How to do Something Awesome in 5 Easy Steps

If you want to accomplish something awesome, then you should hang out with awesome people. Sounds pretty simple, right? While sipping my coffee on a recent dreary Monday morning, I had this moment as I was perusing Facebook: I am surrounded by some pretty awesome and goal-oriented people. My newsfeed was literally full of marathon moments, race PR’s, long Ironman training sessions, photos of fall colors that were snapped on a hike or mountain bike ride, crossfit competitions, outdoor adventures with kiddos, and ultra running successes. The list goes on and on. 
And now- 5 easy steps to accomplishing something awesome:
 1. Find your dreams and chase them down. Whether it be mountain biking, endurance racing, triathlon training, ice climbing a waterfall (my bucket list item), or running your first 5k, take some time to yourself and outline your goals. Be specific and write them down. The more specific you are, the better you can draft a plan and then the chase begins. And remember, no dream is too bold or too crazy. Want to through-hike the Appalachian Trail? Awesome. Want to build a life-size replica of your house made out of Rice Krispie Treats? Kind of odd- but go for it. (And then call me when you are done so I can help you eat it.)

2. Get on Facebook. Or Google. Or Instagram. Or Pinterest. Or whatever social media site is all the rage at this current time. I met the other girls of Sparkle.Pounce. through my local triathlon club that I found in a Google search. Whoever would have thought that a simple Google search could lead to finding a group of friends that believe in some of your hopes and dreams more than you do? Even if I had never met these girls, I found a bunch of pretty amazing people that I most likely never would have crossed paths with in life had it not been for this club.

In 2012, I spent three straight days swimming, biking, and running with these crazies from my triclub. It was terrible and awesome all at the same time.

3. Now get off Facebook. Now is the time in your plan to get out there and turn the if and when into the here and now.  I have a love-hate relationship with cheesy sayings, but whoever penned “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” was spot on. If you have always wanted to run a 5k, the best advice that I can offer is to lace up your running shoes and run down the block. And then find other people to run down the block with you.

4. Understand that it’s OK to be the new girl. When I first joined my tri club, my husband was working full time and in grad school which meant that he didn’t have a whole lot of free time. This meant that I was left going solo to training runs, group bike rides, and club meetings at the local brewery. Before each run, I would get so nervous.  I would be completely terrified that my not-so-fast run pace would hold back the entire group and ruin everyone else’s workout.  I totally understand that being the new girl can be scary, but I always tell new members that the club will give you exactly what you put in. So go to those group training runs, social events, and most importantly- volunteer to help out when you can.
5. Surround yourself with awesome people. If you have always wanted to do an Ironman, and you surround yourself with others that would also like to do an Ironman, then there is a good chance that you will someday be talked into registering for an Ironman. I recently sent a link for a stage trail race (run 18 miles on Day One, 22 on Day Two, and 20 on Day Three) to a friend and her response was “That looks AWESOME! We have so many races to do, we need to start planning for the next 5 years!” I am so thankful that I have friends that respond to the idea of running for three days in the mountains with “AWESOME” and not “you have lost your mind.” I am quite confident that it will be pretty difficult to be a couch potato for as long as I am friends with these girls.
   
There it is- how to do something awesome in 5 easy steps. Be thankful for those in your life that push your boundaries and inspire you to chase those dreams. And in the meantime, keep posting your accomplishments- because not only do I love seeing them, but you never know who you are inspiring.

-Steph



Be Inspired

On Sunday morning, Stephanie and I volunteered at the Detroit Marathon. If you’ve never participated in this event, you’re missing out. The sheer energy that fills the city is amazing. Here’s glimpse of the starting line at 6:45am. Everyone is ready to tackle the 26.2 miles that stand between them and the finish line. 

Lucky for us, we got to ride our bikes for those 26.2 miles. Our job was to guide our wheeler (hand cyclist) through the race. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, the wheelers ride very low to the ground and have a harder time seeing turns that are coming up, and also (and more importantly) because runners need to be alerted that a wheeler is coming up behind them. This is especially important during a hill decent when a wheeler is FLYING…like our hand cyclist did down the other side of the Ambassador Bridge.

It might not seem like a big hill in the picture, but trust me, it is. I was going as fast as I could on my bike while blowing my whistle so hard that there was slobber flying all over my face as hard as I could to warn runners of the wheeler that was flying towards them. It was a rush to say the least. And I’ll admit, a bit terrifying! 

There were only a few times during the race when I thought our hand cyclist might take someone out because they were listening to music so loud they couldn’t hear my extremely loud and obnoxious whistle blowing. Luckily, we were able to help avert all danger and guide her all the way to her first marathon finish line. 


It was pretty amazing to share in the excitement of her accomplishing that goal. She was also the only FEMALE hand cyclist in the Detroit Marathon this year! Can we say “First Overall Female”?! A HUGE congrats to Sara on this achievement! 



It is experiences like this that remind me just how fortunate I am to have the gift of running. It is a gift not granted to all. 

And with that in mind, I shall get back to my training 🙂

Sparkle.Pounce.Be Inspired. 

-Kendra

What Am I Doing?

Last week I wrote the “Meet Sparkle.Pounce.” blog. It was fun to reminisce about all of the laughs I’ve had with these girls. But, something has really been jabbing at me ever since I published that blog.

It really didn’t take me long at all to answer my “bucket list” question. What is something on your bucket list? Easy. I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon. (And then of course I added jokingly that if I maintain my same pace, I should be able to qualify when I’m 50!). I have been reflecting on that question over the last week, and it’s really getting to me. 

Honestly, I feel a little bit like a hypocrite. I may be the biggest preacher of “Do What You Dream” and I’m always telling people that if you want something, you should go get it. And yet, here I am with this HUGE goal and desire that I’m doing absolutely nothing to pursue. Sigh…

So, I looked up what time I need in order to qualify. Luckily, I’m turning 35 in June, so that buys me an extra 5 minutes! (Suddenly getting older doesn’t seem so bad!) I need to cut 18 minutes off of my marathon PR. And ya know what? I might not be able to do it. Or maybe it’s going to take me a couple years. But, screw waiting until I’m 50. I might not even be around then. It’s time for me to start chasing that dream.

Speed work, here I come.

Sparkle.Pounce.Chase those dreams.

-Kendra