I recently ran my first 5k. This has been a goal of mine for some time now, and I have finally accomplished it. For me, running that race was SO much more than that. There were valuable life lessons that were reaffirmed for me not only that day, but also during my journey spent getting to that point. Lessons I truly want to help my daughters learn for themselves and internalize.

And they are:

1. You are stronger than you know so don’t be afraid to push yourself. We are often more capable than we give ourselves credit for. Always remember this, no matter how great the challenges may seem.

2. It’s important to find your cheerleaders and support system. The last half mile of my 5k was the most challenging, but coming up to the finish line with a crowd full of people cheering everyone on provided me with the boost I needed to power through. Plus, all of the encouragement and support I received from friends and family made me feel that much more determined. Find your cheerleaders (I’ll always be one of them!). Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you. Always remember how that feels. Then, make sure you do that for others.

A couple of my cheerleaders posing for a quick post-race pic with me! (Photo Credit: C. Corrigan)

A couple of my cheerleaders posing for a quick post-race pic with me! (Photo Credit: C. Corrigan)

3. You can do anything you set your mind to…eventually. Be patient with yourself. It might not happen overnight, but with enough dedication, determination, and chutzpah, you WILL get there.

4. Being active can, and will, change your life both mentally and physically. I’ve noticed many positive changes in myself since I started living a healthier, more active lifestyle. I have much more energy and feel more, well, ALIVE! I want that for you, always.

5. It’s important to set goals for yourself, but what’s even more important is that you work towards achieving them. Nothing compares to the feeling you get when you accomplish a goal you set for yourself.

6. Be proud of your accomplishments. I was so happy to cross that finish line for a few reasons. One, I was dying of thirst and couldn’t wait to chug a gallon of water (note to self: drink more water before running my next race). Two, I was tired. And three, the best reason of all, was that I DID IT. I finished what I started and I was quite proud of myself for running the entire 3.1 miles without stopping even once. This might not seem like a very far distance to all of you seasoned runners out there, but this is coming from someone who truly believed she would never be able to run more than a mile. In fact, while growing up, I used to dread the yearly mile run test in gym. I was never able to run the whole mile and get a passing time. It became just another opportunity to feel humiliated. I can honestly say that I don’t think I ever passed that test. I only wish I could go back and tell the (much) younger me not to give up hope. That one day I’d be running over 3 miles without stopping. Here I am, almost 32 years old and running multiple miles. So, yeah I’m proud of myself. And you should be proud of yourself for accomplishing your goals too.

Photo Credit: J. Albino

Photo Credit: J. Albino