For most of my life, I’ve been afraid. Afraid of challenge, afraid of hurting, afraid of failing, afraid of disappointing. The thought of being uncomfortable or of failing was paralyzing, and I never allowed myself the opportunity to try anything outside of my comfort zone. I missed out on countless adventures, learning opportunities, and fun times because of this fear. I ended up overweight, unhealthy, and unhappy. But that all changed when I went through graduate school at the age of 36, with three young children and an active duty military spouse who was deployed for months at a time. Although it was a busy and difficult two years, I learned to crave all of the challenges that came my way. Managing my own school schedule and clinical rotations along with keeping up with my three children and their schedules, while managing a household on my own for weeks or months at a time was exceptionally difficult, but I did it! I realized then how empowering it is to face a challenge head on and come through it a stronger person. As I was nearing the end of graduate school, I knew I needed to find a new personal challenge to keep this momentum going. I needed something that I could do on my own, just for me. On a whim, I signed up for a half marathon, having never run anything longer than a couple of miles before!
My goal for that race was simple. Cross the finish line. Goal met. With each successive training cycle, I would set a new goal. A half marathon in under two hours? Goal met. A PR? Goal met. Run a marathon in under 5 hours? Goal met. But my big running goal….the one that always felt so unattainable…the one I felt like I’d always be chasing but never catch…run a BQ. A time that would qualify me for the Boston Marathon. Hold that thought…
While chasing this seemingly unattainable goal of running a BQ, I was also chasing another goal…a weight loss goal. Having topped out at nearly 200 pounds in 2010, I finally decided that I was worthy of being healthy. I finally got so sick and tired of the way I looked and felt that I knew something had to change. At first, my goal was simple. Lose weight. But I very quickly learned that it wasn’t enough…I had to be more specific. My fist goal was simple. Lose 10% of my body weight. A pound here and a pound there, two steps forward and one step back. Detours, road blocks, disappointments, successes, frustrations, all of it. But my end goal…125 pounds, size 6. Believe me, when you start out at almost 200 pounds and a size 18, that goal seems completely unattainable. But I knew I needed to try. For me. But with every pound that comes off, a little bit of confidence is added on.
Side by side, these goals have worked together. As my running became a more important part of my life, my diet improved. I mean, I don’t want to run 5 miles and burn all of that fat, then undo all of that hard work by eating it back. As my weight dropped, my running times improved. Coincidence? I think not.
So it would only make sense that both of these LONG TERM GOALS would be met in the same month.
On October 7, 2018, I ran 3:45:00 at the Chicago Marathon, qualifying me to enter the 2020 Boston Marathon. On October 31, 2018, I stepped on the scale in the morning to a reading of 125.0 pounds.
Did my life become magical and perfect? Oh, not even close. Did I feel different, accomplished, athletic? Not really. While I felt incredibly happy, I honestly felt a little…well…lost.
I mean, If I’ve met my goals, in the works for soooo long, what do I work for now? What do I have to fight for? What do I have to work towards?
If I’ve learned anything about myself in the last 7 years, it’s this. I NEED A GOAL. Not just any goal, but a clear goal--a SMART goal--and a plan to chase it down. Another thing I have learned? I AM CAPABLE. I AM WORTHY. I AM DETERMINED. I have the skills and the knowledge and the grit to go after what I want. I know that I need help and inspiration and motivation along the way, and I know who I can turn to for it. A couple of weeks ago, I felt lost. No direction. But now I realize that the end of one goal is only the start of a new goal. Time to up the ante, so to speak. So…my new goals? It’s a little early for 2019 goals, but I’m not gonna wait, I’m gonna go for it!
Run a 1:42 half marathon Run a 3:38 marathon Complete my first 70.3 Ironman
Complete Level 2 RRCA training
Increase strength by doing strength training 3x week
Will I meet all of these goals in 2019? I have no way of knowing. But you’d better believe I’m going to chase down these goals with all that I have until I’ve crushed them!
I’d love to hear your goals…whether or not they are fitness related! Do you want help writing a goal? I’d love to help you! I’m always here <3
Thanks for reading. Now go out and crush that goal!