In November of 2013, I decided on my New Year’s resolution for 2014; I was going to run a half-marathon. Because I was a little ahead of the game, I set my sights on a race in the middle of February. Game on.
I don’t claim to be a runner by any means. Find proof here and here. You might even say, despite the time I’ve been spending getting to know running over the last year, I was still skeptical that it had good intentions. I started to look forward to my jogs – as a mom of two, it was the only time I really had to myself to hear nothing but 150 beats per minute of music that wasn’t sung by cartoon characters. I felt alive up until mile five or so, and then I had a strong feeling that running was going to be the death of me. Blisters, runner’s knee, chapped lips, mud splatters all over my coordinating jogging outfit and a runny nose (that’s what I get for starting my training in late November) all became painfully obvious around mile five or six when the runner’s high gave way to fatigue.
Week after week, though, I kept at it. Even over the holidays, I ran in freezing rain, 30 mph winds straight out of the arctic and into my face. I was up to running nearly nine miles at a time and was starting to feel like I was, in fact, a runner despite my last ditch effort to avoid that at all costs. I was motivated…
…right up until the day I was physically and mentally ready to register for my half-marathon. I knew my body could make it 13.1 miles and I was ready to commit. Imagine the look of shock and disappointment on my face when I read that my race, my half-marathon, my Everest that I’d worked so hard to conquer was cancelled.
Who does that? How does one just cancel a half-marathon?
As you might imagine, I hit my plateau right around the New Year when everyone else in the world is out pounding the pavement making this the year they get in shape. I’d spent the last two months pushing my body to the max physically and mentally and my adrenaline fizzled quickly with that cancelation.
I went nearly two weeks without a good run. My relationship with running was rocky at best and I felt betrayed by it – like dumped the morning of the prom betrayed. But competition drives me, and after watching my husband join the other motivated joggers in the city, I was finally shamed into getting back into it. Message received, universe. I’m back at it now, but I’m still fighting to stay motivated. My times are slower and distances shorter, but I’m still getting after it.
I’m hanging onto my half-marathon goal, but checking it off of my bucket list will have to wait until later in the year – which still counts because 2014 has 12 whole months.
I’ve realized through this whole situation that setbacks happen. Sometimes they’re our fault and sometimes they’re out of our control. Either way, when we face them, we have to decide whether they’re going to stop us in our tracks or be a hurdle we overcome. Twelve months is a long time, and if you’re discouraged now, step away for a minute and come back to your goal in a couple of weeks. I’m keeping up my usual exercise regimen, but I’m not pushing too hard right now. I’m giving my body time to recuperate and then I’m getting back at it – probably not at warp speed like my first trial run.
When you truly care about your resolution, it becomes bigger than a promise you made to a room full of people at 12:01 a.m. on New Year’s Day; it’s a promise to yourself. Make the decision not to quit on yourself. Push toward something that seemed impossible last year – I certainly never envisioned myself running 13.1 consecutive miles on purpose, let alone paying to do it.