Celebrating the Starting Line
What “victory” means now.
By Leah Goldstein with Lori Friend Moger, M.Sc.
One of our clients, Donna, recently ran her first ½ marathon. She looked nervous and maybe slightly overwhelmed as she headed to the starting line. Music blared and people laughed and hugged while they stretched. She gave me that “I’m not sure I belong here” look and I had to keep reminding her of how far she’d come! 3 years ago, Donna waltzed into the gym and hired Lori on the spot. Her initial assessment revealed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, shoulder, elbow, wrist and knee pain, persistent backaches, and about 60 pounds of extra weight. At 48 years of age, she felt physically and mentally worn out.
Fast-forward to today, and you’ll meet a much lighter person – and I’m not just talking about physically. Her face is light – as if the pounds of worry and stress literally evaporated from under her skin. Her eyes, which almost always fell to the ground, now sparkle and search other people’s faces; her brow is soft and relaxed; and her shoulders sit back in a proud “yeah, I earned every inch of this body” kind of way. And even more magical, now that she’s got that first ½ marathon under her belt, she finally understands why all those people at the starting line were so damn happy!
The ever-popular endurance events seem to litter the countryside – marathons, 10Ks, century rides (100 mile bike rides), triathlons, trail runs and even silly obstacle course races pop up each weekend all over North America. And it’s amazing to see the diversity in age, shape, background and culture. But one thing seems to be constant…they all seem happy. Their faces are light, and their shoulders are back. So what is this energy? Why are all these people celebrating before they’ve even started?
As Donna slowly discovered, putting in the training time, eating healthier and even investing in good running shoes, were all part of an exhilarating (and yes, sometimes punishing) journey toward a starting line. The 30 guys and girls lining up at the front can stress and worry and obsess about their splits. But the rest of the pack? They’ve already claimed their victory. They can wish each other luck, high 5 and share snacks with their comrades – because the actual race is just icing on the cake.
This weekend, Donna races in her first duathlon (run-bike-run), and I’m sure the nerves won’t hit her quite so hard this time. But I really hope she allows herself to get swept up in the moment and truly savor the sweet victory of the starting line.
Leah Goldstein is an internationally sought-after speaker. She is a World Champion
Kickboxer, Israeli Undercover Police Officer, National Cycling Champion, record holder
of multiple ultra-distance cycling races and all-around crazy person. Leah’s memoir,
“No Limits” is available now at www.leahgoldstein.com/book/ and all online retailers.
Lori Friend Moger, M.Sc. is a writer, speaker and Kinesiologist. She is co-founder (with
Leah) of No Finish Line Living, a wellness company providing keynotes, seminars and
retreats with the sole purpose of pushing people into their best lives possible. She is
considerably less crazy. For more information, visit us on our Facebook Page.