Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Who says Allie Kieffer isn’t thin enough?

Allie Kieffer, one of the best Americans running the New York City Marathon next Sunday, spent a lot of her life feeling as if she didn’t really fit in among the competition. She was good enough to land an athletic scholarship to college and hoped to continue running after graduating. But she wasn’t as thin as the women she raced against. Her coaches suggested she diet. She eventually gave in, and her body broke down…

After a few years, she missed running and started again — but this time was different. There were no goals, no opponents to compare herself with and no times to record. Everything was on her own terms…She began running more miles than ever, she was healthier than ever, and she was happier, too. And then something unexpected happened: She got faster. Much faster.

Last year, Kieffer ran the New York City Marathon and finished, astonishingly, in fifth place. She was the second American woman, and she logged her best time by nearly 15 minutes in one of the world’s most competitive footraces. Barely anyone knew who the unsponsored 30-year-old American with the topknot sprinting past Olympians in the final miles of Central Park was.

Suddenly, Kieffer wasn’t just trying to be one of the hundreds of elite runners in the country. She had become one of the best runners in the world…

In doing so, Kieffer has given us a powerful example of what can happen when we stop trying to force ourselves to meet preconceived notions of how to achieve success — especially unhealthy, untrue ideas — and go after our goals on our own terms. When we focus less on fixing what we consider to be inadequacies and more on reinforcing our strengths, we can realize potential we didn’t even know we had.

“Sometimes, the act of trying takes so much energy that it can prevent you from actually doing the thing you want to do,” Brad Stulberg, the author of Peak Performance, told me. “If it starts to feel like performance shackles, you’re going to want say screw it, to break out of rigid patterns and rip those shackles off. And only then are you able to really achieve what you were trying for the whole time.”

Kieffer’s story also proves that we can achieve far more when we value all women’s bodies less for how they look, and more for what they can do.

Not that being underestimated can’t serve as motivation.

“I’ve always gotten a lot of satisfaction by being the big girl everyone thought they were going to beat,” says Kieffer…

There is a growing movement telling us to embrace the bodies we’ve got — thank you — but it’s hard to drown out the other messages. Whether it’s for a race or a wedding, women are told that they are at their most valuable when their bodies are their most diminished. Resisting the impulse to feed yourself is an accomplishment we praise. You don’t have to buy into these values, but you’ll probably still be judged by them…

By conventional standards, she is doing nearly everything wrong. But she’s beating a lot of the people who are still training the “right” way, so perhaps her path shows there’s room for a more flexible definition of what the right way can be. This is probably true for more than just distance running.

~ Lindsay Crouse, excerpts from Who Says Allie Kieffer Isn’t Thin Enough to Run Marathons? Success that shows we might be able to achieve even more when we break all the rules. (The New York Times, October 27, 2018)


Inspired by:

  • Nobody is smarter than you are. And what if they are? What good is their understanding doing you?” -Terence McKenna, Nobody is Smarter Than You Are
  • I don’t think that you have to get all your inner stuff together and totally integrated before you can actually be what you’ve realized. You’re going to wait forever if you wait for that. Just start being what you know now.” ~ Adyashanti, Emptiness Dancing

Comments

  1. A strong message for young girls.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. what an inspiration she is and what a powerful message for all –

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the quotes that inspired you

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a great story to land on me today as I embark with two other women on a new project, giving retreats and workshops on self-worth and self-love for teenage girls in schools! It’s so important we nurture this truth in them and I will use this great example of being authentic! 👏🙏🏻 thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love the message this sends…and the fact that she’s doing it “her” way!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such an important message, DK, that I had to post it. Thank you 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    ‘Allie Kieffer wasn’t just trying to be one of the hundreds of elite runners in the country. She had become one of the best runners in the world …
    training her own way!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a life and joy-enhancing way of looking at things this runner conveys. All the power to her!
    I don’t know if it’s a sign of our time: But the very same approach is happening in my life for the past 2-3 years – I don’t listen (too much) of what ppl think or say of me because I know that my inner self knows exactly what’s doable and right for me NOW and one has to learn to listen to one’s inner voice of wisdom. As I said only days ago: We have to be and (usually) are the best version of who we can be, of who we are.
    Once again, BRAVO Allie…. Although I’ve never heard of you, I laud you

    Liked by 3 people

  9. We spend so much of our lives hearing how things are ‘supposed to be done,’ and what’s worse, we buy it! I know this happens to everyone, but I think the phenomenon plagues women disproportionately. I love Kieffer’s spirit. She reminds me of Misty Copeland, the amazing ballerina who was also told she ‘didn’t have the right body’ for her sport. And what did she do? She became the American Ballet Theater’s first female African-American principal dancer. Believe. In. Yourself. That’s my takeaway (and a lesson I’m still learning every damn day….) https://www.npr.org/2015/07/01/419076143/misty-copeland-seeks-to-enspire-other-african-american-dancers

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Reblogged this on Quiet Confidence – Art and Word.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a great and motivating message. We all like to believe we celebrate our differences, yet we often see our own differences from the popular “model” as inadequacies. This is a message that we can all internalize and learn from. Great post David. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Aliie Kieffer came in #7 NYC Marathon, today! (Women’s)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. oops…entered in incorrect area..Aliie Kieffer came in #7 NYC Marathon, today! (Women’s)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. When I first read this earlier this week I looked at Allie’s photo and thought she looks like she could be the daughter of Cheryl strayed…I noted who wrote the article and I thought I know that name…I did, though not the NY Times writer but the actress “Lindsay Crouse” who is accomplished..as were her parents…Allie Kieffer, is a strong, independent, driven and dedicated young women with a strong message individual worth…I’ve always felt a person is not their weight, age, looks, who their parents are, etc…everyone has potential and Allie Kieffer has given young women a needed illustration in her dose of strength, self worth, perseverance, listening to your inner dialogue and to realize that No One has the right to pressure and put you down…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. When I first read this earlier this week I looked at Allie’s photo and thought she looks like she could be the daughter of Cheryl strayed…I noted who wrote the article and I thought I know that name…I did, though not the NY Times writer but the actress “Lindsay Crouse” who is accomplished..as were her parents…Allie Kieffer, is a strong, independent, driven and dedicated young women with a strong message individual worth…I’ve always felt a person is not their weight, age, looks, who their parents are, etc…everyone has potential and Allie Kieffer has given young women a needed illustration in her dose of strength, self worth, perseverance, listening to your inner dialogue and to realize that No One has the right to pressure and put you down…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks for sharing Lisa. You got it right!

    Like

  17. ha, wrong person although I do a sister named Lisa who is a Red head…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Autocorrect / Autosuggest + Haste = Lisa

    Like

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