The funny thing about running is how much it mimics life and life’s lessons. It models the old adage that anything worth having in life takes work. One year ago today, I ran my first half marathon after being challenged by a friend. I was a non-runner. Sure, I worked out and considered myself to be in relatively good shape, but running is a whole different ball game. This friend happened to be a seasoned runner with many half marathons and marathons under her belt and she somehow saw me as a good candidate to jump on her crazy train. I have never been one to shy away from a challenge and I’m a big fan of physical fitness, so I decided to jump on board. Little did I know what a mental and physical challenge I was undertaking to start from ground zero and train for a half marathon that was 6 months away.
Nothing quite compares to the challenge of distance running, in my opinion. I remember the first couple of weeks of training when I was running just a couple of miles a couple of days per week and thinking that I had no idea how I was going to build up to 13.1 miles in time for the race. It was August in the Florida heat and I was going through the phases of muscle soreness, fleeting knee and joint pain, fatigue, you name it. So much for thinking I was in good shape! If I hadn’t already signed up for the race and had my friend holding me accountable and checking in on my training progress, I may not have pushed so hard to achieve this goal. My only saving grace was how good I felt after a run. The pumping endorphins and knowing that I was making progress as the weeks wore on started to change my mindset and make me realize that I could and would do this, and I settled into my training plan. It’s funny how running can start to become addicting and how you can start to feel guilty if you don’t get out there as often as you’d like to or need to. Running and I have a love/hate relationship that we’ll probably never get passed.
A year ago today, I ran that first half marathon that I had set out to do. I ran a couple of 5ks and a 10k while training, but that first half was my goal. Race day was the first time I actually ran the full 13.1 mile distance since I had only run up to 11.5 miles while training. Race day proved to me that I could absolutely do it and that running is just as much a mental challenge as a physical challenge. Those six months of training reaffirmed for me that, if you want to accomplish something bad enough, you will endure all that it takes to get there.
Isn’t this the way it is with anything worthwhile in life? If you want to accomplish a goal, or if something is important to you, you have to put in the work and you can sometimes amaze yourself with how many plates you can keep spinning at once in life. Have you ever just stopped to count how many plates you have spinning at the moment? I am a full time single mom of two amazing kids without shared custody, a full time teacher, a new business owner, an assistant coach for my children’s softball and t-ball teams, a runner, a friend, a sister, a daughter, etc. Each one of those “hats” comes with plates to keep spinning, and so much non-negotiable effort and focus. The mommy gig alone comes with an enormous weight of responsibility. I’m not sure anything is more important to me than raising amazing kids who will eventually walk confidently in the world spinning many plates of their own in the future. Like running, parenting comes with extreme highs and lows that test you to the core but, again, anything worth having in life takes work. Parenting is a 24/7/365 roller coaster; one of those roller coasters in the dark where you know there are twists, turns, drops and climbs coming, but you can’t anticipate them. Parenting is also a constant test of your mental strength as you work each day to rear strong, confident and capable members of society and, like running, you will endure all that it takes to get them there.
Some days when I head out for a run, I hate every step on the pavement and want to just turn around and stop for the day…but I don’t. Whether it’s soreness, fatigue or just the laundry list of things running through my head that I could be doing instead that would make it so easy to turn around, I don’t. I have to get through all of that and focus on the end goal and how I feel when I push through the distance anyway.
This is where running mimics life. We could find every excuse in the world to take the easy way out or give up on our goals when they take work, but we can’t. Anything that’s worthwhile in life takes work. That work will be beyond worth it in the end.
Can you relate to this or do you have another experience of having to work hard for something that was so worth it in the end? Share in the comments below!
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