“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

I’m running my first 10K in less than 10 days. The starting line of that race is the end of my comfort zone.

I’m injured right now. My legs have been swollen for the last two days, and even the few seconds that I ran to the bus yesterday were painful.

So I may not be running the 10K. But whether I run, walk or hobble/crawl 6.2 miles to the finish line, I’m doing it.

Neale Donald Walsch said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I could give up all hope of doing this 10K, sulk in my room (like I’ve been doing for the last few days instead of cross-training) and feel comfortable doing what I’ve always done, which is absolutely nothing. I could remain idle for fear of failing.

Or I could suck it up, put on my I Am Made Of Guts t-shirt and give this 10K the best damn shot I can.

Joining the DetermiNation team and pledging to raise money for the American Cancer Society as I train for my first half-marathon is another huge step out of my comfort zone. Honestly, I don’t make friends very easily — I’m more inclined to spend time by myself than be social — and I generally feel uncomfortable asking people to donate money. But I was tired of saying “no” to things and decided to say “yes” for once. I decided to see what was on the other side of my hesitation.

So here I am, on the edge of my comfort zone, demoralized by my injury and unsure if this is all worth it. It would mean the world to me to know that some of you guys have my back.

I’m going to get all crafty and make a sign to pin on the back of my Guts shirt as I run/walk/hobble the 10K on April 17: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” If anyone chooses to donate any amount – $5, $10, whatever – to my American Cancer Society fundraising efforts between now and April 16, I’d love to add their name or Tumblr name to that sign. You can visit this page to donate.

I don’t want any pity donations, but I’d love your genuine support. If you have my back, I’ll put you on my back, and I’ll crush 6.2 miles in whatever manner I’m capable of.

Even if you can’t or don’t want to donate, encouraging words are plenty welcome. Right now, anything helps.

So whaddaya say? Meet me at the end of your comfort zone. Let’s run/walk/hobble this one together.

Here’s my 10K training plan (click image to view the full glory)! It’s a bastardized combination of Hal Higdon’s novice and intermediate 10K plans.

I liked the cross-training and stretch/strength days that the novice plan called for, but it didn’t include any speedwork or tempo runs. It also only built up to the longest run of 5.5 miles before tapering the last week.

On the other hand, the intermediate plan had speedwork and tempo runs, but it included quite a bit of running and eventually built up to the longest run of 8 miles.

So my combination of the two includes a day of cross-training, a day of stretching/strengthening, a day for speedwork or a tempo run, a rest day, and other general running days with a buildup to the longest run of 6 miles the weekend before the race.

I’ll be riding my bike for the cross-training, and stretching/strengthening will either be a yoga class at my gym or a Jillian Michaels DVD with hand weights at home — maybe alternating each week.

Tonight I’m going to flow yoga, which is a first for me. I love, love, love trying new things — and also jumping into a new training plan!!

Patience. Passion. A plan.

My first 10K is 6 weeks away. I’m intimidated by the idea of running a 10K, even though I’m already signed up for a 15K and half marathon, because I’ve gotten comfortable with 5Ks (I’ve run 6) and the first step up to racing a new distance seems the most terrifying.

I’m also coming off of one week of being really sick and one week of being on vacation. Just getting back into running, let alone starting to train for a new distance, seems daunting.

But today I remembered something I wrote when I was in the midst of getting out of debt. I wrote that to achieve any goal, you need to have three things: patience, passion and a plan.

Everything begins with passion –  the passion to achieve a goal, whether it’s becoming debt-free, losing weight or tackling a race. That passion will fuel your plan, which is a written roadmap of everything you need to do to achieve your goal. Patience is what helps see you through all the doubts and roadbumps you’ll encounter along the way.

I love Zig Ziglar’s quote: “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” For me, a written plan gives strong legs to the passion I feel for tackling this 10K – I just spent my lunch break creating my training plan. It gives me something concrete to aim for, every single day.

I may not hit what I’m aiming for all the time – sometimes my humanness will get in the way – but I know I’ll succeed in the end because I’ve aimed at something.

And whenever I have doubts, I’ll just remind myself that I already have everything I need to crush this race. Patience. Passion. A plan.