The week of Christmas, I started training for an April half marathon.
I had a nice shiny medal picked out as my prize. I was even looking forward to signing up for the challenge — two races in two days — so I could get a third medal. It was to be a road and trail race at the beach — the best of both running worlds. Perfect in a great many ways.
Then life happened. I learned that because of work obligations, I wouldn’t be able to attend the race.
I had also signed up for a 10K in late February just to see how my half-marathon training was progressing. I almost had that race pulled out from under me due to family scheduling issues.
I don’t think it would have bothered me, if it wasn’t for what the race represented to someone. It still makes my eyes water, even through the words were said almost four days ago.
At that point this past weekend, it seemed like I had been training for a month and a half for nothing. There is not goal race at the end at the moment. I have a hard time resting in the fact that I was doing it just for me or some lofty noble cause.
I was selfish about this race. After a year of racing 2015, I spent three years catering to my family, the future. I hardly raced at all. For 2019, I wanted to run MY race, on MY time and do MY training. I wanted to bask in the fact that this was MY accomplishment — that I did this MY way.
Looking at those sentences, it all seems a bit selfish, doesn’t it?
As a mom and wife, I often feel like everything is all about other things — taking care of the family, being productive for the good of the workplace, volunteering for all the things as a community member.
I’m cranky if I don’t exercise to balance all the other obligations out. Training was/is my time. It’s that break that makes me happy to go to work and do things for others. It’s that space where I can look at what I’ve done and say, “I did this, so I can do that too.”
My long runs are about seven miles now. I fell about two weeks ago during my first seven-mile long run around mile 3. I’ve been scared to run again. When I fell in November, it took almost a month to fully recover. I feel fine. Of course, I felt fine last time I fell and ended up screwed up my shoulder again while trying to do planks.
This past weekend, I adjusted my training plan for a few days. I hit the reset button. No meditation class. I set my running based on time, not miles. I spend my evenings reading “Never Split the Difference,” by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz, and rereading “Girl Wash Your Face,” by Rachel Hollis. I watched my kids play video games and asked about strategy and controls. (Kingdom Hearts III looks very promising.) I cleaned and cooked and worked — the things I wanted to do.
I needed this break in order to refocus. I still don’t have a goal half-marathon race. But I want to be able to run 13.1 miles. I want my kids to be proud of me. I want to be proud of me.
I am being a little selfish, because it will help me be a better giver. It will help me be better with my relationships — running burns off the crazy, for real. It allows me to stop struggling with mom guilt, leadership guilt, and a great many other things.
So tomorrow, I’ll do my yoga and run my miles as given to me by my coach. My goal is to experience life. Each run is an adventure that I have the privilege to take. Sometimes, the goal doesn’t need to be wrapped in something shiny. But I’ll admit, it sure does help.