For some reason this summer I decided it was a good idea to sign up to run a half marathon at the end of October. I mostly blame my best friend. You may not know her, but you have a friend like her. She is not very good at sitting still. Typically, she has her hands in multiple projects while juggling motherhood and a job like a boss. Then, just when she feels like she has a handle on everything, she throws something else onto her plate – like training for a half marathon. Additionally, she convinces you that all of this is totally doable! Furthermore, you drink her Kool-Aid and sign up.
To be fair, it was doable for the first few weeks. I made my triumphant return to running. It was great. I had some time to myself and somehow managing to squeeze in other workouts besides running. I was a superstar! Here I was, nailing this mom of two thing and training. There were visions of me crushing my personal best from four years ago, you know, that time before children. It was splendid!
Then, September hit and I went back to work. I think I block the start of school out of my head every year. You know, like how you eventually convince yourself child birth is not that bad and you can do it again. Anyway, the beginning of the school year is exhausting. There is so much to do in those first few weeks. Additionally, now that I have children of my own, there is not only so much to do at school, but at home as well.
Not surprisingly, my mid-week runs began to diminish. I tried not to panic. I convinced myself that I would make up it for it on the weekends. Except that September suddenly became an entire month of weddings – travel weddings. My long runs quickly started to dwindle. It was the second week of October when the reality of my failed training started to settle in.
I knew that I could finish the race, but the dream of actually beating my personal best was long gone. This is when I started to reconsider my decision. I began to think: “what is even the point of running? I’m going to do terrible. I should just skip it.” I could not keep the negativity at bay. I seriously considered quitting, but something changed my mind: my daughters. If I quit, what kind of example was I setting?
I often tell my students you get out what you put in. It was time to own that statement. I did not put in the work or the training to successfully beat my personal best, but that did not mean I got to quit. Life is always going to throw challenges at you. Sometimes you are not going to manage these challenges to the best of your ability. However, part of that is realizing where you went wrong and working through it.
Perhaps picking a half marathon as my first race was not the best way to return to running, but it is what I did. Quitting was not an option. I was going to finish this race, regardless of my pace. It was in this moment that had to readjust my thinking and tweak my goal. I wanted to show my girls that I could accept what I had failed to do, but still finish what I set out to do.
I finished that race. While I would love to tell you that I managed to pull out an amazing time, the reality is, I did not. The last two miles were absolute torture; a reminder of where my training failed. However, I had a couple of cheerleaders by my side pushing me through it. I made it to the finish line, and you know what? I ran 13.1 miles that day.
Balancing motherhood, work, and healthy lifestyle is not always easy. Sometime there is give and take. I thought when I finished the race that day, that I would vow never to do it again. However, it also made me want to do better next time. Hopefully, I can learn from my mistakes.