Race Day started out cool and comfortable. Standing at the Cabrillo Monument before the start of the race with several of my training partners, I had my race strategy in place. My goal was purely to finish the race and KNOW that I could take on 13.1 miles at 55 years old. And I KNEW what I needed to do to meet my goal. I had to be hyper aware of everything going on in my body and make sure that I addressed any little issue that could take me out of the race. As someone who’s spent a lifetime avoiding pain of any kind, I knew that even the smallest issue could knock me off my goal.
As I watched the sun rise over the San Diego bay waiting for the race to begin, I felt an unexpected sense of calm and determination, and it made me laugh. Just 24 hours prior, I was curled up in a ball in a hotel room with food poisoning. And the 3 weeks prior to the race, I wasn’t able to train at all due to a leg injury. I laughed because my journey here seemed so improbable. Everything imaginable stood between this moment and me. I thought of all the stories I’ve told myself in my head about how “I’m not good enough”, and “I don’t have what it takes” and “I’m not athletic”… and all the other stories we tell ourselves to hold ourselves back.
And then the gun went off. And all the stories and the strategies are left in the dust of the starting line. And the only thing between the finish line and me was the hot sun, the pounding pavement, and my determination!
3 hours and 58 minutes later, I crossed that finish line. More tired than I’ve ever been in my life, but also more prouder of myself than EVER. I set a big goal that seemed almost impossible for me to even imagine. And I did it!
And then, just as quick as crossing that line the race is over, I’m back at the hotel swapping stories with my race-mates… packing up and heading on to San Francisco for a couple of days of business…
Isn’t that how it goes in life? You prepare for months for a big event. It comes and you dig deep and do what you have to do to make it happen. You take a few brief minutes to feel the glory of accomplishing a monumental feat… And then life goes on… you rapidly shift your mental gears… you look ahead to the next big mountain of your life to climb… you pack your bags… and you pick your next goal… and you mentally dig in to start the climb… Only now, I am smarter… and stronger… and more determined.
I’m smarter because I understand that I didn’t get here without a team. From my coach who taught me how to run… to my training partners who encouraged me to keep going… to my health coach who taught me to work with my body to heal… to the chiropractor who taught me how to improve my technique… to all the countless other runners I passed along my training route who inspired me with their dedication… and even an 80 year old woman in the race who walked it in record time… I’m smarter now because I realize that coaching and comrades is the key to success!
Each goal I accomplish only makes it that much easier to set my next objective… put my strategy in place… and climb my next hill.
What’s your next big goal? And what kind of team do you need in place to help you achieve it? Put your comments in the box below.