Grab a box of Kleenexes before you read this one! Part 3 of a 3 part series: We Did It! 2015 Miles in 2015. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2 published earlier this week. In this article team member Kate Bowers shares her vulnerable, genuine feelings of what this challenge was like for her. She was not a runner, nor a walker before this challenge like her teammates. All of her miles were logged in with walks, which take longer than runs oftentimes do. In spite of obstacles, Kate stuck with this challenge and never gave up, racking up just short of 600 miles this year.
Well, I made it……
To write this I went back and read my post from February remembering how excited I was to start a new challenge. I was intimidated by this challenge and frankly nervous that my mind wouldn't hold up. I was afraid that that little piece inside would take over, that piece that makes you stop and think “I don’t need to work out today, I will work out tomorrow” but then tomorrow turns into two days from now, and three days, and four days... and then finally it adds up to me quitting somewhere in the middle of this goal.
"I hope and still believe that this is my story."
Let’s go back a little and start with the intimidation. At first I thought I must be crazy to take on a challenge with two very experienced runners. They both have their amazing stories of where they first started and I hope and still believe that this is my story.
This challenge which at first seemed like it wouldn’t be that hard has literally been the hardest thing I have ever done.
First thing I couldn’t let myself get intimidated by were my teammate’s miles. Starting out, they could both run long distances and I had to remind myself that I was just at the beginning of my journey. When I started I was walking a couple miles at a time. I remember when I wrote my first post in February I had hit 4 miles which seemed like such a large feat, but at the end of this challenge I could walk 6 miles even reached 8 a couple of times! Let’s not beat around the bush my legs hurt and still hurt when I am putting in those miles. There would be times that I felt like I had restless legs, I couldn’t sit in a chair for long periods of time and they would ache. The result though is worth it. Through this pain I have my calf muscles and overall leg muscles back, seems a little silly but they disappeared for a couple years. They have resurfaced and it is awesome- it’s a reward for my hard work!
In every challenge you take on there are experiences that seem to get in the way. Time was always on my mind, bathroom breaks and the dreaded GYM. Time first- it always seems to be a factor. I walked, didn’t run so the length of time it took me to get in three miles was about an hour, sometimes shorter. Between life and work (I work a lot and travel all over the US and world) there could have been so many times when I could have just given up. I had to really plan for each week when I would be able to walk. I unfortunately can’t plan for the month, my brain just doesn’t seem to work that way, so I tried to make a weekly plan. Sometimes it worked and sometimes didn’t.
Another challenge that I faced was always making sure my routes included a restroom break. I know, too much information, right? I didn’t even think this would be an issue when I started this challenge. I had to really make a route that let me get through the entire walk. I had some fun experiences with it though, I am pretty sure the people at the Chinese restaurant down the street think I am crazy.
The GYM…Ugh... this has been my nemesis for as long as I can remember. I hated the gym when I was in softball and then after I was out of college too. It was the stereotypical reasons of why I didn’t like it and I was uncomfortable working out in front of people. This helped me get past that, seems weird but I think it forced me to do so. I also switched gyms in the middle to make it more convenient during the challenge. I can now go any time of the day, it is great. I use the same treadmill in the corner and catch up on life.
"I got to the half way point and wanted out, I felt like it wasn’t worth it anymore."
You know that part I mentioned about quitting, it was a reality about half way through. I got to the half way point and wanted out, I felt like it wasn’t worth it anymore. I had a mental block for a good three months, I had to absolutely push myself every time to walk. I had to tell myself that it was worth it and I wanted to finish what I had started.
I can’t tell you how happy I am that I pushed through that difficult time.
My husband and I were discussing my completing this challenge and he was proud of me for not quitting, he admitted that he thought I would in the middle. But he has been a great cheerleader through it pushing me to get out and walk. I read a quote once that seems to resonate with me for this challenge: “Be stronger than your excuses." I think it pretty much sums up this experience.
Kate's stepdaughter and walking buddy!
The biggest advice I can give, and trust me I do not consider myself to be a pro at this, but it is to do it your way. It is great to have cheerleaders on the side like I did, but you have to make the challenge your own.
I am so happy that I took the leap and said yes to this challenge. It has been tough but I have gained so much more over the last year than if I wouldn’t had said Yes to Traci. I can’t thank her enough for being my friend, mentor and support system.
During my February post I wrote I was scared that when this challenge was complete I would quit. That isn’t my reality anymore. I have taken a few days off but it’s a New Year and I've already signed up for a New Challenge!
I can’t wait to hear what you are doing in the New Year. Comment below if you like!
Lots of love,