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You Can Let Them Peek, But Never Show Them Everything Behind the Curtain

It’s great to tell people your goals, but you should never tell them everything.

What I mean by that is, if you know it’s something they’ll attack, don’t give them the opportunity.

Just keep it to yourself.

I recently trained for a marathon in Hawaii and have to confess – I really wasn’t training at 100%. We were knee deep in a remodel and I didn’t have a kitchen for almost 4 months.

Don’t worry, I didn’t starve. But I wasn’t eating on a regular schedule and my days were all messed up.

I didn’t do those long runs you’re supposed to before you’re actually stretching in front of the starting line on the day of the big race.

It wasn’t that I took the 26.2 miles for granted. But I knew my desire, determination and fierce commitment would be enough to drive me all the way to the finish line.

I don’t know what big goals are resting under your horizon, but I do know those three ingredients can take you further than you might otherwise imagine.

During this training period, every runner I spoke with, including my brother, always asked what was the most I had ever run so far.

I danced around the answer.

I knew they would tell me I couldn’t finish, even though everything inside me knew it wasn’t true.

The pain of not finishing the race would be unbearable for me, and that would be enough to keep me piling on the miles all the way to the end.

I couldn’t even entertain the thought, I had to keep the self talk positive and picture my foot past the finish line!!

Train your mind, get your heart to agree, and there’s nothing you can’t do.

A Setback

I landed in Hawaii almost a month before the race. I said it was because I wanted to get acclimated, but who are we kidding?

It was Hawaii, my favorite place on Earth.

The couple of organized races I did run in were great, but then I hurt myself. Badly. I called a coach I met at one of the races.

“Can you help me?” I asked.

“What’s the furthest you’ve run?”

Of course he’d ask the one question I didn’t want to answer, especially considering this guy was a master marathoner.

At that point I should’ve been running at least 18 to 20, not the dozen or so I actually had.

“Quite a bit,” I said. “Keeping up and getting close.”

I’m a smart enough girl to know that had I told him the truth, he’d bounce back with some expert advice that I’d probably have to listen to.

But, as always, my will was strong and determination stronger.

I knew I could do it.

Race Day

Sure enough, race day came and there was nothing to do other than put on my shoes and run alongside 20,000 other people.

I was ready, and with my husband and daughter waiting at the finish line, I was also fully supported.

There were moments during the long run when I knew I had to cling tight to the words of encouragement I’d gathered along the way.

I had to shake the creeping doubt and fear, and treat it like just another training.

I remembered other runners talking about The Wall.

“Wait till you hit the wall around the 17th mile,” they said, so I mentally prepared to pass the milestone and absorb its energy.

I had to create my own reality because the real one wasn’t working. I encourage you to do the same.

Take what others see as limitations, then rephrase, reshape and reframe it to bust out and breakthrough beyond what you previously thought possible.

When I arrived at mile 17, I couldn’t believe I was there. It felt as though I could’ve kept running and running!
The final mile was the hardest.

I wondered where I would possibly pull the rest of my energy from. I was running on vapor, ready to collapse. But even running on empty, I had to finish.

As I approached the finish line, I could hear the crowd screaming and clapping and encouraging me to keep going.

With barely the molecules in my body that I needed to breathe, I pushed myself harder, remembering that first day when I was just steps away from the top of the hill, just inches from my one chance to make it right.

Giving up was not an option.

The end was near and I could do it.

Just a few more steps…

Just keep running.

And finally, there I was at the finish line.

My hard work and focus had delivered a new truth unto me. I had achieved my goal and ran 26.2 miles to cross the finish line.

Whatever your goal might be, you can make it happen. Just keep building your perfect play on your private stage.

You don’t have to show anyone else what’s behind the curtain before opening night.

How to Achieve Endurance Through Adversity

Endurance

Some days it’s just about endurance.

I held on tight to that word, endurance, to keep me going to the end.

As I started down my path, I repeated it over and over to myself until it finally became the antidote to my ever increasing boredom with the daily mundane of inescapable routine.

The running was becoming a burden; I found myself fighting with the pace, preoccupied with shaving a few minutes off of my time.

My goals were there, but the joy had evaporated.

To keep going, I had to find a new means to keep myself motivated.

Whenever I caught myself wanting to surrender, I would simply smile and remind myself that it’s not about time and pace; a race is really about endurance.

It was about doing what was best for my body, mind and spirit. And that was no doubt worth enduring.

Whenever you find yourself getting a bit bored or a little discouraged, do this:

Take a minute, smile, breathe and remind yourself of the goal you are working so hard to achieve.

Remind yourself of the reason you are pouring in all the effort, and take pride at the endurance you have developed.

Adversity

It has been said that adversity makes you stronger. I believe it.

One day I found myself training on an unusually windy day.

I hate running in the wind; like everyone else, I prefer blue sky and perfect conditions.

But let’s face facts: the sky isn’t always blue, life isn’t always perfect and conditions are rarely ideal.

You must learn to condition yourself to work with the situation as it exists, not as you would like it to be.

Though this particular day was especially windy, I was mentally prepared and knew I would have to work a little harder than usual.

This strategy worked for a while, but as I was getting to the end of my run, I was feeling the fatigue and my patience was dipping toward empty since the wind had been pushing hard against me for far too long!

There I was, running uphill and honestly, the wind was so strong, I felt like a leaf being blown in all directions.

It was hard, and I kept thinking of the clock and how off I would be when I finally got home.

Admittedly, this is not an empowering thought, but it is what I was thinking.

This adverse wind frustrated me so much that when I finally planted my feet at the top of the hill, I swore out loud.

Simply beside myself, I kept running, telling myself again and again to just keep moving one foot in front of the other a stride at a time.

Every step you take moves you that much closer to home. And with every step I ran that day, I felt more empowered.

That’s what you must do when you’re up against hardship, empower yourself with the needed reminder that you already have the strength inside you to push through.

When I finally made it home, I dreaded looking at the clock. Much to my surprise, I had chopped 10 minutes from my time.

I couldn’t believe it!

With the wind pushing against me, I guess I ran harder than I’d realized.

When faced with adversity, never surrender.

Simply work harder, empower yourself, keep moving and remind yourself that with every step you take, you are that much closer to achieving your goal.

Run Your Own Race

Every time my son Kenny would come visit, he would get on my case about not training properly for the marathon.

He knew little about my training habits, yet still felt the need to pick on me.

Kenny criticized my eating habits, saying I wasn’t eating enough and that athletes who expect to finish their marathons should not be practicing vegetarians.

One day, during one of his rants, Kenny challenged me by saying, “Mom, I don’t even run as much as you do and I could beat your butt in a race, I could out jog you any day.”

Given that my son is twice my size, two decades younger and male, I’m sure he could.

He went on to say that I would get beat in the marathon and probably wouldn’t even finish.

I told Kenny that I was not running to compete, I was running because it was a goal of mine and that in life, you don’t need to compete, you can just run your own race – the one you signed up for, at your pace, the way you want to.

Never allow someone else’s pace to dictate how fast or how slow you’re going to go.

It’s all about finishing and achieving your goal – NOT someone else’s!

Kenny and I get along really well and I have never used reverse psychology on him, but for some reason, he felt the need to use it on me…and it worked!

He kept at me, challenging me, telling me I wasn’t prepared because if I was, I’d put my running shoes on right then and prove him wrong.

So I did!

What I wanted to show him was that I had been running regularly and that I could do it.

I have to admit, even though I had just finished telling him it wasn’t about competing, I could feel the desire to win swelling inside me.

But I had to take my own advice, and besides, who was I kidding? My son is an athlete!

I ran my own race, but I’ll let you imagine who the winner was.

Why You Should Never Listen to the Discouragement of Others

Signing up for your first marathon is a big deal.

Running 26.2 miles is a lofty goal, and like any large goal, it is susceptible to fear and doubt.

Some days you’ll feel great and other days, usually when progress is less evident, you’ll be ready to throw in the towel.

Never make a decision to quit when you’re not having a good day.

There were some days when my timing wasn’t what I wanted it to be, and I felt that I had trained hard only to fall short.

Those are not the days to make a decision. You must always remember that there will be a brighter day.

You must stick to your goal if you expect to finish! Let me tell you why…

The Discouragement of Others

I had been running for a little over a month when my knee first started to flare from a previous surgery. On that day I was speaking with someone I’ve known for years, telling her my knee was starting to act up.

She was quick to remind me of the pain I had endured before surgery, how I had begged the doctor to slip me onto the waiting list, and how I cried that day in his office telling him I couldn’t take it anymore.

Though it was years ago, my friend really felt the need to hammer it home. She told me that my goal of running a marathon was silly and meaningless and I was just subjecting myself to pain for nothing.

O-kay…

The same day, my brother called. He had just finished a Half Ironman two days prior, his first one. I asked how it went and he told me it was really hard, but that he was glad he had done it.

He said that he was calling to see how I was coming along with my training, since I didn’t have a coach. I told him about my knee and he said that we should wait until next year to run the marathon.

That way we would have an entire year to train, rather than the scant four months we presently had.
My heart sank.

The second person telling me not to follow my dreams had left me feeling discouraged and alone. 

Encouragement

I immediately phoned my friend Hazelle. Let me tell you, we all need a Hazelle in our life. I told her what happened, how discouraged I was feeling, that some other areas in my life weren’t going according to plan, and that I really needed a win.

I needed something I could do that depended on me and no one else. The marathon was it.
God bless Hazelle!

She told me to go to Hot Yoga and that would help my knee, she told me to keep going because I was a fighter, to honor myself the way I inspire others to all the time.

Hazelle reminded me of the many times I had motivated her and now reassured me that she would be there for me no matter what.

I was back on track. During the call, we talked about doing a bit of business in Hawaii, so I called my friend Tami to set something up. We discussed the marathon and the slight challenge I had encountered.

She asked me when my race was and I told her September. She said, Kelly, we have one here in December. That will give you 3 more months to train.

Can you believe it? It’s true what they say: When God closes a door, He opens a window somewhere else. You just have to stay open to find it.

Anyone who knows me, knows that Honolulu is my all time favorite place. Not only would I be running my first marathon, I’d be running it in my favorite spot on the globe!



What I learned



I learned a few things from that experience: Never buy other people’s discouragement, and always listen to your encouragers.

The person who was reminding me about my pain was a worrier to begin with. Understanding the magnitude of a big goal was clouded by the constant worry inside them.

I had someone else tell me people die running marathons, yes, that’s true and people also die crossing the street if a car doesn’t see them in time.

My brother, who I love and is always so positive and encouraging, had just finished a half iron man so he was in no state of mind to even fathom running a marathon.

That’s why it made sense to him to wait until next year. He would have kept his commitment to me had I already registered.

Always consider the source and the external motivation for their thought when someone takes you away from what you want to do, even if their intentions are good.

Surround yourself with others who know the value of achieving your goals.

The reason Hazelle was so encouraging is because she shares the passion of setting large goals and the exhilaration of finally achieving them.

Tami knew how important it was to me, and wanted to offer me a solution.

I learned that when you’re feeling like its all over, keep going, there will always be something better with your name written all over it.

The Number One Lesson Learned From Running a Marathon

I’ve always wanted to run a marathon and though I knew it would one day happen, I had never made any concrete plans. At least until Spring of ’09.

It was then when I was talking with my brother on the phone and he told me he was planning to sign up for the Montreal marathon.

I was shocked, not just because he was planning to enter, but because I didn’t even know Montreal had a marathon.

Funny how I’d held this goal in mind for so many years, yet never once thought to find out how many different marathons there were.

I was more or less letting go of this particular goal because I thought participation was by lottery and you had to qualify first.

I had no idea how hard that would be.

I admit, that is something I do tend to do at times – complicate things, then talk myself out of doing something I really want, before even finding out the facts.

Do you do that too?

I’m normally quite spontaneous, so without even giving it any thought, I said, “I’m in.” My brother was like, really?

“Yeah, let’s do it!”

We were still on the phone when that little critic, omnipresent inside my head started to nag, asking me how I would inform my family, telling me they would laugh and whispering, well here you go again!

Instead of giving in, I silenced the critic by hanging up the phone and announcing my great news to everyone:
I was running a marathon!

“OK and that’s good for us, how?” seemed to be their general reaction.

Yet it was far better than what would have happened if I’d said, “Hey! What do you think of me running a marathon?” thereby inviting their opinions.

My dream was quickly becoming a tangible goal.

I made a decision and was committed. I simply had to take action to cement the deal before I found a million and one reasons why the timing wasn’t right.

Expert Advice

I went to buy running shoes at a specialty store so I could get expert advice.

Lesson number one: Don’t hand your power to someone just because they appear to be an expert.

The owner was really nice. I told him this was my first marathon, but I was up for it because I’m a workout nut.

He had me try on shoes, but the pair he suggested were too big.

He insisted I should wear a size too big because at the end of a 26.2 mile run your feet swell and you’ll get really bad blisters.

Okay, sounded good, but my intuition was telling me something different.

As nice as he seemed, all his advice seemed to focus on the negative. Everything he said centered on how not to get sick and vomit:

“Don’t start off too fast, you’ll get sick. Be careful not to drink too much because you’ll throw up. I threw up from drinking too much water too fast. Find out what kind of power drinks the marathon will be serving because if you train with a different one you’ll get sick on race day.”

He really knew his stuff, or so I thought.  

I went home with the shoes I didn’t want, but then decided to listen to my own gut and get the ones I did.

I called the owner and told him I would come back tomorrow for the right size, then went running with my old shoes, because I wanted to log my first run.

I set off for an 8 mile run, the trail on steep hills.

As I was getting to one of the final overpasses all I could hear in my head were the words of the owner saying not to run too fast, and that I was going to get sick if I did.

I looked at how much higher I had to go and felt fatigue starting to settle. I knew I could do it but his words kept ringing in my ears so I surrendered, finally stopping for fear of getting sick.

For about 30 seconds I stopped until I thought, “No, I need to keep going!”

I started running again, quickly found my stride and raced all the way home.

I wanted to see how far I had run so I got in the car to measure the distance. When I returned to that final overpass, I was mortified to see how close I had been to the summit when I almost gave up.

I had to ask myself, where else do I surrender? Where else in my life do I stop short of my goals because I listen to the voices of other people?

The shop owner’s advice had been his reality, but that didn’t mean I had to adopt it as well. Where else was I stopping myself because of other people’s limitations?

It turned out that the shop owner, who I’d assumed was an avid marathoner, had only run once and didn’t finish.

I thought he was an expert because he owned the store and spoke so passionately about running, yet I never dug deep enough to find out the true story and therefore made up my own.

Don’t get me wrong, he was a nice man who loved everything related to running, but his expertise ended there.

I learned to trust my gut.

I’d known all along which shoes I wanted and it was confirmed when the young man that replaced them for me said it was a good thing I came back because buying them too big was a bad idea.

I’m glad I went back and found that the expert’s advice wasn’t really expert at all.

I learned a valuable lesson, when going for your dream, follow your intuition, it will prove to be your most loyal and trusted expert.

Your Dream Starts Here….

“Great Luminaries tell us without the support and help of motivational individuals in their lives they would have abandoned their dreams. Kelly Bouchard is by far one of the most encouraging people I know.  She possesses all the skills and talent necessary to lead and empower you to achieve the life you have dared to dream.”
– Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, author The Success Principles(TM)