The Power Of “One More Step”, & How It Led Me To Help Others Find Their Movement
Frank Shorter, the man who started the American running craze in the 1970s, has been my hero for years. I watched the Olympic Marathon in 1972 when Mr. Shorter won the gold but lost the applause due to a cheater coming into the stadium and running right in front of him, confusing the audience. I watched the entire marathon again in 1976 when an East German drug user cheated and stole the gold from Mr. Shorter, who got the Silver Medal. And Mr. Shorter could not compete in 1980 because the United States boycotted the Olympics due to politics. I was amazed that a man who had missed his due glory over and over still had the internal strength of character to keep running over 140 miles a week and training. I wanted that kind of character, too.
Even though Mr. Shorter and people like him inspired me, at first, I never thought of being an athlete. Those people were special. But a trip to the library, and the mantra it inspired, changed all that—and gave me the passion and the tools I needed to help other people find their inner athlete as well.
Finding the tools to succeed
I went to the library one evening and checked out every book on running they had, more than my arms could carry. I remember the also-overweight librarian smiling at me and letting me take home more than ten books, which was all I was technically allowed to check out each week. On my break the next day at work, I walked down to the Footlocker store. I picked out a pair of tan and brown Nikes for $19.99, bought the latest Runner’s World Magazine, and went back to work.
For the rest of my shift, I stared at those runners in the magazine, tiny shorts and defined leg muscles, and agony on their faces. I was enthralled with their effort and drive. For the first time in my almost 14 years, I dreamed of being an athlete, a runner. I stayed up all night reading about famous runners, training schedules, food, and running form. I made a plan. According to the books, Frank Shorter ran 120-140 miles a week, so I had to start tomorrow morning. I barely slept. I was so excited to start this new me and go running!
Out of shape and defeated
I got up, dressed in my old grey sweats, put on my new fancy Nike running shoes, and went out of the front door to attack my run. My neighborhood had those yellow streetlights, and the morning mist was out. I put my head down and ran! I counted 23 steps. I ran to the corner of the street (and we were the second house from the corner), so it wasn’t very far. I seriously hurt! This wasn’t the effortless Frank Shorter run; this was a fat girl with a heart about to explode. I couldn’t catch my breath from my allergies and asthma. I sat down on the corner under a streetlight, feeling defeated and hopeless.
At this point, I believed I was the fat girl who could never be athletic. Hot tears poured from my eyes, and snot ran down my face as I sat on that street corner under the yellow street lamps. As I walked back home, I counted the 23 steps again. I was utterly defeated, and this time, I cared that I was a loser and a quitter. I realized why the other kids picked on me and why I didn’t have any friends. I was a sad, awful, out-of-shape girl with no friends that no one wanted to be around.
I knew I was made of more
As I went up to open the front door of my house—a brand-new house that I had bought for my parents that month—I stopped. I had saved money for almost four years to buy a real home for us, and I wasn’t even 14. That was one of the hardest things I had ever done, but I succeeded because I committed to my goal and never stopped working. If I could work that hard to buy a home, before the age of fourteen, why was I giving up on running and losing weight so quickly? So this time I chose not to give up. If I could run 23 steps, what about 24? Could I do just one more step? I turned around and did even more than I had planned. On my second attempt at running, I ran 26 steps! I ran halfway around the corner, which was more than I even hoped for!
How about if I rested, caught my breath, then ran home? I did. I caught my breath for a couple of minutes and then ran home as my mother opened the front door and left for work.
“Vanessa, what are you doing outside?” my mother asked incredulously. I didn’t answer her. I just kept my head down. This running was only a promise to me, not to anyone else. No one was going to get why I was doing this, or make me change my mind. I was going to be a runner!
One more step changed my life
Challenging myself to take one more step than the time before has brought me to where I am today. I have built a business and career helping others obtain complete health. I now devote my life to helping others to achieve their health goals, to help them face their fears and frustrations, to give them the courage to push themselves a little bit more. Embracing that same mantra might work wonders for you too. Focusing on “one more step” can change your life forever. One more step can take you from overweight and unhealthy to healthier than you ever dreamed possible. I’ve experienced it myself, and I’ve seen it make all the difference to hundreds of clients. All it takes is courage, commitment, and determination. I know you can do it.
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