After Phoenix I’ve been taking some time to reflect on my experience not only there but in the last four years that I’ve considered myself an endurance athlete. Running, triathlon, P90X , Pilates – the theme across all four years is that I like to:
1) Try new things
2) Set goals & work toward achieving them
3) Build community through fitness
Sometimes I’m focusing on one more heavily than the others, but in general, those are the main motivators for my continued interest in fitness and running.
Trying New Things
Since starting this blog three years ago I’ve had a lot of firsts:
- Olympic triathlon
- Half Ironman
- Obstacle race
- 15k race
- 10k race
- Trail Run
- Hot yoga class
- Ragnar Race
- Barre Class (three different ones)
- Pilates Class
- Heavy weight lifting routine
I really like change. It’s bizarre as I am actually quite Type A and I LOVE to plan. But I also like to plan new things….if that makes sense. I get bored easily and like to challenge myself with new adventures. It’s also a double edged sword – while my curiosity and desire to seek adventure is usually a good thing, it can also make me quite antsy and alwasy wondering WHATS NEXT?! instead of enjoying the journey. I know that enjoying things ‘as is’ or as a ‘work in progress’ is definitely something I need to work on. Luckily, fitness goals constantly allowing me to plan the next big thing.
Setting Goals & Working Toward Achieving Them
When I was an endurance newbie, I set goals and knocked them out of the park on a regular basis. Break 2 hours in a half marathon – smash! Break 1:55 – yahoo! Didn’t even mean to and did! Run a sub 3:50 marathon – kapow! Finish an Ironman – Yesssss! However, the quick gains I made in the beginning started to slow. I realized that NOT every race is a PR by experience my first non-PR EVER at the AFC half marathon in 2012.
I also realized in at AFC in 2013 – I don’t like to run races for “fun”. And that’s because usually when I ran a race for fun it meant that I hadn’t trained enough and I just wanted to run it to run it. To me, a fun race is a race that I train hard for and feel good about the outcome – even if it doesn’t mean I met my goal. I’ve had a few races where I have fallen short of a goal yet still feel good because I trained hard and gave it my all – others where I’ve fallen short and been disappointed but not devastated.
Building Community Through Fitness
Setting and achieving goals and trying new things is what got me started in fitness but it’s really the community that holds it all together. It started with joining the VAVI run club to train for my 3rd half marathon, continued with joining the Triathlon Club of San Diego during Ironman training, was strengthened by group rides, runs and swims with Team WODS (my best friend and her fiancé, & my husband who all trained for IM CDA together), and held all together by this blog.
I have found so much joy out of this blog and what it has brought me. It has connected me to so many fellow athletes across the globe who are going through the same things as me. I learn from them, cry with them and laugh with them. My participation in the Oiselle team has been absolutely amazing and has created even more joy where running is concerned. I have met great friends who I have met “in real life” and now have strong friendships with (Page!). While so many friends and family at home don’t understand acronyms like PR, BQ, LT, MAF, and HR and wonder why I wake up at 3:15 a.m. to run 26.2 miles, I have a community of individuals who I can relate with.
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to every person who supported and also consoled me before, during and after the Phoenix Marathon. To many, falling short of a marathon goal doesn’t make sense, but my fellow runners understand. While I’m still brushing myself off, I’m on my way up and your kind words are a huge part of that.
No race will define me. No BQ, no PR and no training run will make me a good person, a good runner, or a good friend. I am who I am, BQ or not. Running will always make me happy because it allows me to experience new adventures, meet new friends and continually push myself to my limits. No race can take that away from me.
Why do you run?