On September 7 I ran the Chicago Half Marathon, my fourth 13.1 mile race. In 2011 I ran my first Chicago half, and in 2013, due to an odd set of circumstances, I ran two; Chicago, as well as the Christie Clinic Half in Champaign, IL.
My hope is that in sharing a bit of my 2014 race journey here, you’ll find INSPIRATION to set and reach your own health goals – by ‘P’ing on them.
‘P’ersistence pays off, perfection doesn’t exist.
My goal – Three training runs per week; 3-5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday, and a long run (distance determined by where I was in my training schedule) on Saturday or Sunday.
My reality – Some weeks those Tuesday and Thursday runs wouldn’t budge above 3 miles, as my work (or sleep) schedule left too little time to get in the full distance I aimed for.
‘P’ on it – Even on days when I knew my actual run would fall short of my goal, I ran. The ‘P’ersistence and consistency of running week in and week out, regardless of the distance, is what continually moved me forward.
‘P’erspective determines outcome.
My goal – Head into each run feeling rested, strong and prepared to do the distance required.
My reality – On Sunday, July 6, 2014 my scheduled run was 9 miles. Two days earlier I’d run the Glen Ellyn “Freedom Four” 4 mile race – a hilly course that I look forward to every year. I ran it fast. Thanks to perfect weather and consistent training, I felt strong, the run felt effortless. Fast forward 48 hours to Sunday, where my run followed the beautiful Chicago lakefront. I HATED every, single, step. I never felt rested, I didn’t feel strong, and I slogged agonizingly through all 9 miles.
‘P’ on it – I could have quit, feeling like I wasn’t making progress, but that was simply my perspective, not the reality. In truth, I needed more recovery time, but I was tied to my training schedule and not listening to my body. Changing my ‘P’erspective reminded me there was a valid reason for my tortuous experience, which in the end I found strangely comforting.
Create “I’m ‘P’ossible” out of impossible.
My goal – Run 13.1 miles in under 2:20.
My reality – 13 miles is a LONG distance. The next time you drive 13 miles, pay attention to just how far it is! If before I signed up for my first half marathon I’d focused only on the total distance, I could easily have second guessed my ability. But I’d already run a 10 mile race that same year (what’s 3 more miles?!), and lots of people – including people I actually knew – ran 13 miles. Having a frame of reference helped.
‘P’ on it – I created “I’m ‘P’ossible” out of impossible. By taking an objective look, breaking the race down in my mind to one, single mile at a time, and consistently adding bit by bit each week, I knew I could do it – and that the timing would take care of itself.