathon that fall with two other co-workers. I dug in my heels – “I am not a runner! I’m really slow”, but finally I caved to peer pressure. I hadn’t run a mile since high school, which ended 7 years prior. I really hated running. But Meredith and I made a plan. We would slowly build up our mileage by running together after work. There was a 5k on 9/11 downtown that we could race before the big event as a “test” to see what a race was really like.
The woman who sat behind me was a runner. “How do you breathe?” and “what do you think about when you’re running?” were amongst the many questions I bombarded her with one afternoon. She looked at me for a minute and then told me that she never really paid much attention to any of it. Hmm, I guess I’d figure it out as I went, though I couldn’t imagine it would ever become as automatic as she made it seem.
Those days, the start of my running “career”, seem like ages ago. I love looking back at how far I’ve come. What I know now is that most of us, probably all of us, could run a marathon or complete and ironman, if we just decide to and take action towards those goals. To me, that’s the beauty of those events.
But, especially if we don’t know people who are competing in marathons and ironman triathlons, we don’t realize that we could it, too. It seems out of reach entirely. The same rule applies to many things – getting into an Ivy League college, becoming a CEO, living abroad, or starting a social revolution. We definitely have far more power than we know now. We just have to decide what we want and commit to taking action to get there
As you might imagine, I’m feeling full of energy after my time in Asheville!
And when I arrived home on Sunday, I was fortunate enough to attend a the NYC Kick-off for Team Humane League NYC, where I got to hang out with more of “my people”. It’s always wonderful to meet vegan athletes! We will be training every other Tuesday evening in Central Park. Please join us! (you don’t need to be vegetarian or vegan, just interested in helping farm animals and doing some running)
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