Guest Blogger: Becky Hoffman
About a month ago, a video called “Catching Kayla” popped up in my Facebook feed. Normally, I do not watch videos in my feed but a fellow PeakPosse member had shared it and commented on it. I was not prepared for the impact the video would have on me.
The images and story were incredibly inspiring. The story is about a young woman named Kayla Montgomery who was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) at the age of 14. She had lost all feeling in her legs but with work and medication was fortunate to get the feeling back. She embraced what was given to her and decided she wanted to run. With the help of an exceptional coach, she became a top runner. We’re talking about a real tear-jerker but it was the words – what they were saying – that really hit me.
“With time, Kayla learned to pace herself.” – Narrator
How many times do we formulate a list of things we “need” to accomplish only to berate ourselves for not having them done already? I think women have a natural tendency to take on a lot. Men do as well, but it seems to be a very dominant, female trait. So you didn’t get all of your steps in today. No biggie. Who cares if you stepped on the scale and didn’t lose any weight but gained a pound? Don’t worry about your weight, just wait and don’t worry. I used to hate it when my mom would tell me “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” However, it is true. Big important things take time. What would happen if a non-athletic person woke up one morning and decided “I’m going to run a marathon today”? It wouldn’t take long for them to be basking in their very own version of hell. We need to take Kayla’s example and pace ourselves no matter what it is we hope to accomplish.
“She’s helpless for a few minutes.” – Coach Cromwell
I think we can all identify with feeling helpless. Because of Kayla’s MS, she loses all feeling in her legs as she runs. When she crosses the finish line, her coach (Coach Cromwell) has to catch her. She cannot come to a complete stop by herself. He stops her, eases her to the ground, picks her up, and helps her until she regains feeling. It’s okay to depend on someone else. It’s okay to trust someone else. It does not mean you are weak. It does not mean that you have failed. It means that you are human. If you are struggling, find your Coach Cromwell who is there to cheer you on, catch you if you fall, and help you until you can stand up on your own.
“As time goes on, I’ll just get back up.” – Kayla
It has to be terrifying to be totally incapacitated, but Kayla waits as the coaches and others help to cool her legs down. She has an unshakable determination that with time she WILL get back up. Life sucks sometimes. It can be cruel and knock our legs right out from underneath us. In those times, we need a moment or two to get our bearings. If you’re anything like me, you stew in self-pity before you suck it up, put on your big girl panties, and GET UP. You fell. So what. What matters is that you get back up.
Unfortunately more often than not we find ourselves saying: “You’re on the ground, so you have to get back up but everybody else is farther ahead.” – Kayla
STOP COMPARING YOURSELVES TO OTHERS. Sorry for the shouty capitals, but it needs to be said. You’re not the only ones guilty of it; I do it too. At Kayla’s last race of her high school career, she stumbled at the beginning of the race. By the time she was able to get back up, the entire group of girls was way ahead. What was the point of even continuing? There was no way to beat them all, right? She got up, got going, and finished with the win. Honestly, even if she didn’t win, the race would’ve been awesome because she got back up and finished. My dad used to tell us “Quitters never win”. It’s a “no duh” statement but one we need to be reminded of. We need to stop measuring ourselves by the accomplishments of others. I repeat what Kayla said: you HAVE to get back up.
“I hope to run as long as I can. To make the most out of it as I can.” – Kayla
Nothing in life is guaranteed. We need to stop wasting our time feeling sorry for ourselves, listening to the crusty inner voice telling us we can’t do it, or wallowing because we think it’s too late. It’s okay to fall. Get back up. You can do it. It’s NEVER too late. You’re stronger than you think you are.
Just one last thing…you are freaking awesome. I’m serious. You totally are. Say it with me: “I am freaking awesome”. Now go forth and conquer.
Watch and be inspired: Kayla’s Story