On the Race

Have enough courage to start and enough heart to finish.

Jessica N. S. Yourko

Four years ago, I started running. For someone who once had a long term relationship with an elite long distance runner (he would go for a 5 mile run before breakfast and be back in the 25 minutes it took me to get out of bed, shower, and start coffee), you’d think I was athletic. Not at all (I guess it’s true opposites attract). Instead, I was inspired by my best friend’s Facebook posts of her success in losing 20 lbs in a boot camp, and decided I was going to change my life too. In my mid 40s, when everything starts to go, I took a long look in the mirror and saw all the harm I had done to myself over the decades by neglect and overindulgence. I signed up for a Run Disney race (hey if I’m going to run, it’s gotta be for a reason!) and started my training. It was actually walking, then interval run-walking following the Jeff Galloway plan, until finally over a course of 4 months I could run 3.5 miles. Since then I have continued to train, with varying success, and run several more 5k and 10k races at Disney (I guess it’s true every mile is magic, because I keep going back!)

Fast forward to today, and the race I’m running is very different. Like a juggler, I am being thrown balls to keep up in the air everywhere I turn, and I’ve got to keep them dancing while I’m running across a tight rope spanning two large mountains. One of the mountains I’ve been scaling for 3 years, and suddenly to the right was this rope I’m on leading to a much larger mountain with a treasure so tempting I had to detour. If I look down I get dizzy and freeze with fear, what am I thinking?, so instinct and focus on the goal are what keeps me going. More than a decade of formal education and training, followed by more than a decade of on the job experience filled with learnings from challenges, failures, and successes, are what I’m relying on to get me to the finish line. This is a race I’ve been training for all my life, one not just physical (though I need stamina for sure), but of mind, heart, and soul. Add in a few elite colleagues, all primed with the same background and drive, and this is an all in run to the finish line and there’s no stopping to take a breath. Because this stretch we are racing against time.