Intimidation or Inspiration?
All summer and especially last week, lots of my local friends and online acquaintances have been running stand-out races. Big marathons, big goals, fast times, strong bodies. Just amazing, motivating stuff. And after simmering in envy for too many weeks, this most recent rash of other people’s accomplishments has left me feeling great.
I finally feel relaxed about my personal timelines and not at all panicked. Studying, for example, how many years some people have spent working hard at their goals is a huge encouragement for me. I have time. And, I don’t mind admitting this, seeing the price some people pay in pursuit of those goals has been eye-opening. It helps bring my own values into focus.
As with anything in life, it helps to know that each of us has our own set of unique goals, and we should tailor them to our unique talents, lifestyles, and resources. It all just reinforces to me that I need to get honest with myself and focus on some goals that would bring me authentic joy while aligning with my core values and resources, which might differ from the people I have been emulating. I need to focus a little more on what I am doing with my own running and overall fitness, with less comparison to the rest of the world.
So I spent some time marinating these things and came up with a short list of goals and values that are genuine for me, in no particular order:
GOALS that are both measurable and long-term
- Run a sub-4 marathon. I have no clue how close I am right now. And I am a little scared to find out. My focused training weeks this year went well, but I have not progressed much overall, just making small adaptations month to month. My mileage base is strong, so there’s that.
- Also, qualify for Boston (for my age group that would be about 12 minutes faster than my sub-4 goal).
- Run a half marathon really close to my brother’s time. (Dream big ok!!)
- Finish this calendar year by running 2,018 miles EARLY. Take some downtime around Christmas. Only 424 miles to go!
- Win the Olympics. Ha. And while I am at it, write a best selling novel so my husband can quit his job and we can spend the icy months at the beach. Ok.
VALUES, methods I want to observe along the journey:
- Continue carving out time for lifting (baby) weights in order to feel really good, improve bodily function and strength and stay injury free. Even when it means sacrificing miles.
- Evolve my diet safely and sustainably so I can live in a more fat adapted state (Primal? Maybe?) and curtail diabetic symptoms.
- Eat well (I feel my best when I eat great food and enough of it) but live life fully with my people, never dieting, not “fueling” constantly or pretending to be in a running vacuum. Perfectionism is a pitfall. And I am so tired of trying to lose weight. I just want to feel good every day and trust that healthy habits work in my favor, long-term. I love pizza and cookies once in a while. That has to fit in.
- Overall health and balance, pursuing a good, ongoing sense of well being without overuse injuries or emotional burnout.
- Keep my running in harmony with the rest of our busy life, not living constantly in a strictly scheduled “training” mode, which leads to burnout and imbalance with friends and family. This means maybe one run per weekend right now, knowing that could change once marathon training starts.
- Schedule more excursion runs with friends and family. “Iron sharpens iron” and also, it always turns out to be so fun. (I generally resist because I feel slower than everyone, I always have to pee more often haha, and I definitely treasure the alone time. But social runs are good for us too.)
- Races are exciting and I am enticed by the competition, but they are less important to me over time, in the scope of things, so long as running and other healthy activities can remain a part of my life. I recognize that I need to spend less time and energy agonizing over how many races and fun events I am missing.
- Maintain the JOY of running!! I think anything we do for too long at an almost obsessive level can become work, and I want running to be a joyful part of my life for the rest of my life, if possible. So I am happy to allow some breathing room.
To remember my friend Robin’s advice, it’s great to look to others for inspiration, but once that begins to feel like intimidation, it’s time to look away.
Look at a baby kangaroo instead.
Wish me luck and maybe some wisdom as I sort out exactly how all of this translates to weekly and monthly plans. I definitely do better with at least a skeleton plan and short-term goal or two.
Something funny is that this morning after I drafted this blog post, I headed to the lake for a speed workout. As I was parking my car, my phone started flashing and buzzing tornado warnings, and the sky turned black. Instantly. I drove the nine miles home through blinding rain and straight-line winds, got the animals safe and happy, and watched the weather on television for two hours instead of working out. I was mad for a while but was able to pull out if it, reminding myself that this is life. Life (and certainly weather) does not revolve around my plans for the day. Also? It’s fine. It really is fine.
Someone in one of my running groups recently posted that an altered workout is actually good for us, because not only does it build mental tenacity; it also keeps our bodies guessing a little bit and makes us stronger in new ways.
Ok. Over and out. Thanks for coming to my TED talk about running goals and values and how I worry about missing out on stuff.