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  • Writer's pictureValeria Rodriguez

The 3 P's to staying on TRACK

While on a run the other day, I realized the 3 most important lessons I took from my Peace Corps experience were the same lessons that running teaches us every day.

The day I broke 5 minutes in the mile for the first time.
2006 Indoor Track

To stay on track you need to:

1) Find YOUR Purpose 2) Be Process Driven 3) Be Persistent

When I arrived at the Peace Corps Panama Headquarters Office in Panama City, the staff members that welcomed us said: “Welcome to the hardest job you’ll ever love.” Boy were they on point! There were so many aspects of my service that were difficult, both emotionally, and physically, but I wouldn't have changed it for anything in the world. When we do things we are passionate about, they are hard, they take work, they take time, and they take sacrifice...but they are worth it (EVERY TIME). 


We need a STRONG reason to do what we do because we will get questioned, we will doubt, we will be tempted to stop, give up, or give in. Whether we are on a run or in a rut, having that goal line clearly defined, having that justification for getting out of bed clearly defined, and having that reason to hang on the last minute of a sprint on a training ride...that will make all the difference between giving in and holding on!


We live in a GOAL oriented society where we ask ourselves and those around us what their short and long term goals, personal, professional, and physical. As I look more closely at those GOALS, I see that we measure their success by how SMART they were (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timed). Unfortunately numbers, figures, places, times, stats, scores,  and medals are what matter. Results  define our success. But goals can be results driven or process driven. Process Driven outcomes are more subjective. “ I want to feel happier, I want my clothes to fit better, I want to have a bigger impact on the world around me.” Though these are harder to measure, you can still consider it a success or failure. This type of goal setting is useful for changes of mind-set or habits over time.  As athletes, our JOURNEY is as important, as our goal. Getting to the finish can only happen if we take all the steps in between! 

BE PERSISTENT. The Peace Corps slogan asks: How far are you will to go to make a difference? It’s a question that we need to ask ourselves in everything that we do. The answer lies in how successful we want to be. We  need go as far as it takes. We need to keep logging mileage, eating right, forgiving, pursuing, believing , and loving, as long as it takes; We need to be consistent and persistent, in order for change to happen.  As we train, we will go through ups and downs, through periods of inspiration and desperation, through highs and lows, and heavy’s and light’s...But we can't Give UP, we can't give in! There is always an answer to everything.

If you have a minute, watch this trailer:

In the end, no matter what we are talking about (relationships, careers, or races), we need to find that REASON that keeps us focused, we need to enjoy the journey we are on, and keep at it (whatever IT may be). When I accepted the invitation to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama, I wanted to change the world. I quickly learned that we can't do that, we can't change people, and we cant change situations. The more miles I log, the more those thoughts are cemented. We can only control our own races, our training habits, and our perspective....we only can work on changing ourselves, our habits, and our way of thinking to BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE, whether that change is in our running or in the WORLD around us.

Happy Sweating!

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