Commitment and Setbacks



I signed up for the St. Jude Marathon several months ago.The full marathon.Let me just say I haven’t been a regular runner for a number of years and even when I was, I was never that great.I have run a half marathon and several 5k’s but that is it.This is a goal I have had for a long time so I decided to go for it.I figured that making a solid commitment would get me on my legs.Needless to say my training has not gone as planned.For one thing, I am doing this minimalist style which takes a little extra time to get used to.I have had to experiment with different shoes, techniques, and exercises.For another thing, I am balancing running with practicing yoga.It is difficult psychologically to back off from the yoga some to make room for something new.A new activity requires extra attention, humility, and patience.  Actually, part of why I am doing this is to see how the yoga will benefit the running and vice versa.

When I started training a couple months ago, I strained my achilles tendon on my left leg.This set me back a week or two but it also spooked me.Would I really be able to do this? I continued to train but carefully and somewhat  hesitantly.When I was first getting back I would back off at the first sign of pain and walk a bit.Then, at a friends suggestion, I started to add walk breaks as a precaution at regular intervals.This DID help.I was able to prevent further injury and build up my miles some but still not as quickly as I  had hoped.Meanwhile time is going by and I seemed to be falling further behind in my training.

 This when I started to doubt if I should be doing this at all.

A couple weeks ago, I made the decision to give up on my goal of running this marathon.This made me feel dead inside but it made sense.I was too far behind.I shared this with one friend and I could see she was visibly disappointed.”But you were so pumped to do it,” she said.I felt sad.Then I heard about a co-worker that was diagnosed with cancer and it wasn’t looking good.It wasn’t looking good in part because he wasn’t really dealing with it.He wasn’t changing his behavior any which is, in a sense, like giving up.There are no guarantees in life.You can’t control your circumstances only your reaction to them.Then it dawned on me that I couldn’t give up on this race.How could I say I believed in this  #$%@&  if I wasn’t practicing it? It dawned on me that I had as much chance of finishing this race, in my mind, as beating cancer.I nearly laughed out loud.” So what?” I thought, “Just go for it.”

I started looking online at different sites for marathon training.Not the typical, established ones but sites that posted “train for a marathon in 2 months” or “how I trained for a marathon in one month.” They could be a little extreme.What I gleaned from them was that I would have to take walk breaks through every water station, I would have to learn to refuel on the course, and I would have to be sure to stay hydrated.The bottom line was that if I didn’t care about my time or what I looked like, it was possible.That was all I needed.

As the race gets closer I am getting more and more intimidated.Nevertheless, I have already learned so much that I would have never learned if I just gave up.For one thing,when you are fully committed to something you find a way to make it work.It may mean making a compromise, an adjustment, a sacrifice, or seeking out information.It may mean lowering your expectations or broadening your horizons.When you are not committed, you just say ” well I guess it is not working.” and that is that.When you are committed, you are willing to make mistakes and even appear to be a bit  foolish.When your not committed, you are usually checking out by that point.

What about when people DO give up? Isn’t it sometimes for a good reason? Yes and no.Sometimes giving up on one thing means you are  committed to something greater.For instance, Jake Steinfeld, the fitness guru and author of  “Power Living By Jake”,  had a dream to become a professional body builder.When he saw that the use of steroids had became standard, it went against his core beliefs so he decided to take a different path towards health and fitness.He put it something like this, “I didn’t give up on my dream, my dream gave up on me.” This direction was one that proved to be a more fulfilling and lucrative career than his original goal.If you are giving up something to devote your time and energy to a more worthwhile pursuit, that is not really giving up at all.If you are giving up because of fear and temporary discomfort, you are only going to meet that later on down the road.Even failure can be seen as a temporary setback if it is viewed as a learning experience.Again, that requires a commitment.

At this point, I have no idea what is going to happen but I am going to see this training thru. It seems like I am encountering new aches and soreness every day.It also is surprising how the body can adapt and recover.Rest is something you can’t skimp on.It is a tough call whether to push beyond your comfort zone or back off to avoid injury.I am straddling that line daily, especially so close to the race.I could be better prepared but I am just going to use my time wisely, train the best I can, and give it all I’ve got.

Let’s see where this takes me







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