Lessons from the Race Track
Ok, I have to share my discoveries and lessons on the road. Today, I just completed one of my big goals for 2014 – to run a half-marathon. A half-marathon technically is 21.0975 kilometres (13.1094 mi) of road racing of some kind. YAY, I finished. I did it. I ran a half-marathon.
The back story – I fully trained for and ran a half marathon back in May of 2003, completing it in just over 2 hours. My biggest take home was that it was a BIG commitment of my time to fully train. All I wanted to do is break my goal time. OUCH! I will never forget the moment I was turning the corner to run the final stretch and heard someone call out, “THIRTY SECONDS TO TWO HOURS” I felt SO defeated for I was yet to arrive at the finish and my goal time was fleeting. I could have quit, and instead I picked up the pace and finished 2:01.29. AND, it was my first ever half marathon – what a win! I was in great shape and I look back on that time and the key was the training. I did the work, I put in the time. What an accomplishment that was for me. Yet up until recently as was true for so much of my life, I remembered only missing the goal of the 2 hour finish time.
Two years ago, I chose to train for a Tough Mudder. Perhaps you have heard of the Tough Mudder or you are already part of the Mudder Nation. If you visit their website you will find it described as: “Tough Mudder is a series of hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle race – mud run events designed by British Special Forces to challenge the toughest of the tough.” I made the commitment to train for it by training like I was going to run a half marathon and train with my early morning Boot Camp exercise group. I went into that event feeling relatively prepared. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I did every challenge and our group finished strong and in a respectable time. What came after was the real learning. I was very banged up and sore from the Mudder. My knees and legs looked I had been in my own war zone – which I guess you could say was a fair representation. It took me months to recover from that one event – I learned my aging body gets to be cared for in an even more intentional, self-honoring way. I went into that event feeling “relatively prepared”. I started to realize that I was at a crossroads. Do I continue to train and do these crazy events or do I choose to pamper my body and succumb to my age. I resigned to just keep exercising and figure it out as I go.
Last spring/summer I trained and raced a Sprint Triathlon. For those of you who aren’t familiar, a Sprint Triathlon includes: 750-meter (0.47-mile) swim, 20-kilometer (12-mile) bike, and 5-kilometer (3.1-mile). It was another goal off my “live list”. There were great lessons in that process as I was having trouble swimming in open water. Through the process of personal development and some experiences that I went through with Klemmer & Associates, I was able to let the fear go of swimming in the open water feeling relaxed and capable. As I raced my overall time was in the back of my mind, yet it wasn’t the “win” for me. I conquered the fear of swimming in open water. YAY! I hope to do other triathlons someday. I have had an elbow injury which has kept me out of the pool this year. So, I kept running and biking this season to keep in forward motion toward the goal of doing another triathlon. Then, I set a goal to run the half-marathon to get me to start training for longer runs. Are you getting the pattern? If I want to accomplish something, I get to set a goal to get me moving.
For today, I had a goal of finishing the race in 2 hours and 15 minutes. I trained for this race with about an average amount of determination. I made a decision after my first experience that my time was too valuable to train so many hours in a week for such a race. I chose to run a few shorter runs during the week and shoot for a longer run on the weekends. I was slowly working my way up to the longer runs. Three weeks ago I did over 18 km. I have been tapering ever since – resting and running shorter runs to bring up my speed.
The first part of my race was amazing. I had a faster average time than normal, yet I felt good. As I neared the 9 km mark, my right foot started feeling an incredibly tight, hot pressure. This is the foot that I had surgery on 3 1/2 years ago and it tends to act up some on my longer runs, yet not so much so early. I ran a lot of pavement time during that first 9 km. I realized that if I was ever to make it to the end, I was going to benefit from finding dirt, grass and shoulders beside the road to run on. As we came into the park around the 10 km mark, I fought SO hard the feeling of wanting to quit and give into the pain and honor my body. Part of what kept me going was thinking of my friend Lynn Petry, who ran a full marathon last year pushing our friend Richard Batiste in a wheelchair. I kept telling myself, “If Lynn can go twice as far pushing Richard in a wheelchair, I can run a half marathon with some foot pain.” I kept looking up (to where my help comes from), accessing the resource side of my brain, breathing, and remember the goal that I had set early this year: I am thrilled to have completed the BMO Half-Marathon on Oct 12, 2014. Would I be able to live with myself by letting myself down, quitting at the 10 km mark? NO!
Lessons from the Road are set goals, plan, do all the work to accomplish those set goals, eat healthy, hydrate properly, never give up, ever, follow through on the goal to completion, and afterwards reflect on what you can do differently next time.
My take? I will keep training for that NEXT event. I am worth “training full out”. Having that goal out in front of me at all times keeps me in forward motion and supports me accomplishing the other big goals in my life. What are you training for? If not, what are you waiting for?
Lessons from the Race Track of Life