Today is the Boston Marathon and while I have never ran in a real marathon, I did enter a kids “race” one time as a kid just to get a free t-shirt.
I can still remember that day; my best friend had invited me to go downtown with her to see the races. It was a hot summer day and I had nothing better to do. I went along for the ride. When we got downtown, we came across a booth that was signing kids up to run in the teddy bear trot. The teddy bear trot was a race designed specifically for young runners. When you signed up to run you were given a free t-shirt with paper numbers to pin to it, just like the professional runners had. We were also told that once the race was over, popsicles and treats would be waiting at the end for those who had participated. How could we say no? We both willingly signed up and headed over to the starting line with our new swag.
So there I was, a scrawny six year old with no prior training or experience, standing at the front of the marathon line. I was wearing jean shorts, a tank top and high top shoes. My free t-shirt with paper numbers pinned to it was hanging over my clothes and reached all the way down to my knees. As I waited for the race to begin all of the bigger, taller and more experienced runners started to crowd in around me. As they pushed their way in I could no longer see the finish line or my best friend. We had been separated. I was being bumped back and forth as everyone wanted to get as close to the front of the line as possible. I looked down at my high top shoes. What had I gotten myself into? In my head I had pictured a fun frolic through the streets of the city, holding hands with my friend, wearing cool numbers on our shirts and a slow motion breaking of the ribbon at the end of the race with our hands held high in glory. Where I was now was nothing like I had imagined.
With a loud POP of the starting gun everyone around me began to run towards the finish line. I stood there, not moving. As the other runners pushed by me in a whirl, I felt frozen. I didn’t want to run this race anymore. I had my cool new t-shirt and I was ready to go home. I looked around for my friends support, but she was gone. I stood there, alone and scared.
Then, off in the distance I spotted her, my best friend. She was several feet in front of me, keeping pace with the crowd. I started to run as fast as I could to catch up to her, but I was too slow. Having never ran before, my body wasn’t conditioned or prepared. The harder I pushed to keep up with her the more my side hurt, but I kept on running. After a while I could no longer see her in front of me. At that moment I could have stopped, but I didn’t. I kept on running even though I was running alone.
By the time I reached the end, everyone else had already finished the race and had gone on to get their victory treats. I was tired and exhausted, but beneath my obviously red and sweaty face I was beaming. I had done something that I had never done before. At first I was scared. I was thrown into a situation that I had never been in before, but I didn’t give up and I had made it to the end all on my own. I was a champion. Scratch that. I was a champion in pain. I stopped and crouched over. My side and my legs were throbbing in pain, but I wasn’t focusing on that. All I could think about was how proud I was of my accomplishment and how I couldn’t wait to tell my mom the good news when I arrived back home. As I looked up from trying to catch my breath I could see my best friend running towards me with two victory popsicles in her hands. I stood up, ready to greet her with a victors high-five. However, as I quickly sprang up, the remains in my stomach had the same great idea. I threw up all over myself.
That summer day as a child taught me something. Not only did it teach me that I was not a runner and when you throw up on yourself nobody will stand next to you, but it also taught me that I can do things even when I’m not fully prepared ahead of time to do them. It might not be easy at the time and it might be scary, but with one foot in front of the other I will eventually make it to the end. I just have to start moving in the right direction.
Throughout the years this lesson has come true in so many aspects of my life. Even now as I work to create a better lifestyle and diet for my family I am reminded that it just takes one step at a time. One foot in front of the other. I may have no idea what I am doing at first, but as long as I am moving in the right direction than I will eventually reach my goal.
One of the ways I am working to reach my goal is by supporting better food brands. One of my favorite brands is Stonyfield yogurt. Stonyfield is helping to fuel my everyday marathon to eat better foods by producing nutritious, organic yogurt in amazing flavors like cafe latte, chocolate, and blueberry that I can indulge in when my cravings strike. I eat their yogurt plain and also use it in my cooking to reduce calories. Here are a few of my past favorite Stonyfield yogurt recipes that I have created:
If you are headed to the Boston Marathon today, be on the look out for Stonyfield reps! They will be there cheering on and supporting the runners and their families. So if you go and you see them, be sure to get yourself a free sample or coupon and tell them Raising Dick and Jane says Hi.
If you can’t make it to the race (like me) Stonyfield still wants to try and help you reach your every day marathon goals. You can go to their website today (before 11:59 PM on Monday) and sign up to win a gym membership, healthy living prizes and a years worth of Stonyfield yogurt! They will be raffling off prizes all day throughout the marathon, so be sure to enter.
Have you ever done something you were scared to do, but once it was over you were happy that you did it? Tell us about your everyday victories in the comments below.