New concept. Speed blogging. Every Monday morning. 24 minutes on the clock…. Go!

Here are the rules:

  1. Write it as I think it
  2. No edits
  3. No self-criticism
  4. No distractions (emailing, answering phone, web searching, adding to my to do list, checking my calendar, etc.)
  5. No rereading
  6. Stop when the bell rings
  7. Publish regardless of fears

I’ve been wanting to blog for a long time. My business is about helping my clients find their voice, express their brilliance, and apply their resulting power in a positive way. So I have absolutely no excuse not to be expressing my own brilliance! Yes, that’s a scary term. But if I believe each of my clients has it (and I do, wholeheartedly) then I must claim this term for myself too. In the past I have procrastinated blogging for a multitude of reasons. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I didn’t have time. Other things were more important. I didn’t want people to know the real me. Countless, beautiful excuses. All now banished. I am ready to put myself out in the world, warts and all. I am committed to growing, in my life, and my business, and so it’s time for me to use my voice. I see these three as inextricably linked.

It’s time for me to use my voice. Yet I still have little time and many fears. Thus, the concept of speed blogging was born. Am I the first to think of it? Don’t know. Would a quick Google answer this question for me? Absolutely. Will I go to Google now? NO. I am speed blogging. If it’s not a completely original thought, so be it, I am writing it anyway.

And now, on with my topic of the day. On Saturday I ran my first-ever 5k. I’m almost 43 years old. I didn’t start running until after my personal quarter-century mark. I ran for 2 years, off and on. I worked my way up to 3 miles, and I was proud. Then I went to business school. The first 2 weeks I intended to keep working out and I did. The rest of the time I put self-care on a back burner. And so I’ve gone, back and forth, throughout my life, prioritizing exercise, committing to exercise, fearing exercise, avoiding exercise, recommitting, etc. Blah, blah, blah. Throughout this time I’ve had a goal of being able to run 5k again. I figured if I can do this, I am fit.

So two years after starting my journey of “I’m more than enough as I am” I decided I wanted to (yes, wanted!) start running again. I did the Couch to 5k program with an iphone app. Best $2.99 I’ve spent in a long time. Ran 3 times per week, for the length of time the iphone told me to.

In February I went to buy new running shoes. Saw a flyer for a 5k in Waltham April 3. Thought that sounded far enough away to be safe. Started cautiously telling people I was going to do it so that it would seem real to me. I was delighted when my friend Jenny offered to run with me. Signed up. Kept running.

Last week was absolutely exhausting for me. Family drama. Flooding basement. Childcare issues. Sleepless nights. Child rearing concerns. Many people needing me. Me needing sleep. Ran only once during the week.

By Saturday morning I truly didn’t know if I could run. My commitment to myself was to try. On the way there my son asked me why I was not planning to win. I tried to explain to him that for me, being able to finish would be a big win. 3.1 miles is a long way for me. As we drove to Waltham, we clocked the distance on the tripmeter. It was 3.2 miles away. Oy – could I really run for that long?

As soon as I arrived, got my number and made sure the kids and I went to the bathroom, I felt swept into the action. My friend Katherine and her kids came to cheer us on, as did Jenny’s family. Jenny’s husband Chris had the perfect words for me about how supportive the race crowd is. I felt at ease. Chris took this picture of us right before we headed to the start line.

When the gun went off, Jenny and I started running. I immediately saw my friend Michelle had arrived with her 2 little ones to cheer for us!

The beginning was uphill (I’ve been running all this time on my treadmill at a zero incline) but we made it. Jenny told me stories of her life. We ran. She taught me to read the signs. (We’d been running 4 minutes when we saw the 2 mile sign. Took us a beat to figure out that was for when we’d see that sign from the other direction.) We chatted. When we came to the water station, I gratefully accepted two cups. She told me to “Be like a pro: crumple, throw and go!” I accepted her permission slip, littered, and kept going.

The last mile or so, save the very end, was almost all up hill. Didn’t know if I could make it. I wanted to walk. Didn’t see any reason not to. But Jenny said she wasn’t going to let me walk now. (My stopwatch just rang. Gave myself a 5 minute extension because I want to relive the last part by writing it.)

When we rounded the bend toward the finish line we saw our kids jumping up and down for us. I yelled “come finish with us!” and the six kids started running along side us. Jenny lifted her Dexter and ran with him (she’s one strong mom). I suddenly had the urge to “kick it in” and sprinted to the finish. When I crossed the line, I saw Michelle. She had tears in her eyes. I said “I cry when I see athletes run!” She cried when she saw me. I didn’t but her tears brought it home for me. We finished in 39 minutes. Not even last.

At the end Jenny suggested we run the Harpoon 5 miler in June. I immediately rejected this idea. But now, 2 days later, I’m inspired. It feels great to set a stretch goal, forgive myself for my imperfect training, accept loving support that’s spontaneously offered to me, and push myself to the end. Hey, maybe that’s like speed blogging too. There’s that beep again.