|Kara Goucher running Boston Marathon 2009|
I love when I get inspired by someone's life story and achievements.
The person who has been inspiring me as of late is Kara Goucher.
Kara is a professional runner, and a new mom. Among her most recent accomplishments are coming in third (losing by only 9 seconds!) in the 2009 Boston Marathon and placing 3rd (first American women) in this years New York City half marathon.
Her work ethic and natural ability are truly inspiring, running up to 120 miles a week! But what I can relate to the most and what makes her other qualities truly inspirational, is her openness about her longtime struggle with fear.
It's so easy to relate to Kara because we all have fears that we deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes we have a fear of failure, sometimes we fear success. We often don't challenge ourselves because we are so comfortable with the way our lives are now. Even when we are sure that a change would be positive, such as losing weight, the fear of the unknown keeps us from living our best lives.
Kara recently wrote in a blog:
"As a runner, I deal with fear almost daily. To prevent fear from defeating me, I have to fight back against it in my mind. Reminding myself that I am doing what I was born to do—that, win or lose, embracing the challenge is still worthwhile—is one way I do that."
In the past, Kara has let fear overcome her during some of her most important races, but after a lot of hard work, she finally feels as though she has learned how to control those feelings of self doubt and inadequacy. One strategy she uses is to think of a word that represents how she wants to feel. When she is going through a difficult part of her race, she thinks of that word and it gives her strength.
She also wears a necklace that says "I am not afraid...I am meant to do this"
I really love this. I think everyone is meant to do something that is truly unique to them. Sometimes we don't go for it because we are scared, We need to remember that it is OK to have fear; and when we acknowledge fear and then move through it, we are truly brave.
For me, as long as I have been running (ahem...over 20 years) I have never entered an official race. I have always said that I didn't run to compete against other people, I ran for myself. And that is still true, but I have been inspired by people like Kara and I now see that it is a great way to challenge myself. A great way to face any fears I might have. To see if I can accomplish distances and times that other people my age are capable of doing.
So my husband and I have signed up for a couple of races this Spring and have our sights on a half marathon in the fall.
And a future challenge, something I never thought I could or would do...running a marathon. Can we do it? We will see, but I won't let fear hold me back from trying.
As for Kara, she now has her sights on winning the Boston Marathon this year. Her power word for that day is going to be "Free". She said "I want to run this race free of both expectations and limitations," But make no mistake, she is going to Boston to win. And I will be rooting for her all the way!
If you would like to read more about Kara and feel inspired as I have, here is a great article about her struggles and triumphs:
Kara Goucher's Mind Games
She also has a fantastic new book out for women runners :
Kara Goucher's Running for Women
It has great tips for runner's of all levels and great stories from her life.
Do you have any fears that have been holding you back from achieving the things you have only dreamed of? Has fear held you back from starting to lose weight? Maybe she will inspire you to take that first step to facing your fears...and changing your life!