I was in the last half mile of a half marathon race (13.1 miles). I looked at my watch and realized I was not going to achieve my goal of finishing in under 2 hours, a time that used to be easy for me. One of my calf muscles was cramping and slowing me down. At that moment the words “I’ve got more in me. I know I do.” popped out of my mouth. Final time 2 hours 2min! This was in 2015. These words have stayed with me since then and ultimately brought me to this place, launching the More-In-Me Movement. My story is largely about my personal growth achieved through my engagement in athletic activities. That’s not the only way for a person to find their ‘more-in-me’. It has been my way, however.
I’d say my more-in-me journey began when I first decided to try running in my early 30’s. I never came from an athletic background and certainly never imagined running a marathon. Not in my wildest dreams. Nevertheless, I kept running longer and longer, joined a marathon training clinic and ultimately signed up for a marathon. My first attempt was a ‘DNS’ (did not start!) because of an injury two weeks before the race. My second attempt was a ‘DNF’ (did not finish) again because of injury. I guess you could say I’m quite stubborn because I persevered with training a third time and on my 34th birthday I ran the Toronto Marathon and finally achieved my goal of finishing a full marathon (26.2 miles). Without having said the words literally at that time, I knew I had more-in-me and wasn’t going to give up. I had come to believe I could run a full marathon. And I did.
Over the next 20 years I kept running and racing. Long distance. Short distance. I even ran Boston! That was certainly a feat of determination. Boston entry requires a time qualification. I got it in my head that I was going qualify and I kept missing the cut off time by only a couple minutes. Ironically, I ran Toronto again – my 15th marathon – and finally qualified for Boston at the age of 49. Talk about never giving up!
I came to love the experience of training and then testing myself in races to see if I could improve or meet targets like qualifying for Boston. What appeals to me about training for races is that it’s all about me and what I choose to do. No one on the planet cares whether I get outside for a run, how hard I train or how well I do. It’s about my relationship with myself. No shoulds or ought to’s or have to’s. It all comes down to whether I want to, or not. As Yoda said in Star Wars “Do or do not. There is no try.” And as I learned from my first marathon training coach, “you can’t cheat the marathon.” I have to do the training to develop the mental discipline to keep going when it gets hard, because it will get hard.
I’ve realized how much this lesson applies to life in general. We all have times in our life when it gets hard and we need to believe in ourselves, persevere and ‘stay the course’ as the saying goes. When I’ve had my toughest moments, running – and later on yoga – have been my coping strategies. I always feel better after engaging in physical activity and it reminds me that I have what it takes. Until I turned 50. Suddenly my life got ‘hard’ and I didn’t feel like I knew how to cope. The messages I received told me that I was over the hill as far as my career was concerned, that having a family was no longer an option and that opportunities for any new athletic accomplishments had passed me by. I had no energy and had become disillusioned. My husband, Ian, and I had just divorced. I was back in Canada on my own after living in the U.S. I was lost. The idea of more-in-me was not even a remote thought at that time. I was worried about how I would manage day to day, never mind take on any new challenge with work, my personal life or athletics.
Fast forward seven years to current day and I’m now 57. In July of this year I completed the Muskoka 70.3 Half Ironman race, a particularly hilly course and quite a challenge for someone who only learned how to cycle a few years earlier (2km swim, 96km bike, 21.1km run). In August, I completed 3 shorter triathlon races 3 weeks in a row, achieving podium in all three – a first place and two third place finishes for my age group, one podium with six stiches in my hand from an accidental cut. Wow. Look at me!! Even now I giggle when I think about these accomplishments. And a relative newcomer to triathlon as well. These experiences had a profound impact on me. If I can accomplish all this, what else is possible for me? How did I get to this place from the dark hole in my early 50’s?
The words “I’ve got more-in-me” kept playing in my head. I kept running, tested my ability in a few shorter triathlons and incorporated yoga as a daily practice. Accomplishments in sport spilled over into the rest of my life, influencing my ideas about what else I could accomplish. Over time my doubt dissipated and my confidence in my ability to keep going even when it is hard returned. Not just in athletic activities. In all areas of my life. Running a business is a lot like distance running I’ve realized. No one cares if I ‘go to the office’ in the morning, how hard I work or what I accomplish. It too is about my relationship with me. I haven’t made it to where I am alone. I’ve had the support of many people – mentors, coaches, teachers, other athletes, business owners, friends and colleagues who believed in me.
From being called ‘fats and pig’ as a child, I am now fit and able to take on big athletic challenges like the half Iron distance race. Ian and I are back together! I’m in better shape mentally, emotionally and physically than ever before in my life. It’s like there really isn’t an end to new possibilities for me. Such as launching the More-In-Me Movement. How did that come to fruition?
Not surprising, I was out running one day when it came to me. I was going to start a movement. The More-In-Me Movement. I want people to move – literally. And I want them to believe in endless possibility for themselves too. I want to encourage people to find their ‘more-in-me ‘ and use movement as a means of uncovering their ‘more’. This was it. I had a kernel of certainty and it was as if the decision was made for me at a very deep level while out on my run that day. An inner knowing. Also, the enthusiastic encouragement I received when I began telling people I was going to start The More-In-Me Movement was compelling. I established the launch date of Nov. 7, 2017 which was 30 months before I turn 60 on May 7, 2020. What’s in store between now and then? I’ve shared some of my ideas and I’ll keep you informed as events unfold.
Since my 2:02 half marathon three years ago, the words “I have more-in-me” have become like a mantra. In all aspects of my life, I’ve continued to be open to possibility, constantly trying new things and always being super curious about what else I can discover in me. I have come to believe that I have what it takes to accomplish whatever I choose to go after, regardless of my age or experience. And although I still haven’t reached that sub 2 hour half marathon time again I haven’t given up! I will let you know when I meet that goal.