A New BHAG for 2014…

Hi Everyone – Happy Wednesday!

It’s a big day for me on Going the Distance….I’ve got a new BHAG to share with all of you!

When I finished the Muskoka 70.3 IronMan, I remember there were a couple of weeks where I thought to myself: I really honestly don’t need or want to set another huge goal for 2014. It was so wonderful to have the pressure of the impending Half IronMan lifted, the waiting over, and to just immerse myself back into my class 150%.

I have to just put it out there that although I am slowly but surely falling in love with endurance sports as well, my heart is still firmly entrenched in the studio. I’m a Les Mills girl forever and always! The past couple of months have been some of the best I’ve ever had in the studio.

I’ve recently started going to BodyJam once a week, and am totally falling in love with dance and dance fitness. BodyJam is always something that I’ve wanted so badly to “be good at”, but never really had the courage to try. With my new found confidence from the IronMan, I made the executive decision that to hell with it if I don’t look good doing it, I enjoy it and I’m going to try anyways. Ironically (and of course), the exact moment that I stopped caring about how I looked doing it was the exact moment that I started to “get good” at it.


How simple the lesson always seems in hindsight, right?

Anyways, all this to say, that despite all of the wonderful things that have been happening in the studio, after about a month, I started to miss the long term vision of working towards a big goal. I watched Matt training his heart out day after day for the Chicago Marathon and watched his hard work pay-off with an absolutely incredible 2:50 marathon (shaving nearly 7 minutes off his previous personal best). I was beyond proud of him, and so inspired.


And so I got kicking around a couple of ideas. What do I really WANT to achieve next year? What will mean the most to me? At this time next year, what do I want to be celebrating?

I’ll spare you the dramatics any longer: I’ve decided that my big goal for 2014 is going to be to complete a full Marathon.

*cue the fanfare*!!!

A couple of reasons why I chose the Marathon as my BHAG for 2014:

  1. I’m tired of being “half” an athlete. I’ve only ever really done “half” races in my short career, and I’m ready to drop the Half in front of my race names.
  2. I want to drop the whole “I’m not a distance athlete” label. About 50 times this year, I’ve corrected people saying “Oh I’m not really a runner”. Enough is enough; if I run a full marathon then I’m officially “a runner”. End debate here.
  3. The marathon is the ultimate pinnacle of endurance events. It’s the very last event of the entire Olympic Games each summer, and has the longest history of hard work and determination (Fun Fact Break: the first “marathon” was run by a Greek guy named Pheidippides who ran 42.2km from a battlefield near the town of Marathon back to Athens to deliver the message: “Niki!” (Victory!))
  4. I want to prove myself wrong. Even after 8 hours on the course at Muskoka, I’m still holding onto this dogged belief that there is no way in HELL I could ever complete a full marathon, with any amount of training.
  5. It scares the hell out of me. So I know I’m on the right track, and that I’m dreaming big enough.

With the BHAG set, the only thing left to do was to pick a race and put in place the stepping stones. I really enjoyed the Chilly Half Marathon last year, and Around the Bay holds a special place in my heart as well (ATB was the race that got me believing in myself last year. Until I finished that race, I didn’t think there was a chance in hell that I would even start the Half IronMan).

Around the Bay is scheduled for Sunday March 30th this year. That puts me running 30km by April 1st. I knew that I wanted about 6-8 weeks after Around the Bay to do another couple of long runs, and then start to taper off before the big race. So I was looking for a marathon mid-May to early June.

It turns out that there aren’t a whole pile of marathons in Ontario in May and June. The only two that I could find locally were early May (the Mississauga Marathon and the Toronto Marathon – both on the same weekend). A bit frustrated at the lack of options and the early time frame, I grudgingly decided to do the Mississauga Marathon.

2 days after making the decision, something just didn’t feel right. When I thought about the goal, nothing happened in my belly. Nothing came alive in me, I didn’t get excited or nervous or scared or anything. I went on the website, looked at the pictures, and tried to psych myself up…and nothing. Something was wrong. Matt says that the thing that was wrong was that it wasn’t expensive enough, but let’s ignore him, shall we? 😉

That night, as I was sitting in my brother’s hospital room trying to stay awake with my dad’s laptop (my brother and my dad both asleep in the room), I absently went online and started to do some more Google-ing (what a great verb, hey?) to see if I could find another option.

And there it was. Goosebumps, butterflies, heart racing, eyes wide. My race. My marathon.

The San Diego Rock ‘N Roll Marathon to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. June 1st 2014.

I knew instantly, I didn’t even have to think about it. Whatever it costs to get there, to stay in hotels, I don’t care (okay, maybe Matt was right). I don’t care if its $10,000 and it puts me in debt for the next 5 years. This is my race. This is the one that I was meant to do.

I know that I don’t need to tell you what the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society means to me and my family. My brother’s life is being saved as we speak thanks to a research grant that was granted to our hospital by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If it weren’t for that grant, and for the research that is being done on haplo-identical stem cell transplants, my brother would not live to see his 25th birthday.

How the race and support for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society works is this:

1)  Every person that registers for the San Diego Rock ‘N Roll Marathon or Half Marathon will be asked on their registration form to donate $15 to the LLS (last year there were over 30,000 people registered for the marathon and half marathon, so even if only 50% of the people say yes, we’re talking about over $225,000!)

2)  Once you are registered, every participant will be automatically set up with a “Make Cures Happen” personal fundraising webpage where we will be able to raise additional funds for the LLS USA Chapter by collecting sponsors and pledges leading up to the race.

3)  Team in Training (the leader in endurance sports training for charity) will again be sending a huge contingency of athletes to San Diego to participate in the races and to raise funds independently and specifically for the LLS Canada Chapter. Since 1988, Team in Training has raised over 1.3 billion dollars for treatments saving the lives of blood cancer patients. That’s a lot of freaking money!!

More than just completing the marathon, I plan to join Team in Training, and I’ve set an aggressive fundraising goal of $5,000 for the race between my work, friends and family support, and some bigger corporate sponsorship options that I’m still in the process of looking into.

It’s important to note that the LLS is a worldwide organization, with chapters running in each country that it operates. Funds raised through the marathon registration will go to support the LLS USA Chapter, however I’ve been told that funds raised for any chapter worldwide will ultimately benefit everyone living with blood cancer, since they share research, knowledge and breakthroughs worldwide. My way of feeling a little bit closer to home is to support the USA chapter through my registration and donation for the race, and to support the Canadian Chapter by joining Team in Training.

And there she be! My BHAG for 2014! I seriously could not be more excited, I can’t wait to get started on my training and fundraising, and WE ARE GOING TO SAN DIEGO!!! WOOHOO!!!

San Diego

Here we go again…..;)

Before you head out for the day, I want to hear what your BHAG is for 2014?! What are you working towards?!

Have a great day everyone!!

One thought on “A New BHAG for 2014…

  1. Congrats to you, Sara, for your 2014 BHAG! That’s awesome & for a great cause, too!! I’ve done the Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas Full & the Half. Loved them both.

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