Monday Motivation: My First Date With 13.1 (Nerves, Excitement, and Expecting the Unexpected)
Posted Jul 16 2012 7:00am
Nerves, excitement, and expecting the unexpected: This defines just about any first date, right? This specifically defines my first date, my first date with 13.1 miles that is.
I never really was a “runner” until this past year. I used to do the average: maybe once a week for 3-4 miles, and calling it quits for another week. As this past school year progressed, I began to run more and more. It became my cardio of choice. I actually began to *gasp* enjoy it. I started off running a lot on the treadmill, but slowly started to incorporate outdoor runs. I always said I would eventually run races (and most of my treadmill runs were run in “race” increments of a 5K or more often, a 10K). But I never signed up for a race, and I continued to run without purpose. I always pushed to better my times and pace, which I did. But I wasn’t training for anything; I was essentially just running for cardio. This summer, I decided to make a change. I would run for a purpose, not just exercise but train. Not just train, but train mean.
Cue: Races. I didn’t run track in high school, nor did I run cross-country. Looking back, I know I could have easily done both. But I didn’t. The competition aspect of both caused too much anxiety within myself that I wouldn’t be able to handle the races. So what has changed? Now, I run for myself. I do not run to be better than so-and-so. I do not run to have a better pace than [insert name here]. I run for me; I continuously exercise to better myself. Now, don’t get me wrong. I want to win. I want to be at the front of the pack when September 23rd rolls around. But, at the end of the day, one thing is certain. Finishing this race and crossing that finish line after 13.1 miles? That will be a personal best; that will be the best of the best for me because it will the first I ever accomplished this particular feat. I will no longer be intimidated by races; I will embrace the competition aspect, but appreciate them for so much more than just that.
Races of all distances represent more than just a competition. When it comes to fitness, I am always competing; but, I compete with myself. If I run 3 miles one day, I run 4 the next. If I plank for 1:00 on Tuesday, I plank for 2:00 on Wednesday. If I do bicep curls with 10 pound weights in May, I will up it to 15 by June. I think you get the picture. I like a challenge; I like to push myself. I strive off improving my physical strength and capabilities. There is nothing more exhilarating than pushing yourself and achieving something you never thought you could do. It’s a beautiful thing.
Yesterday afternoon, I finally registered and paid for the Panhandle Half Marathon . It’s such an exhilarating feeling to finally be doing this. No longer will I be telling people “Oh, I’ll run a race eventually” because I have a set date and a set time. Take a look at the right sidebar of my blog and you will see a countdown. This countdown is for 7:30 am on September 23rd, my first date with 13.1 miles. I look at it every day as a reminder of what I am working towards. I have so much more motivation to run (and truly enjoy it now) knowing that I have an end goal. I no longer just run because I need to exercise, I run because I am a “runner;” a runner registered to run an actual race. WOO!
I have no doubt I will be ready for the race; if you take a look at my post from yesterday, you will see that I ran 10 miles yesterday morning. Okay, I know, I know… you aren’t supposed to do that much this far out (Cue: injuries, burn-out, etc). But I did, and it felt amazing. So judge me if you must. I could probably run this race a lot sooner than September 23rd, but regardless, THAT is the day I meet my match. And if I can run it now, I can only imagine the pace I will have attained by the date of the race.
“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to sacrifice for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” H. L. Hungt
This is the quote that I look to when I need a reminder of what it takes to be a runner. Not a run-of-the-mill runner. But a serious runner.
Last night and this morning is a perfect example. Running 10 miles (as I did this morning) is not something you can just wake up to do. You must prepare, be well-rested, and properly hydrated. This is exactly where sacrifices and setting priorities comes into play. Running 10 miles (in an effort to train for my race) was my priority. So what did I have to sacrifice? A Saturday night out and about. I was willing to make this sacrifice because I recognized the importance of my priority. I believe this is key for not only runners, but also anybody striving to excel in living a healthy lifestyle.
If you want to live healthfully, you have to make it a priority. In making it a priority, you will have to sacrifice many things. If you want to be fit, you have to sacrifice time you would usually spend watching TV, to get your butt into the gym. Also, if you want to be fit, you need to sacrifice some of the unhealthy foods you want to eat, and eat the foods that properly fuel your body.
I put this image in my post yesterday, but I want to put it again because it fits perfectly with this post as well. Running is so much more psychological than I ever realized as a non-runner. When I talk to people about how much I run, they often respond “Oh, I couldn’t even run ONE mile.” Every single time I hear this, I want to scream: “YES YOU CAN!” Why? Because you just make it happen. You don’t question it; you just do it. Nike really got it right when they branded Just Do It. You can sit around all day and talk about what you can’t do, or you get your butt out there and JUST DO IT. THIS is precisely the change I have made in my life; I can do it because I tell myself I can do it. If my legs are numb and I feel like I can’t take one more step, I take 500 more. Why? Because I can. When my body is physically tired, my mind kicks into high gear and I do the unimaginable.
That right there is exactly how I would define my newly discovered passion for health and fitness. I absolutely LOVE bridging the gap between physical and mental exertion. Whatever you think you is all you can do is NEVER all you can do. You can always do more; you can always push harder. Tell yourself you can, take a lesson from Nike, and JUST DO IT.
Get out there, get active, and stay positive. If you can dream it, you can achieve it.