(Today’s lesson: binging on exercising currently seems to be paying off)
Caroline and I made a new years resolution together: do more better.
I think the seed was actually planted near the middle of December when I made the decision to go ahead and sign up for the GO St. Louis half marathon. It had been a while since I’d been ‘training’ for something, and I figured I needed some motivation (and $$ on the line) to actually get moving. Plus, I had the chance to put together a ‘real’ training schedule.
So, at the start of the new year, we decided that we would try to be better in 2014. To me, that means trying hard things, and putting in the time to make an honest effort. It also means taking the risk and putting my ego on the line – a scary thought! As GO time approached (heh), I kept talking to new and old friends, mentioning the race as a ‘serious’ goal. For me, running a half marathon isn’t a big thing. Let me be clear, I’m super, super lucky to be able to say that. I know that I can get up off the couch and still run a pretty decent time, something that (I would assume) angers people who struggle to, say, run an entire 5 miles (also a pretty legit goal). So, in keeping with the theme of valuing talents and pushing limits, I set myself a lofty goal of breaking 1:30 (or, roughly a 6:50 minute/mile pace over the course of 13.1 miles). I hesitated to share that goal with my friends – because it was a really optimistic goal, one I wasn’t sure I could accomplish. Just like that new runner signing up for their local 5k, I had a sense of dread considering the possibility that I just wouldn’t make it, and would let everyone (including myself) down come race day.
The thing about making goals is, you get this awesome sense of accomplishment when you start to see progress. This happened for me at an exact moment (well, one run, to be specific). I didn’t feel the greatest, I just wanted to run. It was Friday, I was tired, I had been slacking a little on my training and wanted to make up for it. And what happened? I got home, checked the garmin, and was floored with 6+ miles averaging 6:45. Just as fast, if not faster, than I’ve ever been. I started to think it was possible.
Fast forward through the many months of training in a polar vortex (I will credit the dog with a lot of motivation – poor lil’ guy just needs a bunch of exercise, so even when I wasn’t really feeling it, I’d throw on those shoes and get at least a few miles in… for his sake).
Faster than I’d like to admit… race day appeared!
And, I’m happy to say, I hit that goal 🙂 A PR for me (I think I may have run one other half marathon back in like 2004, aka high school, in around 1:45ish??) of 1:28:20 (check it out… I’m even on the first page of results for women in the half!! whoa). Breaking the 90 min mark, earning 6th of the (non-elite) women, and 2nd in my age division.
The best part though? Accomplishing the goal that intimidated me. Getting compliments from people that I look strong. Feeling strong. Even though I’ve always considered myself an athlete, I can’t emphasize enough the feeling of empowerment you can gain from setting goals, putting in a lot of hard work, and having that work pay off. So what if I’m not the smartest, or most talented, or most successful, or most efficient? Grad school (and life) can beat you down and make you think that you can’t do anything. Currently, I’m stoked for this summer, because I’ve come to realize that I can, and you can, work harder and do more better 😀