Keep Moving Forward
I wasn’t in great shape in the winter of 2011. Mentally, I was dealing with some stressful personal challenges. Physically, I weighed more than I ever had and wasn’t doing anything to fix that. I wasn’t healthy in any sense of the word. I needed to make some significant changes.
When the opportunity to join a team and train for a triathlon presented itself in 2012, thanks to CNN’s FitNation program, I said ‘yes’ before I had the chance to think ‘no.’
That ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. It was eight months of training, a half-mile in the ocean, twenty miles on the bike, and a three mile run. I crossed the finish line physically healthier and mentally stronger than I’d ever been before.
During my training, my coach spoke a sentence that has become the single most important guidepost in my everyday life. While talking about the ways to move between the three different sports of triathlon, she said ‘Always KEEP MOVING FORWARD, especially during transition. Because that’s when it’s easiest to stop. Don’t let that happen. KEEP MOVING FORWARD.’
She was talking about the race, but it described my whole world at that moment. I had been in transition, and I had stopped to wait for things to come to me. I was frozen. I applied her rule immediately and began to move forward again. Some days, it might have only been a fraction of an inch … but it was forward movement. Objects in motion stay in motion. Slowly, I began moving forward and started living my life again.
The Jewelry …and More
In early 2013, I received a call from a friend who shared the ‘KEEP MOVING FORWARD’ story with a New York City-based designer, Diana Warner. Diana had been on her own journey the past few years and the lesson I learned was similar to how she navigated through her obstacles. Diana and I had dinner together, shared our stories in person, and decided to create ‘KEEP MOVING FORWARD’ products to share the message and encourage others.
The first bracelets were delivered to me on the day I was going to meet the new CNN FitNation team. I was able to give the first one to my coach, April, who originally spoke those three awesome words to me. The next six bracelets went to the fortunate CNN viewers selected to take the same journey I took last year, and the next several went to my teammates, coaches, and supporters. Handing those out will forever be one of the proudest days of my life.
Whatever race you are running, stay in it. Don’t stop or pause or wait. Slow down if you have to catch your breath, because it doesn’t matter how fast you go. Just go. Just KEEP MOVING FORWARD.