If you read last week's newsletter, you may have seen that I've been training for a 50km ultra marathon. You may have thought to yourself, ‘Has this girl lost her mind?' and if so, I get it! Three years ago I would have thought the same thing…

The race was last weekend, and I'm happy to say I made it through mostly unscathed (although still very much recovering). It poured rain for most of the race, and I must admit that I was NOT mentally or physically prepared for the mud or how technical the trail ended up being. However, I managed to finish in ~6 1/2 hours, coming in 26th out of 96 women who ran the event.

Today, I'd like to share my experience with you and what I learned along the way.

I'll start by sharing that this race was a big deal for me because, for most of my life, I've said I'm ‘not a runner.' Growing up, my parents didn't encourage me to play a lot of sports (hockey was a hard no) and although I participated in track and field in elementary school, I always considered myself as someone who wasn't an athlete.

Even now, when someone refers to me as an athlete, it feels weird. The truth is, this is all wrapped up in the limiting beliefs I had about myself. I'm smart, musical, and somewhat artistic, but not an athlete.

I had run a few 5km races for charity in my 20s, and then, 6 years ago, I decided to pick up running again. At that time, I didn't think I could run more than 5km. But then I ran 6km. Then 7.5km.

Here's what changed everything for me:

I was having dinner with another couple while our kids played, and we were talking. I mentioned that I “wanted to try and run a 10k” but wasn't sure I could. The woman looked at me and said, “Katy, I'm looking at you right now, and you can run 10k. Just do it.”

Boom.

That was it. I had assumed there was some special power I needed, but I just needed to freaking do it! Long story short, I signed up for a half marathon and ran my first half that Fall in ~1h 45 mins. It felt beyond amazing.

Then my life flipped upside down, I had another baby, Covid hit, and I stopped running.

Fast-forward to last year when I was talking to my partner, who's done ultras in the past and was considering getting back into it. I expressed that it would be amazing to complete a 50km, but I wasn't sure I could and definitely wouldn't run more than that. I'd probably even walk it.

I'll skip the details, but he ended up signing up for last weekend's race, and I finally decided to join him and sign up for the 50km. It was a waitlist and I didn't think I'd get in anyway. Well, I got in. Time to start training.

This time, I realized I actually enjoyed training! For one, I have a 3-1/2-year-old, and spending three hours alone on Saturday running while listening to a podcast and eating Oreos is actually pure bliss (believe it or not, Oreos are a pretty great fuel for running!).

But the biggest thing that's changed over time is my mindset

I decided that I was going to do this. That if I could figure out how to become a VP and EVP, and then start and grow a business, I sure as hell can run 50km. Period.

My partner joked that he had zero doubt I would finish the race “out of pure stubbornness.” And he was 100% right.

And this is where the first lesson comes in. In training for and completing this race, I realized:

My success came down to the same thing that has made me successful in other areas of my life: grit and determination

I'm no more talented than anyone else. I don't have special abilities. But I do have mental strength and a ton of determination. And not giving up counts for more than you'd think.

When I was trying to make VP and kept being told I wasn't strategic? I didn't give up. I kept working to get better and kept my eye on that goal.

When I first launched the group program, which has been the key driver in my business? I didn't plan it well, and it flopped! But I decided to try again and sold out the next cohort.

If you want to be more successful than 95% of people out there, the secret is that when they give up, you keep going.

Which brings me to my next lesson:

Doing hard things in one area of your life makes it easier to do hard things in other areas

When I thought about the distance I was going to run and how daunting that felt, I reminded myself of all the hard things I've done in life and succeeded at.

It's no coincidence that my training this time around was so much ‘easier'. In the last couple of years, I've built a disciplined routine, and maintaining that is hard! Getting into freezing cold water every morning is freaking hard!! Getting up to work out instead of hitting ‘snooze' is hard!

But folks, hard is what makes you better. It builds mental resilience and grows our confidence. We start to see hard things as uncomfortable but possible instead of something only others can achieve.

This applies to running, but it also applies to life, your career, and taking the risks you need to take to create the big, bold life you truly desire.

In terms of what's next, despite a sore ankle and the fact that I'm likely going to lose both baby toenails (I feel sorry for the next person who gives me a pedicure), I've already signed up for my next race. In fact, I've decided that I'm going plan for four races each year: two that I'll do with my partner for fun to see amazing nature and travel somewhere cool, one where I'll just be there to support him as a crew and pacer, and one where he'll support me, and I'll actually try to compete.

My goal is to place in the top 10 women in one of these bigger races and I'm currently deciding which one to choose.

Will it be hard? Yeah, probably. But I'm going to train hard and put it all out there to try and make it happen. At the end of the day, I'm going to enjoy the journey.

Until next time friends… ✌️💜

Katy