At the Cherry Festival 5K run/walk a few Saturday mornings ago it dawned on me, “Why aren’t more people running and walking this race?”

Several parents brought their children to run and served as spectators on the sidelines. Others came solely to watch and cheer runners and walkers to the finish line. Noble gestures indeed, but why weren’t “they” out there?

My sister Lisa, who is diligently on her own Journey to Optimum Health, was very upset that she was called in to work and could not participate. She had purchased a new outfit for the walk and her enthusiasm for seeing her fellow community members was evident. Then ultimately that little thing called “life” got in the way. But what about the rest of us? Yes, I include myself. (Although I did run the race with a knee injury, I have had my fair share of excuses in the past too.) Perhaps a lesson in humility was in order…..

I had to get past my once double D’s flopping uncomfortably, thus wearing 2 sports bras to feel somewhat presentable, chafing thighs, looking not-so-good in the best fitness clothes I could find, skin flapping, saggy bat wing arms, bruised legs and other perils of being a way-over-40-something year old.

Catch my drift? Get over it! We all start somewhere. And if any of the aforementioned bothered you to the point where you were inhibited to get out there among your fellow community members, do it solely to support the charitable cause. Look beyond yourself and your ego. Don’t worry about being judged, you are among friends.

One of the most important lessons I have learned in my own fitness journey is to embrace humility. Use it as a source of motivation. At once 240 pounds, I learned to get past those feelings of inadequacy. I also learned that I could not do this on my own. Let me repeat that, I learned that I could not do this on my own! If a local race provided support and an opportunity to get a workout in on an otherwise lazy Saturday morning, I embraced the opportunity!

A chance to talk to Coach Ted Miller about his thoughts on my knee injury. A chance to see the Reid girls, Cathy Righi, Sonia Fails, and numerous other friends who make event possible for our community. An opportunity to network with active folks who know where the next biking/running event will be. And yes, to hear your name yelled out among those faithful spectators as you approach the finish line provides a chill of what may be a brief accomplishment, yet an accomplishment indeed.

I tell my own clients, “If our journey to optimum health were easy, we’d all be sitting around in bikinis and Speedos planning our next triathlon.”

Here’s the truth, it’s as easy as we make it. It’s as easy as taking the first step. I’ll be looking for you at the Cherry Festival 5K next year!

- Tell me what you're thinking…Linda Lewis

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