As I approached this New Year of 2015, I had to stop and think what worked and what didn't work this last year. I did not have a stellar running year, oh I logged the miles, ran the races but I was just not feeling it. I was in the midst of finishing my doctorate, working a full-time and part-time job, and topped it all off with weight gain. There was no more “midnight” candle to burn, just a lump of wax as the residue <lol>.
I was almost ready to take a “running sabbatical” but decided to just step back and re-evaluate the situation. I found the set of goals that I had made myself for 2014 and the priority was school, school, and school. Nothing else mattered and I guess I was a bit angry for I felt that it was all consuming (it was) and it even overtook my running per se, it hijacked my mojo. Once I found the middle ground I started to look at why I run, can I really get better, do I want to get better. As I stated in my previous post I will never be an elite runner for it’s not physically possible BUT I can train to be the best at whatever level I want to become. 2014 Goal Accomplished, I graduated!
Motivation comes in all forms and what works for some does not work for others. For me motivation helps me push for what needs to be accomplished knowing I cannot get to “A” if I do not get started. First and foremost one has to want to do something for “self”, have the desire. Even though some state “I’m doing it because of…” If YOU do not want to do the task, goal, job, etc. it will not happen. Motivation is a state of mind and we all know (at least I do) change your mind/thought process your actions will follow in that direction.
Goals like plans they have to be worked and implemented because they do not happen by themselves. Goals need to be realistically obtainable or they will never come to fruition and one will not succeed. I sit down and take a look at what I want to do and why. What parts of my life will this effect? Is it short term or long term, for a cause, or just something in general. For 2015, I made a list of the things that I wanted to accomplish and ranked them in terms of A-most important, B-middle of the road, and C-whatever was left over. Once everything has been ranked, I step back to see if all of the goals are doable and decide what makes the cut. No need to set goals for the “world” a few will do and keep them in perspective.
Once my goals have been defined, I free write and brainstorm on paper for each of the goals, and then make a flow chart (a list of steps) for that’s just the researcher in me. Free writing allows me to list everything that comes to mind for each of the goals and the flow chart puts them in an ordered, less chaos sequence to follow, a means to an end. I am a visual person and if I see it in writing that allows me to have a point of reference. Also, when things are in writing I tend to commit to it instead of keeping it in my head, again visualization.
Now that the goals have been more or less solidified I determine what is needed to accomplish them. This is where motivation needs to be strong and tough decisions made. If there are habits involved some will need to be broken and new ones established. Keep in mind the hours, days, and months keep moving whether you do something or not. The old saying “time waits for no one”. I tend to picture myself at the starting line of a race; I know the goal so now I have to implement the steps to get there. Just like running you have to maintain a certain pace to finish at a particular time.
Now we all know that life happens more often than not so that is why you need to have a back-up plan to your goals. You do not want to lose sight of the big picture and you do not want to keep starting over, and then you will just quit. Allow yourself to tweak things as you move through the journey for it keeps the stress level down. View goals as a form of self-preservation, a personal challenge, something that allows you to have victory. So get those goals defined, refined, and implemented!
Stress had me in its grip as well as the doctoral program, full-time and part-time work. I was trying to do everything instead of taking care of myself and it began to wear me down, and so it begins.......
I started my running journey at the age of 54 in January of 2012 for I was fat, sick (diabetic), and going downhill fast like a rolling snowball. I got tired of being tired and my brother told me I should start running for he was doing it. Running was for "other people" so I just called myself a jogger at best for I barley was putting one foot in front of the other. I started out with the C25K by running on an indoor track but soon got tired of running in circles. I then decided to venture outside and that was insane for it was at least -5*, windy, and on the lakefront at that.
I kept trudging along just trying to run more than walk and when I finally could run non-stop for about 35 minutes you would had thought I'd won the lottery. I proceeded to find a race that I could do and enrolled in my first 5K, Ravenswood 5K neighborhood race. I was so happy my FIRST legit race and kept chugging away at my training. So, I was fine tuning my running, learning about gear, but did not change my eating habits. I could not understand why I was not losing weight. Running 3 days a week about 10 miles a week coming from zero I should be slimming down, NOT <lol>.
After I completed my 5K race, I decided to get a subscription to several running magazines and do some research for I am a researcher. I really didn't have to do the research for common sense will tell you eat less, eat right, and the weight would slowly go away. Being a diabetic, I have to constantly monitor my blood sugars and make sure that I am eating properly. When stress took over all of that went right out the window and my body could not take it. Therefore, lessons were learned the hard way and eventually I had to learn balance.
As I became more involved with running, I became an avid reader regarding the sport and learning the mechanics. Starting out it is one foot in front of the other but I wanted to dig a bit deeper. I found out about training plans and hence, the Half Marathon was in my sight! I had no idea on how to train for I've never been an athlete at all but I do know how to read and continued to do so. I began to ask those who were more seasoned runners some were helpful some not so much. Again, I went online and found Hal Higdon's training plans and put them into action.
In the beginning, I was running by myself for I didn't know of anybody in my area that ran but found a running club. The runners that belong to this club were much faster than me and I was always left behind so I just started running by myself once again. Next time around I found another group but the inconsistency of days and mileage was again not correct, so I still ended up running alone. As I persevered I finally found a small group of women and we began to train together for various races and trained our way to the Chicago Marathon.
During this time I am in graduate school, working full-time at one job and teaching part-time as well. Finding balance is not one of my strong points <lol> for I feel that I can do anything all the time. I kept the speed switch on "go" all the time and not taking time to wind down. My journey has been interesting, jumbled, and sometimes disappointing but I still manage to run in spite of. Life always has surprises but it was kind enough to show me the pleasures of running.
Running has allowed my to find an inner peace when everything around me is spinning out of control. Running allows me to get centered when my balance is not balanced. Running allows me sort through my problems and dissolve my anger and keep my "insanity" at bay. When I have absolutely nothing else to lean on or to go to I have my Running. I still have my ups and down, lost my mojo this year, gained a lot of weight back, but I still hit the path at 5am, cold, rain, sleet, snow, Ila just goes.
So as you read this you will see I'm just and ordinary woman trying to keep life on an uphill grind. Do note that you can run if you want to. Am I an elite, not even close but I feel like one every time I lace up and run for so many do not move off the couch. If I can run anybody and any body can run. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, paces, various races, etc. I used to run for bling for that is what kept me motivated. Now I run for personal improvement to do better at each race that I do but the bling helps as well. I run for the camaraderie and friendships that I make along the way. I run to let others know that "you too" can do it just look at me. I LOVE TO RUN!!
This is the beginning of a new journey and a new year. I want to shine as a Sponsored Athlete and let people know that RunJunkEs is my badge of honor! Let the good times roll!