Goals Can Feed You — Not Scare You!
Christie and I are facebook friends. We have never met face to face but it really does not seem to matter. That said, some day I really would like to meet her in person and I am sure that day will come. She recently posted the following and it so spoke to me, like words coming straight from my heart. She is a runner. I am a walker. No matter, the feelings are the same. I asked her if I could share her post. It seemed to be exactly what I needed to launch this website. So here are her words and in the future you can check her out at WILingness.com
I hear all the time, "but I'm not a runner." And I cringe. For two reasons: One because I used to say that. Two because it's not even about that.
I always admired runners so I decided to be one. First taking a huge plunge into a 1/2 marathon. That distance freaking scared the heck out of me. But I was already working out regularly, in good shape, so I knew the distance of a 10k would not motivate me to run beyond my comfort zone. I could have chosen to increase my speed of a 10k, but for whatever reason, the distance has always been a motivator for me.
Over the course of time, I have worked on both my speed and my distance, but at this point what it has come down to is this: Its not even about being "a runner." It's about choosing a way of life that FEEDS me. And please don't say, oh it must be a runner's high. Frankly, a runner's high, if it even happens, lasts for the blink of an eye. We all want the quick explanation, the simple reason, the "secret" to it all, the short-cut to fulfillment. Let me tell you the secret: there ain't no short-cut, there is no secret, there is no simple. It's a journey, a process, and that my friends, is the best part. The falling down, the figuring it out and getting back up, and falling down again but this time further down the road, and getting up with more strength and knowledge than you had before. That is the good stuff because you learned it yourself and it is nothing anyone can take away from you. You hold this inside yourself forever as an inner light that refuses to go out.
When I started running it was about "pushing." Working as hard as I could to get somewhere. I was completely and totally focused on my time and distance in training. I followed my training plan to the T. And I needed that at first. I needed that kind of security. I also reaped the rewards of that process.
Now, I do follow plan, but more as a guideline. Not because I know it all, I surely don't. Its because running now has become part of my lifestyle, a way of life, more than a goal to achieve. Running changes as my life changes. With the miles I like to run, and the lifestyle I have with 3 young kids, some days I'm thrilled to get in 3 miles, while others I can luxuriate in a 20+ mile run. What I'm after now, as thrilling as adding up the miles is for me, is what I get from the miles. It's the feeling, the accomplishment, the joie de vivre that extends to all areas of my life. It's not about the miles, per se, its the lifestyle I am leading. It's a place where I'm on my own, me myself and I, and what goes on between my two ears. And that runner's high, if it arrives, I feel it around mile 5 for the blink of an eye, then I'm on my own to ride out the final 15 miles.
But that is where the magic is. Where there is no high, there is no one else out there. It's about moving my body, and our bodies were made to MOVE. It's about thinking and not thinking. It's about shutting off my mind and letting go, while still going forward, and doing that over and over and over again.
Running is never a to-do list item. It is just what I do. And if I need a day off, I take it. If I need two days off, I take them but never in a row unless forced to by unforeseen circumstances. I start to lose my forward momentum that way.
Winning an age group award is amazing, but even that thrill fades away. It's about what I do every day that is the thrill, even the rest days because I know I am healing my body.
I am not sure what this "sort-of following a plan" will lead to in the 50 miler, but I do know I love this journey and all it has given me in the day-to-day. I don't want a stringent plan right now, I have too much scheduled in my life right now. Right now running gives me freedom and that is the goal.
If there is a message in all this it would be to not let goals scare you, let them feed you. Let them be part of your life, not a "I have to do this." That can look different as the years progress and your life evolves. It's not about winning, it's about winning in your own life where you are right now. Only you can know what that is and how to give it to yourself. Just promise me you won't keep doing the same things over and over. Our bodies and minds were made to MOVE FORWARD. Go forward in whatever way works for you. Don't say you are not something when you can be anything. Don't look for the quick fix, because there isn't one and remember that is the best part. It's not about not falling down, but falling down and knowing how to get back up over and again. Rejoice in your own journey because it is yours no matter what, and that is what keeps your eternal light burning strong inside.