Eleven years ago I just over a month away from my very first marathon. Plodding along each week during my long runs I debated whether or not I was setting myself up for failure. I cried on the trail as my training group went ahead, or worse, lapped me as we ran two, three, and four loops around the lake. I became angry with my coach who at the water stop would tell me to buck up and get running. But at the end of October in 2001, as I crossed the finish line at the Marine Corps Marathon, I felt something for the very first time. I felt like a runner. A slow runner. An over five hour marathon runner. But a runner.
That day seems like a lifetime ago. I only ran one more marathon the following year, putting away my faster marathon aspirations for motherhood, and eventually for shorter races like ten milers or half marathons. But the love of doing something so challenging, so beyond “me” was …exhilarating.
Last year the exhilaration took the form of sprint triathlons….and this year I dreamed of upping the triathlon ante to the international distance until my hysterectomy forced me to set aside those dreams. I have been spinning my wheels since the spring, trying to pick a new goal, a new event that would rev up my internal engine and force me to push myself beyond my limits once again. I thought I was doing that by registering for my first RunDisney Princess Half Marathon for 2013, but in truth, that event is a long way off. I needed something more immediate. Something more challenging….something where I could prove to myself and to my body that this journey is not a pipe dream but a realistic endeavor.
And now? Now I have it. Almost exactly eleven years after I ran my first marathon, I will be lacing up my shoes on October 21st to run the hills of Bethlehem Pennsylvania for the very first Runners World Half Marathon. Except that not only will I be running, I will also be learning from and soaking up inspiration from running legends, great writers, and editors like Bart Yasso, Dean Karnazes, Kristin Armstrong, and Marc Parent, throughout the weekend.
If you are doing the math means that I have six weeks to prepare for 13.1 miles.
Which, in the big picture of pipe dreams and realistic endeavors, is a bit funny considering my longest run of 2012, as of yesterday, has been six miles.
Will this be my fastest half marathon? No it will not.
In fact, in an attempt to protect my body against injury, I am trying to build my base and endurance level by combining running and walking. Some runners may look to those that combine running and walking as being “less than”–and if I am being honest, my goals in the past have always been to run races without any walking…but this time? This dream? This dream is all about setting goals, adjusting goals as I go, and eventually achieving my goals.
Goals like running five miles in 1:05 or less. A goal that I did not achieve on my first attempt, but did achieve during my six mile run outside one week later. Goals that include continuing to train and eat well even while I travel later this month. Goals that will be met because the alternative is not an option.
The truth is that I have spent some time reading my old fitness posts in the last few days. For the last two years I have written about getting started again, creating five step plans, pushing past the stumbling blocks, starting over, starting over, and starting over some more. I have even written about sounding like a broken record. I could choose to look at all of those unsuccessful attempts and wonder why this time will be any different. I could choose to let those moments grow like weeds, eventually over taking my dream and my goal.
But I won’t. Instead I look at each of those attempts or moments as part of the journey. They are what fuels me now and helps make this goal even stronger. Because I know what does not work. I also know what does work. The difference between then and now is that I am allowing myself to START OVER, from SCRATCH instead of relying on what was.
This new goal has everything to do with the realization that I am at a major transition in my life. Giving up a career of twelve years where I was an expert and truly good at what I did, to pursue a new dream….starting over, from scratch, much like I am doing as a runner.
If ever there was a concrete example of what my idea of “Live, Do, Grow” means…this is it. Living my life, doing my best to achieve my goals, and growing every single time along the way.
So…what about you? What are you setting your sights on?
Who else is interested in running the Runners World Half Marathon with me? (come on, you know you want to!) Or maybe a 5k or 10k instead? (or…all three???) I am thrilled to provide a discount code that you can use you register with a 10% discount for any combination of races during this inaugural event. Register HERE and use code: BLOGGER15I.
I will be participating in the inaugural Runners World Half Marathon as a FitFluential Ambassador. My race related expenses will be provided by Runners World. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.