A few weeks ago I attempted (and failed) to write this post. I finally scrapped it because I just wasn’t able to get my thoughts onto the page in a way that made sense without rambling on for days. Here’s to never giving up!
Originally, I began thinking about myself as a runner while I was attempting to come to terms with my less-than-stellar marathon performance. (By the way, I HAVE achieved peace in regards to the race, accepted it and can genuinely say that I am content.) It was during this time that I had a little epiphany about perception.
So how does perception tie into all this? Back to marathon…..I was upset with myself because I wasn’t able to embrace the results and appreciate what I had accomplished. WHY did I feel that way and WHY did I feel like such a failure? When I say that I don’t compare myself to others, I mean it. I am pretty content living in Jen’s little life bubble. However, most of my online interactions are with other runners and that is where the perception comes into play. Even though I don’t compare myself to them, I do think this has kept me from fully appreciating MY accomplishments because my “norm” has become what I see my online friends doing.
Gaining understanding of this has helped me in many ways. Like I said, I now embrace my marathon for what it was. But, it also helped shape my running goals for the coming year. I recently shared with someone that often, in regards to running, I feel like a poser. For one, I feel I don’t run enough, cross train enough, stretch enough or foam roll enough! And as much as I hate to admit it, don’t always consider myself a “runner”, even though I KNOW I am! However, my new-found perspective has allowed me to cast away some of these self-imposed standards.
So all this got me thinking about running and how I can create a balanced fitness regime and why do I LOVE running SOOOO much? I mean, my whole focus this year is to do all the cross training so I can stay healthy….in order to become a better runner. (I know my focus should be on being fit vs run, but still debating myself on that one.) Initially, I started running as a way to improve my fitness and lose weight. I wanted to be healthy by the time I turned 40. But along the way, I discovered the Jen that had been lost for a while (and I may have developed a little addiction to endorphins).
And the reason Jen was lost?? Ten years ago, my best friend, Allison, died suddenly. Actually, our families were best friends. My husband and her husband did almost everything together. Our children did everything together. I can’t describe how close we were and how much I treasured her friendship. She was a soul mate. That loss changed the lives of everyone in my family, and I had a VERY difficult time dealing with it. In fact, getting pregnant with Alli just a month after Allison passed away was the best thing that could have happened to me. But I’m saving that story for Alli’s birthday.
Honestly, I spent the next 7 years in a fog, just going through the motions of life. I doubt most people realized how deep the grief was for me, but another of my good friends told me once that my sparkle was gone. I did find enjoyment in my family and in my kids’ activities, but other than that, I was simply existing – going through the motions.
But then one day, I started running. Surprisingly, I REALLY enjoyed it. The challenge of making it to the next milestone ignited a passion in me that had been dormant for so long. I still remember the first time I ran a mile. Then two miles. Five miles were HUGE! I said I would never run a half marathon, but I did. I also said I would never run a marathon….BUT I DID!!
Oh, and did I mention that Allison was a runner? She always tried to talk me into running with her and I would just laugh! I know she is so proud and I can feel her with me every time I get out there on the road.
Running has given me so much: it has helped me to find my happiness and self-confidence again (happy Mama means happy family!); it has forged a connection with my kids – I’ve been able to run 5ks with Alli as well as 5ks and a half marathon with Taylor; it has connected me with many wonderful people I would have never met otherwise; and it has shown me that I truly can do anything I put my mind to. So it’s more than running. It’s about living.
This little exercise in self-discovery has at least helped me identify some of the forces that drive me to run. And by doing that, I think that I can control my approach to running more intelligently than I did in 2014. Plus, it is always good to reconnect with your roots.
So how does all this relate (in my head, anyway)? As I said before, my word of the year is: Balance. I personally think that nothing can be achieved without awareness of the goal in mind and what is pushing you toward that goal, or away from that goal. All these little epiphanies are (hopefully) pushing me toward my goal of living a balanced 2015 (not only in fitness, but in my life)!
Happy Weekend, everyone!!!