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A Matter of Perspective

Updated: Apr 30

The difference between a mountain and a molehill is your perspective. ~Al Neuharth

There aren't many places in Florida that have hills, but Clermont does. When a hill workout popped up on the training plan, it used to drive a sense of dread into my mind. I knew the workout would hurt, it would be slow and I wasn't good at it.

One night I was on a run and decided to take a different way back to my house. The last 1.5 miles were all uphill. "Well, this was stupid." I thought to myself. As I continued to climb the long hill to my house, I thought "No, it's not stupid. Think about it making you stronger mentally and physically. " The hills have made me stronger, and they may not be as big as the northern United States, Canada, or Europe, but they are a challenge for me. Before I moved to the Clermont area, all of my runs used to be as flat as a pancake.

I dream of getting my coach's approval to race Ironman Lake Placid(if it stays after 2024) one day, I know learning to run and bike hills will be a necessity, so I have embraced it. I now take the route I thought was stupid home at the end of my long runs. I don't complete it very fast and walk most of the uphill, but I am slowly starting to run some of it. I smile at hills knowing how many people purposely avoid them, and continue to learn to navigate them. I know my run times will continue to improve and when I compete in a race that has a hilly run course, I will be ready.

In February, I volunteered at an aid stop at the Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon. Disney has a strict pace requirement of a 16-minute mile. Some people manage to make it into earlier corrals to have a buffer, but many people end up in the last corral. At the end of the day, I had to watch people be told their race was over due to not maintaining the required pace and they had to board the bus and would be taken to the finish. I wanted to go and hug each person and tell them that even though today was not their day to keep training and one day it would be. Now there are many reasons someone may not make it. It could be injury, lack of training due to a life event or simply underestimating how fast a 16-minute mile is. Before you train, you think "Oh I could walk that." My husband and I both did before we started training for our first marathon at Disney. We quickly realized it would take work to be able to complete any distance at that pace. The RunDisney races have inspired so many people to get active because they want the experience of racing through the parks. I hope the people who have been swept have the perspective to look at what went wrong and how they can complete the next race, and not the perspective of throwing out their running shoes and never trying again. If you are reading this and have gotten swept at any race remember there are so many people that are scared to race because they are worried about being in your shoes and think they just can't do it. You have a story to tell, just because it zig zags and isn't the classic I trained really hard and completed the event doesn't mean it's not worth telling. Please keep trying and don't give up. You are inspiring someone and don't even know it.

"Race as if I'm winning the race"

Sam Long posted this quote on Instagram on March 10th, after an impressive and inspiring performance at Clash Miami. In case you didn't see this race, Sam Long was last out of the water. He could have easily thought his day was done. He could have let negative thoughts fill his head and think there is no way I can get on the podium. He kept his head up the whole race. He worked hard to keep from getting lapped on the bike and ended up coming in second. Mindset and perspective had a lot to do with the win. It is easy to let dark thoughts enter our mind.

We all do. Society makes it easy with quick fixes to everything. It is easy to think we don't have enough willpower when it comes to eating. It is easy to think, I'm not at race weight, I shouldn't have this treat that sounds delicious. I need to figure out how to eat less and train so I can lose weight faster.

Everyone thinks things to themselves that they would never say to another human being. How many times have you stood and looked in the mirror and criticized all of the things wrong with your body rather than thinking about the things your body has carried you through? Learning to navigate my thyroid issues and insulin resistance, the last year has taught me to give myself grace, time, and patience. I encourage all of you to do the same. We all want to have an athletic fit body, but remember to enjoy life along the way of getting there. Remember, progress over perfection.

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