Think about a time in your life when you let fear get the best of you. A time when you really wanted to do something, but fear won. When was it? What happened? What was the outcome? How did you feel?
Now imagine you had overcome that fear. Imagine that you had found the courage to kick fear in the face and keep moving forward. Imagine how that would feel. Imagine where you might be today as a result of not letting fear win. Just imagine the possibilities. They are endless!
Kate is a 33 year old full-time Field Service Coordinator, owner of and designer for Ivory & Twine (@ivoryandtwine on Instagram), and Mom to her dog, Coop. To say her schedule is full would be an understatement, but she makes no excuses when it comes to getting her workouts in. Here is one of her Facebook posts from just this week: “So, this is what it’s like to work a full time job, try to kick off a hobby/business, have a dog (aka my kid!), continue to run/stay in shape = leaving the gym at 10pm! BUT, I got it all done!”
I grew up in the same small town as Kate and her family so of course we knew each other through our school aged years. We lost touch for a while, but have since reconnected and I have come to learn that Kate is not to be messed with. When she has a goal in mind, she WILL overcome obstacles and her own fears and she WILL achieve it!
Like so many people out there, Kate struggled with being overweight for a while. “I remember the day that I was with my friends at a bridal shower. It was such a happy, joyous day. We all gathered outside to take a photo, and when I saw it, saw me, I cried. I hated the way I looked and the way I felt on the inside after I saw that photo…I never wanted to feel that way again. The following Wednesday I joined Weight Watchers and never looked back…I wanted my life back. I wanted to comfortable in my own skin.” This was Kate’s defining moment. It motivates her even still today to keep going and to keep working to progress. After all, progress IS perfection!
After joining Weight Watchers and learning how to make healthier diet choices, Kate knew she had to add some activity to her new lifestyle. “I began walking each day, and then one day I remember feeling like I wanted to just go faster, but I feared what people would think if they saw me trying to run and I couldn’t.” Thankfully, Kate didn’t let that negativity in. She kicked fear in the face and took a chance on herself. “I realized what if I didn’t try? Then what? What was the worst thing that could happen? So what if I didn’t run far or if I had to stop and someone saw me. So what! After I got over these fears, nothing stopped me. I wanted to run faster, further and longer.” And so she did. “I will never forget the first time I ran down my street. It felt like I had just run my own personal marathon because for me, it was a huge victory…I took no magic pill, no surgery, no easy way out. I committed to work hard, dedicate myself, and live a healthy lifestyle…I knew after that run that I could do more. It would be hard work, but I could do it.”
Kate started the C25K program and hasn’t stopped running since. Running is a priority in her life. When I asked her how she makes time to workout with her busy schedule, she told me that it is a necessity in her life. “As much as I need to sleep, eat, and breathe, I need to run. I don’t feel right unless I’ve done that for myself. I owe it to myself, my mind, and my body to run. I can’t imagine my life without it now.” It has been a year and a half since Kate started and she feels that running has had a huge, positive impact on her life. “I’d say that it (running) has changed me in every single way. It still amazes me that I am even writing about being a “runner”, and that two years ago I would never have envisioned this life today. I am fitter, stronger, and more healthy today than I’ve ever been. I’ve learned that physically I can push my body in ways that I never thought I could. Personally, it has made me appreciate how lucky I am to be able to run.”
Kate’s new appreciation for being able to run is in part due to her running buddy whom she met thanks to the IR4 organization. Her buddy, Ian, gives her continued motivation to never give up on anything, especially running. The bond that Kate and Ian have formed is unbreakable and it’s all because of running. Imagine if Kate had never started? If she had never overcome her fear of looking funny running? She never would have joined IR4 or been paired with her buddy. Imagine that. “I’ve met the most amazing little boy and the bond that we share is something that I never thought would come out of running. Each day that I go out to run, I know that I am not only doing this for myself, but also for him and that he would give anything to do the same. When I face those hills or a route that is not easy, I repeat that “we don’t have to be perfect, we just have to try.” That’s a promise that my buddy and I have made to each other.” Well Kate, I know I speak for so many people when I say THAT PROMISE IS AWESOME!
To date, Kate has run several 5K’s. Her first was last April and this coming Sunday, she will run the same course again. Kate is hoping to beat her original time at the Groton Road Race 5K and I’m confident that she will do it! Additionally, she has set herself a goal of completing a 10K and then moving on to complete the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon.
One of Kate’s biggest supporters is her Dad. “I run with my dad a lot and he is without a doubt one of my biggest cheerleaders. The best advice he ever gave me was reminding me that there are no bad runs. Sometimes there are difficult ones, but every run is a good run…I can get discouraged when I am trying to beat my time or if I feel like I am not doing my best, but he always tells me to just keep going.”
The advice Kate’s Dad gave her is some of the best advice I’ve heard. We all have tough days or a hard run here and there, but we can’t let those days or those runs stop us from moving forward, making progress, and achieving our goals. Like Kate, we all have our own fears in life. The key is to acknowledge them, find a way to overcome them, and keep going. If you’re reading this article and you are afraid to go for a run because others might see you and think you look funny, think about Kate. She said screw this, put on some gear, laced up her sneakers, and headed out to pound the pavement anyway! Look at how far she has come since! That could be you. What are you waiting for? THIS is your sign! Nobody will tell you that every day or every workout is going to be easy. It isn’t. Get ready to sweat. Get ready to hurt. Dedicate yourself. Set a goal. Make a plan. Be persistent. Kick fear in the face. Get moving. Most importantly, NEVER give up on yourself.