Whenever I tell people what I write about, I tell them that I write about living, doing, and growing through fitness, travel, education, social good, and empowerment. Except…what does that really mean? What does it actually look like to live, to do, and to grow?
The good news is that on some days, life just happens and you realize…that was it! That was a live.do.grow. moment!
Today was one of those moments. I was nearing the end of what was supposed to be a seven mile training run for the Runners World Half Marathon in just five weeks and I realized that if I stopped where I had started I would only log 6.6 miles. Which really, is not bad…. But I had set a goal of seven miles and I wanted to achieve my goal.
So I kept going. Except that there was a hill. A rather steep hill. Gauging my level of energy I decided to walk up the hill and run back down, ending the training run feeling strong. So I did it…up I went…and down I came. As I came down that hill, I noticed that not just was I running taller and stronger, but my brain was suddenly listing off the things that had gone well during my run.
Now you need to know….I have always been my own worst enemy when it came to running (or anything really). So the fact that I was pulling up on an average pace of 12 minutes per mile for seven miles and I was contemplating what had gone well, was HUGE for me. I came up with three things.
The first thing that went well was that I listened to my body and was able to finish strong. Over the last few runs I have run through the numbness, only to have it get worse. So instead of forging onward, I stopped after 2.7 miles when my feet were beginning to feel numb (an issue that I had several years ago and has apparently returned) to take my shoes off and stretch my feet and calves. Stopping for five minutes allowed me to finish strong, and I realized that if it meant that I would have to do the same thing during my future runs, including the Runners World Half Marathon…then so be it as long as it meant that I could keep going and finish.
The second thing that went well was that I took yet another minute off of my 5 mile time for the second week in the row. Several weeks ago I had set a goal to run five miles on my treadmill in 1:05. I went over my time by nine seconds. Last week, I ran the five miles in 1:02:53, and this week, I ran the five miles in 1:02:00. Progress is progress. And that is good. Not that my speed matters. But progress from doing…is just one more way to grow.
The third thing that went well is that not only did I achieve my goal of seven miles (final mileage was actually 7.17) but I enjoyed it. I let my mind wander. I did some thinking. I even found myself singing along (in my head) to the music. I finally embraced the realization that I have NOTHING to prove. I run for me. Only for me. I will never be a world class athlete, or a even a sponsored athlete that has brands expecting certain outcomes. Every time I put on my running shoes, I am doing it for me. So the fact that it might take me a little longer one day because I am choosing to listen to my body? That is ok.
This last part….this is HUGE for me, because one year ago, or even six months ago, I would never have allowed myself to think this way. As my own worst enemy I have spent years telling myself that I needed to keep up with a pace that I had conjured up in my brain as the acceptable pace.
Talk about Live.Do.Grow. Not only did I live and do…but this was a major GROW moment for me.
And just in case I was not fully convinced about the fact that pace, speed, and other preconceived running judgements were no longer important, as I came down that last hill to finish my run…I crossed paths with this in the middle of the trail.
A tortoise that needed help…because his slow and steady pace was going to prove to be dangerous for both him and the next cyclist that came barreling down that hill. So I picked him up and moved him to the side of the trail just like so many people have picked me up along the way, helping me get to where I am now.
Remembering to reflect on what went well….whether it is a training run or a race (or anything in between) was the key to my Live.Do.Grow. moment for today.
What about you? What went well for you today? Or yesterday?