Run YOUR race. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? The fact is, races aren’t simple at all. A lot goes into running a race. First, you need to make a decision to enter a race. Then there’s the planning, the physical and mental training, then before you know it, it’s race day (and let’s not forget about the cool down!).  So what does it even mean to “Run Your Race”? I was curious, so I Googled, ‘define ‘run your race’ and this is what it came up with:

 “Execute your plan. Do your work, not someone else’s. Don’t allow envy, spite, ego, or greed to derail you or cause you to chase a phantom ideal that was never meant for you.”

A couple weekends ago, our Outlier Healing Team ran the Muddy Dash race here in San Diego, and it got me thinking about my own race. We showed up as a team, but we all had our own races to run. I initially thought we were all going to run it together as a team, but it turned out we all had our own reasons and our own race to run separately. Some were dealing with previous injuries, some trained, some did not, and there were a variety of ages in our group and everyone ended up running their own race that was right for them, their bodies, and their own situations. We all sure got muddy though!

Life is one race after another. We’re all unique, there are no two people exactly the same, just like everyone’s fingerprints are different and there are no 2 snowflakes alike… So why then why do we often feel the need to run someone else’s race? I’m going to be honest here; for years I have chased after and tried to run in other people’s races. So I took some time to reflect on my race in my life, and I came up with 4 questions I needed to ask myself first:

  1. Do I know what race I’m supposed to be running in?
  2. How many races am I currently trying to run at once?
  3. How many races are not mine to run?
  4. What kind of race am I running, is it a sprint race? Fun Run? 5K? 10K? Half Marathon? Marathon? Ultra Marathon? Triathlon? Iron Man? Trail Run? Obstacle Run? A muddy dash?!

In looking at my racing history, I realized that I try to run in way too many races at once. It’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s run that isn’t meant for me. If that’s the case, then how do I stay on course to running the best race I’m meant to run?

I find that I often compare my situation to someone else’s, and that just has to STOP! Comparison is the enemy here. Running your own race is a metaphor for taking charge of your own life and not comparing yourself to others. It means striving to reach your own goals and not letting external pressures and expectations define your success. This can be hard, especially in today’s highly competitive world, but it is important to remember that we all have our own unique talents and paths to follow.

The race I’ve been given is inherently different from anyone else’s. I’ve had to let go and surrender to the fact my race is not the same as other people’s, and that’s ok. I had to stop fighting the false ideas of what my race should look like and embrace the course God has allowed me to run. So much time and energy is wasted when we fight or challenge what’s not ours to run. We’ve all been given our own race to run in life, so why not run the best one we were meant to run!

My life and the races I run in it began to positively change when I started understanding the concept of neuroplasticity, and how to harness the power from it. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections and pathways. This means that the brain can adapt and rewire itself to learn new skills and respond to new experiences; the subject itself is fascinating and putting it together with the idea of “running your own race” is a game changer!

There is a growing body of research that suggests that neuroplasticity can be enhanced by running and walking. Studies have shown that these two activities can help the brain create new neural pathways and improve cognitive functioning such as memory and learning. Additionally, exercising can help reduce stress and improve mental health, which can further help to improve neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is simply the incredible power of the brain to adapt and change. And just as the physical act of running can help to further enhance this ability, the mental and emotional act of running your own race and striving to reach your own goals will help you take advantage of the benefits of neuroplasticity and reach your full potential.

For me, no matter how hard things get or how sick I’ve been, I have maintained the determination to stay in the race I am running and to embrace it. Embracing my race meant that every single day, I set out to achieve the goal to take at least 10,000 steps before I go to bed. My working theory was, if I could get my body and mindset stronger, I would grow and I’d have a better chance at fighting the mysterious and undiagnosable disease I have had for over almost half a decade. It’s now been 650 consecutive days in a row that I’ve achieved this 10,000-step goal. I’m still battling this disease, but I’m physically and mentally stronger to fight it now.

Strategies for running a race look different for every race you run throughout your life. You can’t expect to run a successful sprint if you only train for a marathon, and if you only train for a sprint you won’t have what it takes mentally or physically if you’re supposed to be running a marathon. It’s vital to know what race you’re in so you can equip yourself with the proper tools for that race.

Here are a 3 questions you can ask yourself:

  1. What race should you be prioritizing that you need to focus on?
  2. What is your current mindset for that race?
  3. Who’s supporting you in your race?

“A positive mind finds opportunity in everything. A negative mind finds fault in everything.”

Almost one year ago I joined the Certified Flourishing Coaching program and chose a life coach who has walked beside me the entire year. An unexpected and wonderful surprise was the community that came with that one decision I made. We all have our own race to run, but I was finally in a community of like-minded people who want to become all that they were meant to be while journeying alongside others and cheering them on in their races as they cheer you on in yours.

It’s not a competition, it’s a system where we can see others succeeding while still reaching a hand out to help you move up from the bottom to reach our goals. At any given time, one of us can be in a slog on their race course while another is speeding along. I believe it happens like this so that when we see people who are hitting their stride, it can bring hope and encouragement that I too will soon be hitting mine.  Celebrating someone’s win lifts me and my spirits up, and knowing that someone else has worked so hard to get to where they want to be inspires me to keep at it. This promotes hope and inspiration to stay in the fight and take the next step needed. That’s what it should always be… just taking the one next needed step and not worrying how you will get across to the other side.

“You don’t always have to finish the race first, you just have to finish it.”

Tips for Running Your Own Race:

  1. Avoid comparing yourself to others
  2. The best person to compare yourself with is who you were yesterday, or last year or 5 years ago
  3. Pick one race at a time and finish it
  4. See and lend a reaching hand to those who are in front and behind you
  5. Praise yourself with your tiniest of wins

My call to action is to ask yourself, do you know what race you’re running?

Once you’ve got an answer then try applying all the questions I’ve asked for my own race.

I never imagined that one year ago I would be here, writing blogs and starting up my own company called, “Outlier Healing”, where I get to be a voice for the vulnerable to show that it’s possible to thrive and not just survive even if you are sick. I know I wouldn’t have made it as far as I am today without the Flourishing community to support me, lift me up, and give me the occasional push when I needed it. Feel free to reach out to me at any time at info@outlierhealing.com if you’d like to hear or learn more about my experience.

Until next time,

About the Author

TK is an outlier and exemplifies the definition of a modern day Renaissance woman.  She’s a wife, a mother, a rock climber, has hiked the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim in a day, is dog-mother to a deaf white german shepherd and even a DINGO!

Her army of world-renowned doctors have labeled her as one of the most clinically fascinating people they’ve ever seen. Not only has she survived and overcome seven cryptogenic strokes and a 7=-centimeter DVT, she deals with relentless cervical dystonia, multiple GI disorders, a broken autonomic system perpetually in a state of fight or flight mode, some or all of which is being driven by a undiagnosable autoimmune disease on a daily basis.

TK believes in miracles and looks for joy in all circumstances. She’s tardigrade-tough and tenacious with a never-give-up attitude, has the heart of a lion and a faith that is undeniable and unshakable. Be prepared to laugh and cry as she takes you on an unbelievable journey where she shows you how to thrive instead of just surviving while being sick!

TK is also a Certified Flourishing Life Coach, Entrepreneur, Speaker and is the Founder of Outlier Healing.