Since I have completed my half marathon I have received many heartwarming and confidence boosting messages from 12WBTers, colleagues and friends which to be honest have really overwhelmed me. At first I didn't really understand why. Yes I had run a half marathon, which was something I never thought possible 12 months ago, but I hadn't set a world record or anything. It took me a week or so to let it all sink in and for me to reflect and understand exactly what I had done and achieved.
Obviously I was extremely proud of myself for finishing my half marathon without walking and I also understand it is a difficult task especially without the correct preparation, however I was more surprised by my train of thought and mindset. I have obviously been improving my fitness and now setting the bar a lot higher then ever dreamed of, so perhaps it is now the norm. No not really, so why did I not feel like I had just achieved something monumental immediately afterwards.
I look at the comments posted on Facebook by many of my friends and 12WBTers, many of which used a word that I would never associated with myself. They called me "Inspiring, or an Inspiration". That is something that I have never considered myself being. I have watched people battle cancer without complaining, I have watched people take part in 10km runs that suffer from disabilities and not letting this deter them. To me these people and others like them are inspirational, not me. After reading these sorts of comments though I had to stop and wonder why others might find me inspirational and put things into context.
This entire weight loss journey is about keeping things in context. If you don't you will certainly get lost in comparing yourself to others (athletic feats or weight loss amounts) and it will only impact on efforts in a negative manner. So after reflecting on my run and reading the feedback I received, I also looked at a 12WBT friend Noni77 (Leonie Gray) who last week completed her own half marathon. Now Leonie was one of the amazing people supporting me prior to my run and complimenting me afterwards and I thank her very much for her support. When I read her post afterwards, it dawned on me why people might have thought my effort was inspirational. Sadly Leonie didn't have the run she hoped for. She missed her time and had to walk some of the distance. So what!!! The part that I found inspiring is that she did not stop. She battled her way to the very end and completed that run. That was also her goal. Yes she had a time she wanted to beat, but if you don't get to the end the time doesn't matter. Many moons ago we both would have given up when the going got tough. That was the old us. The new improved versions don't give up anymore. This is what I found inspiring about Leonie and obviously people found this with me as well.
My mindset has changed dramatically over the last 12 months. I am a lot more confident in my ability athletically and I am more than willing to throw my hat in the ring for some difficult challenges. First was a half marathon. Now I have done that I am determined to improve my time. Last one was done in 2:28 and I want to get under 2:10 for the next one. I will work my butt off in training, but if I don't get there no big deal. I am cycling this year 1200 kilometres to raise money for cancer research and treatment, this will be a challenge but one I am willing to tackle. All of this sort of crazy stuff doesn't happen unless you have the right frame of mind. Thankfully I found the 12WBT and have been given the tools to put me on the right track.
Now if these sorts of challenges and achievements inspire others to get up and get moving, then I am more than happy for them to consider me an inspiration. I still might not think i am worthy of the word, but I know that getting started on this entire lifestyle change to lose weight and get healthy is not an easy feat. It also can be daunting looking in the forums and facebook groups to see some very successful members smashing out events that you consider impossible for yourself. We have ladies doing triathlons, marathons, fitness challenges, body sculpting and many other amazing things, all of which were way out of my reach 10 months ago. Some of them still are, but I am now inspired by many people in the forums and facebook groups and have set my bar pretty high with what I want to achieve. I am willing to put myself out of my comfort zone, which means I may not get the results sometimes that I hope, but I will never consider it a fail. To have taken part in events that I would not have contemplated 12-18 months ago is already a success, so how can I fail in the future. As mentioned above, if this helps and inspires others to improve their health and fitness then I am over the moon and I suppose it is my way of paying it forward. If I have inspired them that is great.
So remember that if someone tells you that you are inspiring, take it on board. Accept the compliment and understand that for them you have done something special. Perhaps it has lit a fire inside them to see that this can be done. Perhaps they will set themselves a little goal of running 3kms after you have done 10kms. Perhaps they will start riding a bike or swimming because you have done a triathlon, whatever it is let's just hope that it enables them to all be willing to step outside their comfort zone and be daring, because we all deserved to be able to feel good about ourselves and our achievements. This is something that I had never really felt until a week or so after my half marathon (athletically speaking) and I now want to add to that.