“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”- Babe Ruth
Since we are entering the first full week of January, goals and resolutions are still on my mind. I have been reading people’s social media posts and it got me thinking about why we make resolutions. I thought I would share my journey to one of my biggest goals and also why I believe having a personal goal is so important.
I have been running for about as long as I can remember. In college is when running really became a big part of my life and in my last year of college is when I began training for my first marathon. The marathon training continued after college and I began taking trips to Chicago, St. Louis, and other places with my friends to participate in different races. It was great for a million reasons. In 2004, at barely 27 years old, I got married and immediately became a stepmother to a 2 year old little girl. I loved her so much that I was anxious to have more kids. In February 2006, sixteen months later I gave birth to another little girl. Throughout my pregnancy I continued to run.
A year later I decided to train for the Nashville marathon and attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Six days before the race I received a little exciting news, I was pregnant again. I got clearance from my doctor to run the race (since the grueling training was over I was conditioned enough to handle it). Unfortunately morning sickness set in at mile 20 and I was forced to drop out. I had my son that December and when he was 10 months old I flew with my family to Chicago for another attempt at qualifying for Boston. When I arrived I came down with a fever. (Not a good situation.) However, 24 hours later and a lot of ibuprofen I headed down to the start line. There were record setting high temperatures in Chicago that day, I thought I was dying. (70 and sunny is not ideal marathon weather) I finished and immediately sat down on the curb to soon realize that I missed my qualifying time by a mere 26 seconds. (If I had only passed on the last cold sponge I stopped to grab….ugh) Of course I couldn’t get past this, for me almost just didn’t count. So….8 weeks later (December of 2008) I dragged everyone to Memphis where I qualified for the Boston Marathon (finally) for the first time!
Unfortunately I lost my job the next month and a trip to Boston wasn’t in the budget. Eventually my qualifying time expired. I started a new job, not as financially sound but it was something, and soon after we got another little surprise. I was pregnant again!! In May 2010, I gave birth to another little girl. So now at age 32 I had a 4 year old, a 2 year old, a newborn, and my 7 year old stepdaughter. Life was pretty busy to say the least, but I continued to run. The next year in April of 2011 I attempted to re-qualify in Nashville. It was blazing hot (which I don’t do well in) and I finished less than 3 minutes away from qualifying. Over the next year I ran some half marathons to work on my time. In December of 2012 I headed to Memphis again with the goal of qualifying for Boston, and I did it…….with 27 seconds to spare. Registration for 2013 was closed, so I would have to wait a year. I guess some things are blessings in disguise because had registration been opened, I would have been there for the bombings that tragically affected so many lives.
Just to be safe and to improve my time, I attempted a better qualifying time in Nashville this past April. I ran my record setting time and it gave me priority registration for Boston. This past September I actually registered!!! Five years later, an uncountable number of training miles, and 3 qualifying times I am officially in. Flight and hotel…booked, and I am GOING. It has been a very long road to Boston.
I tell you all of this to get to my real point. It really isn’t about the running. It’s about setting personal goals and always, always, always having something for yourself. It’s about never, no matter what, ever giving up. I can’t even count how many people told me that I would have to give up my running when I was pregnant. Then they would tell me I would never be able to keep up with all of the marathon training because I had so many children. Life is really busy, no doubt about that. My house can get a little wild, my schedule is crazy, and there is very little time for me. The one thing I still have for myself is my running. Yes I have to wake up at 4:15 to get it in before work and school, but I don’t think I could function without it. As mothers, we sacrifice a lot. It’s worth it, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t take back the whirlwind of pregnancies and sleepless nights for anything in this world. Those little people give me more reason than ever to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. If I completely lose myself though, how can I have anything good to give to my children? I want to always strive to set good examples for them. Running is symbolic of so many things, and it sets more than the example of fitness. I hope one day my kids see that. Often times when I walk in from a race if I have my medal around my neck, my 3 year old asks me if I won. Sometimes I just say yes, because in my mind just finishing a race is a win. It doesn’t take much to impress her, and she is so happy for me when I say I won. I get a great big congratulatory hug. That is something I think she will remember, at least I know I will.
I read a quote once and honestly have no idea who it was from. It read “Finishing a marathon is a state of mind that says anything is possible.” Whatever it takes to make yourself believe that anything is possible, well that’s worth it then. Running isn’t for everyone. Goals are personal and they are different for everyone. The thing that isn’t different… is the feeling you get when you accomplish them. I will never win a marathon and I don’t get paid to run. Honestly, I probably won’t get much faster before age starts working against me. My plaques I have won for winning my age group are tucked in a drawer in my closet. The thing is though is that I know they are there. I know all of the confidence and strength I have gained from it , and I have that with me every single day.
It’s a new year. No better time like the present to start fresh. Remember you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of other people. Working towards a goal is a great way to gain confidence and achieve the feeling of accomplishment. So find what motivates you to be the best version of yourself this year. Reward yourself along the way. I like to reward myself with new running clothes! I believe in the old saying “when you look good, you feel good”. Having new workout gear is a great motivation tool. Some of the best quotes in history came from amazing athletes. I started this blog off with a quote by Babe Ruth and I want to end with a quote by Michael Jordan.
“Some people want it to happen. Some people wish it would happen. Others make it happen.”
Make it happen in 2014.