Countdown to 5K, Real and Raw: Week 9, The Final Chapter

Let’s begin the wrap-up of the Countdown to 5K: Real & Raw series with a review of what the heck I was thinking when I started this journey.

In July I made a commitment to myself and my coaching group that I would accelerate my personal and business growth by stepping – nay, running – outside my comfort zone and telling the tale publicly. I committed to training for my third-ever 5k and writing about it along the way, complete with video images. My dear friend Kristen agreed to sign up for the same 5k to support me.

I’ll tell you the truth, as I always do. I wasn’t feeling so good in July. My biochemistry had been out of whack for a few months and I was experiencing a depth of depression that was new to me. Situationally, everything was as usual – the daily grind of a single mom entrepreneur boldly facing the challenges that typically come with attempting to win the bread, parent the kids, and hold down the fort simultaneously. Sure, there were a few extra stressors thrown into that mix too. Enough said.

So I committed, and I’ve been blogging and vlogging about my training all along the way. Making that first video of myself in my workout clothes was frightening. But I’d agreed to be visible and vulnerable to maximize my growth from this experience, so I shared heartfelt text and moving images of myself with anyone who wanted to see. And I repeated that process throughout the nine weeks.

Along the way I’ve wondered if everyone has grown tired of my training updates. To your credit as an audience, not one of you has sent me a nastygram about it. A few people have unsubscribed to my blog-by-email list, which is fair. On the other hand, I’ve received dozens if not hundreds of comments on the blog, via email, on the phone, and in person, all expressing support for me and many sharing how my series has been inspiring to them. These have warmed my heart and inspired me to keep going.

Last week’s training went well, until the last 2 minutes of my last run. Suddenly I felt a strain in the outside of my thigh and hip. Determined to finish the full 30 minutes of running, I kept going until the timer said I could limp home. After that I iced and rested. Later that day, coinciding with completing my 5k training, my business crossed a significant revenue milestone for 2012. So much to celebrate!

Saturday morning, race day, was gorgeous. Kristen arrived early, my kids were full of encouragement, and their dad arrived on time. We double knotted our running shoes and drove to the starting line. (Come to find out later, one of my neighbors from down the street walked to the starting line and then all the way home after she crossed the finish line. Props to her!) After a warm-up walk, chat, and cup of water, Kristen and I stretched. I took my right ankle in my right hand and gently pulled it up to my glute. While stretching, I felt a pop. Ouch, ouch, ouch. (Dammit, dammit, dammit.)

So determined was I to complete the 5k that I decided to take the run one step at a time. When the air horn (sorry, no starting gun here) sounded, I started running very slowly, even slower than my usual. I told Kristen to go ahead so I wouldn’t throw off her pace. Yes, my hip/leg hurt for the first mile or so, but after that I don’t remember any discomfort. I spent most of the race alone with my iPod but met 2 nice people along the way with whom I chatted for about half a mile in the middle.

As I j-o-g-g-e-d (again, slowly) down the bike path toward the end of the course, Kristen came running toward me from the finish line. Bless her – she came back to keep me company for the last half mile. As soon as the finish line was in sight, I told Kristen I was going to sprint. I said goodbye and ran my all out hardest and fastest until I stepped onto the timing mat. That’s the way to finish strong! I felt  a drop of relief, a modicum of pride, and tremendous joy. I remember volunteers applauding for me, and I think I might have even applauded myself.  Here’s the video recap:

Since then I’ve been super gentle with my body. I had my first-ever 90-minute hot stone massage to celebrate. Oh, did that feel good. Sunday and Monday I took it easy as I spent quality time with the kids. I’m taking at least this entire week off from running before I attempt further training. I want to make sure my hip/leg heals completely.

My major takeaways from this entire experience are summarized in these
10 Steps to Brilliance-Based Achievement“:

1.  Set one huge goal

2.  Declare that goal to others who matter to you

3.  Chart a path toward the goal, even if you’re not sure it’s the best way to get there

4.  Release expectations that your journey will be perfect

5.  Accept and detach from any fear you feel

6.  Add extra self-care to your usual routine

7.  Be vulnerable about your experience on the journey

8.  Allow yourself to receive unconditional love and support

9.  Move forward. Take breaks when you get tired. Keep moving forward until you reach your goal. Do not give up, even when unexpected roadblocks appear.

10.  When you reach your goal, no matter how long it takes for you to get there, give yourself full credit for your achievement!  Do not downplay it in any way.  It is a huge deal.  Why?  Because you said it was, back at Step 1. Celebrate you!

Where do you fall on The 10 Steps to Brilliance-Based Achievement?  Do you struggle with setting a huge goal?  Get choked charting a path?  Stagnate at self-care?  Wherever you are, the next Brilliance-Based Businesswomen’s Salon starting in early November will give you all the tools, personal coaching support and acceleration that come only from being a part of an aligned group of Brilliance Based Businesswomen (and for an amazingly affordable tuition). Isn’t it time you reached your Step 10? Join us and get one the coveted spots in this intimate group. Claim your space, at a significant savings, right now! 


  1. Barbara

    So wonderful to hear the happy ending. So proud!

    • Debra Woog

      Thank you! So am I! Now I'm just waiting for my leg to heal so I can get back out there!

  2. Noor Azizan-Gardner


    Love your 10 steps! We must give ourselves the space to be imperfect, make mistakes and be vulnerable. You are awesome.

    • Debra Woog

      Noor, your words mean so much to me. You are absolutely right that we must give ourselves to imperfect and vulnerable. I try to remember to remind myself of that every time the volume on my inner critic voice gets too loud in my head.

  3. Allison Schnipper

    Amazing! So proud and happy for you! Thanks for sharing your journey.

    • Debra Woog

      Thank *you* for sharing my journey, Allison!

  4. Bryn Johnson

    I am crying reading and watching this… so inspirational and a metaphor for business and life… real and raw! So proud of you my friend. SO PROUD. (still crying)
    My recent post Hello world!

    • Debra Woog

      Your tears mean a lot to me. Thank you for getting what this was about for me, and encouraging me along the way!

  5. Paula Gregorowicz

    I am so proud and happy for you! LOVE how you've shared your journey with all of us here in such a visible and vulnerable way. I have been moved and inspired by YOU!

    Look forward to your next race/challenge 🙂
    My recent post Roadmap to Self-Employment: Know Your Numbers

    • Debra Woog

      The challenge I'm on this week is not to eat any flour or sugar. So far, at the end of Day 5, I'm on plan. Send me good vibes for keeping it up, ok?

  6. Julia

    Congratulations Debra!!! Thank you for taking this life experience and giving us a tool/formula/method for breaking through stuck places and achieving gratification and success.

    • Debra Woog

      Wow, I love the way you put that! Thank you for that beautiful language.

  7. Chris

    So proud of you gf….woohoo!!!!! xoxo

    • Debra Woog

      Thanks, sister!

  8. findingfortyblog

    <3 You were, and are, amazing. I am blessed to have someone like you in my life! Please let me know when you're ready for the next race. It was a wonderful goal for me, too. I enjoyed it!
    My recent post Everyone Needs a Little Mothering

    • Debra Woog

      I feel exactly the same way about you! I'm going to see how I feel when I run next week (after this whole week off. My achievement of the week is not feeling compelled to say “OW!” out loud every time I walk down a step on a staircase. Will keep you posted.

  9. peaceofmymindparent

    Yay you! I was never in doubt that you could do it, but I know it wasn't easy. Your persistence is really inspiring, even more than the accomplishment. Glad you have a chance to reflect on the success!

    • Debra Woog

      Hooray for imperfect persistence!!!!