Getting Back to Me in 2016

  • Heather Stewart, San Francisco Marathon Ambassador

Contributed by Heather Stewart, San Francisco Marathon Ambassador. This is Heather’s third year as an Ambassador, and in 2016 she’ll run the Half Marathon in honor of Girls on the Run LA.

If it is both terrifying and amazing, you should definitely pursue it. ~erada

For 2016, I didn’t make resolutions. I didn’t even really make goals. I set intentions for myself with a theme. 2016 is “The Year of Being Vulnerable.” I intend to be more open and honest – to let people see me how I really am. In that spirit, I have to revisit a time when I was the person I was most proud to be, and when I felt like, “This is me.”

This “Me” is Heather from 2013: two years into my journey to a healthier life after losing 80 pounds. Proud and joyful after completing my first full marathon. I felt happy, healthy, and authentic.

That was also the first year I ran the first half of The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon. Oh, and I set a PR. And it’s still my PR at 2:40. (We’re not all fast, we just all do it).

I remember running through the finish line, feeling strong and proud. Snapping selfies, texting everyone, picking up my bonus medals and a cup of Irish coffee. It was a great day! I haven’t run a sub 3-hour half since then. I want that day again. I want more of those days!

At the end of 2013, I got injured. I let that derail me – I gained some weight, made lots of excuses, and allowed myself to feel disappointed and defeated. Although I continued to move forward and once healed I kept racing, I wasn’t really “in it”. I didn’t do it “Heather-style,” with passion and verve and spunk. I simply went through the motions.

NO MORE.  I’m determined to be the Heather I know I can be. I’m healed, I’m healthy, and I’m back at it. I was watching The Biggest Loser the other night and one of the trainers said, “You have to fail your way to success.” ← AHA MOMENT!  And I didn’t even fail really, I flailed. This year, my goal is to match or beat my PR on the first half of The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon.  I will train properly, eat well and work at it.  I will run it like Heather ran it back in 2013.

I’m going to train for this half marathon with the same determination.  I will do speedwork and hills during the week. I will go for a long run on weekends and practice endurance and pace.

But more importantly, I will be open and vulnerable when I feel like I can’t do it.  I will ask for help, support and encouragement. And I will shout it from the rooftops (or all over social media) when I know I can. I will offer help, inspiration and motivation. I will work towards The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon with an open and giving heart, and I will run it the same way.

These simple things – training for a race, being an open person, and feeling vulnerable – are all terrifying to me. I’m scared that I will get injured again, I’m scared that people won’t like me once I speak my truth, I’m scared that I will get hurt. But in order for amazing things to happen, these are the chances I have to take and to get back to the person I know I can be and it is 100% worth it.

I will get back to me, the real me.  Maybe even a better version of me. And you can run with me over the Golden Gate Bridge on July 31st.

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