It’s all about the journey – all 13.1 miles of it.
I’ve been noticing that sometimes we get so caught up in finishing a task or accomplishing a goal, we miss out on all the good stuff in-between. I often witness my clients getting impatient and growing frustrated when things don’t turn out perfectly the first time.
I totally get it. And, it’s awesome. Because that’s exactly when good things start to happen.
It reminds me of when I ran my first half marathon last February. It was terrible! It was so bad that when I received the professional photos a few weeks later, I immediately filed them in the archives never to be seen again. Yikes!
I started training for it in September. Although I used to run pretty regularly, I had never run more than 3 miles a day. I knew that running a race was going to be different so I did a little research. I found a suitable schedule, recruited my neighbor to join me on the long runs each weekend, and even met up with a few local running groups along the way.
In just a couple of months, I started to feel better and more confident in running. I began to eat healthier and lost a few pounds. And you know me, I didn’t miss an opportunity to shop! I invested in some new running shoes and shorts. I was suddenly motivated to do better.
Halfway through the training, I decided to get a practice race under my belt. I registered to run the 10k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. It was pouring rain that morning and there wasn’t much of a turnout. There was nobody there cheering anyone one on. In fact, when I crossed the finish line, the crew was already dismantling the booths and packing up the truck.
It was pretty anti-climatic, but I didn’t care. I threw up my hands and yelled out “Woohoo!” as I crossed the finish line. A few crew members glanced over to make sure I wasn’t calling for help. Other than that I didn’t receive any acknowledgement unless you count the t-shirt they handed out at check-in. It was included with my $35 entry fee.
So I walked myself home with the satisfaction that I had run a 10k in 1 hour flat. I was feeling pretty confident the half marathon would be a piece of cake.
Boy, was I wrong! It turned out to be a classic case of, “I don’t know what I don’t know.” Unlike the turkey trot, nearly 16,000 people had shown up to run. The street was packed. From the time we started until the time we finished, I was filled with road rage and regret. Some people were walking. Some people were stopping abruptly in front of me to take selfies. It was worse than trying to maneuver a Winnebago with a boat trailer in a Trader Joe’s parking lot after work on a Tuesday.
I had completely worn myself out by mile 8, visited the medical tent to apply generous amounts of IcyHot on my aching legs, and finished the race with another t-shirt, a medal, a little bit of a limp, and a whole lot of disappointment.
As I slowly and painfully made my way back to the car, I realized that the race wasn’t nearly as important as the journey had been. I had spent months improving my health, enjoying the outdoors, and making friends. The race was just a one-day event, a milestone in a bigger plan.
So I’m doing it again, but this time I’m applying what I’ve learned and doing it on my own terms.
This time it’s all about the journey. Of course, as I approach my desired outcome of successfully running that 13.1 miles sans aggravation and limp, I am planning a milestone celebration with The Boyfriend. It will consist of a delicious hamburger, a short nap, and a few hours of binge-watching Netflix while my body recovers.
And who knows, I might treat myself to a custom t-shirt from Etsy.
Although I didn’t do as well as I had hoped in my first half marathon, I’m glad I did it. The best part was all the good stuff I had to do to get there. Just like my clients, sometimes I get impatient and grow frustrated when things don’t turn out perfectly, but I try again…and again…and each time I try to play better. I may literally rush to a finish line, but I’m not going to miss out on all the fun on the way.