2018 was a very messy year, and I don’t think I’m alone in saying that. As I reflect and think back to January of this year, I had an opportunity to attend a leadership workshop where our instructor had us set a one-word theme for the year. Running my first marathon was just a few short weeks away so naturally, the word fearless came to mind.
So as I made my way to the start line, with a head full of fears about so many things ranging from would I be able to finish? And also anticipating what kind of hell is this year going to put me through, knowing this could be a life-changing year. For more on that check out the blog post on my first marathon. But something so small as writing down that one word, kept it forefront when I needed it the most. In my mind, I switched gears, was so grateful to be in Surf City, put trust in all the hours I spent training for this very moment and fearlessly went for a 26.2-mile run.
When I did cross that finish line, I definitely felt like I could take on anything after that, but it still didn’t mean I wanted to. Life seemed unfair to be dealt this stack of cards. Why me? What will happen when we get back? Maybe this is the rock bottom anticipated before things turning entirely around for the better? Deep down, although deep down I knew better. When we returned I had to be fearless after I heard the news that my SO had maybe 4 to 6 months to live. I had already heard this once in 2011, so I was stuck between feeling like the last 7 years was a time debt that had reached its limit, or maybe he could pull out of it again, and there would be many years of greatness ahead. I always knew we were on borrowed time since 2011, and while his closest friends, family and myself wished he would have made changes to live healthier, it wasn't up to us. It would've had to be his decision alone. Think about it, how much success do you have with goals, when you pursue them for other people and put yourself on the back of the list?
Change happens from within on your terms
Sadly this was it, time to say goodbye forever and how could I ever find anything positive in having to do that? But I forced myself to and what I saw was very slim but mighty. In flipping my perspective of this situation, I did see some things to be grateful for such as actually being able to say goodbye. How many people lose loved ones suddenly, without that option? I was also glad I had a journey through marathon training first. All those miles help set your mind up to face life’s pain causing obstacles. Don’t get me wrong, it still sucks, hurts and is totally unfair if you ask me. But I’m learning to live with that, and am slowly evolving into a stronger person from it. Just like there are sore and tired muscles in training that you have to teach your mind how to deal with it to get faster or run longer.
The outcome of pain is
Reflecting on my running accomplishments, this year I successfully completed my first full marathon, then went on to PR (2:06) a half marathon in the middle of the year, was a no-show to a half marathon I had planned to run in October and committed one of the running sins for a half I ran in November. But how else would you run a race in Vegas, right!? I'm such a rebel, sometimes!
Obsessing with running, or anything for that matter. Don’t get so obsessed with running that that is all you are doing to achieve fitness. Sure to become a great runner you must obviously run a lot, but it’s essential to balance running with other dimensions of fitness such as strength and flexibility. Oh, and you need rest, DO NOT skip rest days. While it may sound counterintuitive, resting is where you build up from all the breaking down running does to you.
Adding too many miles, too soon (another life lesson in disguise). Let’s face it running, is a tough sport and gravity is working against you and all of the precious joints in your body especially in places like your ankles and knees. The human body is amazing and can adapt to running many miles, but you have to have patience and give it time to adjust.
Avoiding the weight room like the plague, because you might put on muscle weight. Strong muscles help you sustain all of that running and keep you healthy or injury free. Sure you might gain some lean mass, but that’s just going to make you a more powerful force as your feet glide more effortlessly against the pavement.
Running should not hurt. Yes, running is hard, and sometimes your muscles will be sore during and after running. However, it’s critical that you make sure you are not ever running through anything that just plain hurts. Even if the pain stops after mile one or two, you need to get to the root of what is causing that pain. When we run our bodies release a lot of neurotransmitters that act as pain relievers so in a sense you are under the influence of these and may think things are ok but could be putting yourself at risk for an overuse injury. Stop, rest, do some cross training, or get it checked out before you keep chasing running goals.
Never wear brand new sneaks to any major race of any distance if you are putting your body to the test, so if you’re traveling don’t forget your shoes! The event itself will be enough to leave you sore, and wearing a pair of kicks that hasn’t been broken in doesn’t do your feet any favors. I’m speaking from experience in my last race at the Rock N Roll Vegas half marathon. Last minute decided to wear the tye dye series shoes I picked up at the expo. I guess it was my idea of gambling and YOLO!
It was a painful run in sin city, but it wasn’t the first time my feet have suffered for a pair of shoes during a night out in the city. At least I came home with some bling!
Exercise physiologist aka: fitness Geek, loves running and being adventures. marathon & sprint tri finisher. music and veggie fanatic
Nancy Flock is a wellness enthusiast that's crazy about running, veggies, animals and living life to the fullest.