Mary didn’t always look like this. A couple years ago I met her when she joined my boot camp class. She was in fair enough all around shape, but she had been sidetracked by years of raising two beautiful girls and a successful career as a chef. She later joined our run club, and hasn’t looked back yet. This weekend, she runs her second marathon.
Over these past couple years, Mary has taught me almost everything I ever needed to know about success in life, and in fitness.
1. Flexible, lofty but attainable goals. On the first day of her Learn to Run 10k clinic, she was engaged in such riveting conversation that she ran 11k. She came back and declared herself in the Half Marathon clinic. In her second year of running she tackled the mighty marathon distance. She has never been afraid to tackle a challenge, but she also respects her limits.
2. Patience. With fitness and with weight loss. When Mary first started, she was so far behind the pack, she could hardly see them to stay on route. Having leapt from the 10k group, we’d provide modified workouts for Mary. She wouldn’t have it. She’d followed the same program as everyone else, even if it took her a half an hour more. By the time she hit the goal race, she had caught up to the pack. In the race, she passed all but a few. It took lots of hard work and mental toughness to get through those lonely miles but Mary got stronger and faster for it. Same goes for her weight loss journey. A gradual one based on hard work, with pounds that have stayed off.
3. Consistency. Mary hardly ever misses a workout despite owning a thriving cafe and bakery chain and having two daughters. Her workouts are scheduled ink. She always gets her mileage in but is very tuned in to her body and has no problem scaling back the intensity to ensure the next workout will also get completed. You have no excuse to miss a workout. Mary won’t complain that she only had 2 hours sleep last night, but you might guess it. She’ll happily skip a date with her couch, but never a night out on the track.
4. Mary is the most unwaveringly positive human being. A trait most likely passed down from her sweet-as-pie mother. It’s the one trait I wish would spread around earth like the plague. She always seems to be smiling on the inside, and more often than not on the outside to match. Rain, sleet, heat, long run, lost on the run, road. She’s makes the best of it and seems genuinely grateful that the gift of running was given to her.
Mary is now one of the best runners I know. She wasn’t blessed with exceptional talent in running. She’s not about to win any races. She had to work for each mile. She earned each finisher medal.
An ex-Olympic track runner told me recently, running fast takes talent and running long takes hard work. And when you witness something as moving and inspirational as Mary’s progress, you know that to be true.
2 thoughts on “Being Mary. Life and training lessons from a midpack runner.”
What a great post! Thanks for writing it Ali. Mary is awesome, and I wish good luck to her and all of those on the starting line of the upcoming full and half marathons. I’ll be cheering from my motorcycle!