I have a goal. A goal to run a full marathon in a decent time.
My best friend, Allison, has a goal. A goal to finish her very first half marathon.
We joined forces and agreed to achieve our respective goals on the same day. Same time. Same place. Same race.
I proposed the idea of combining our training efforts and tackling this together to make it a more pleasant experience for us both (well, as pleasant as running 26 miles can get). Every Sunday we pound the pavement together for our long distance runs and check up on each other during the week to make sure we’re keeping up with our middle-of-the-week training. Allison typically runs half the distance of my scheduled run. A win-win situation. As a neophyte to running, Allison benefits from having someone to pace her, correct her form when her physical fatigue becomes obvious and keep her convinced that she can go just a little further every time she’s considering a walk break. On the flipside, I have someone to accompany me, keep me from getting overzealous, exert too much effort during the first half of my run and burn-out before finishing my target mileage.
I have always been one to get a thrill from motivating other people and watching their progress (and Allison has made incredible progress). Encouraging someone to keep going harder and stronger makes it easier for me to do the same. Amongst other things, coaching Allison has taught me patience. As mentioned above, I have tendencies to go too fast, too soon. This has resulted in injuries, fatigue and eventual abortion of race goals. Last Sunday I found myself wanting to speed it up and had to remind myself that as focused as I am on reaching my own goal, this is not about me. I am equally in this for my friend. To watch her succeed and witness her happiness when she reaches the finish line. So why go faster? Why fly solo? After all, I’m doing this with her so we can both enjoy it. My struggles come when Allison leaves me. I suddenly have no one to feel proud of, or laugh at how exhausted we are, or question why we are voluntarily suffering in what feels like a humid hell rather than drinking mimosas on the Atlantic shore (which, by the way, lies less than 50 feet away during our entire run). So why leave her?
My point in sharing all of this is the following: Find something that motivates you and run with it. In my case, it is literally Allison. Your inspiration may not be a person but rather lie in a song, a quote or a memory. Different strokes for different folks. But whatever it may be, keep it with you, whether physically or mentally, and you will find your goals to be more attainable than expected. More realistic than you originally thought they were. You might actually have a good time jumping the hurdles and dodging the bullets to reach them. And you will feel like a superhero.
With that said, thank you Allison Sens for making me feel like Wonder Woman.
Stay strong and Happy Holidays.