I’m a lot like my dad. Well, at least when it comes to some things. Growing up I spent many weekends driving to races, making poster board signs of encouragement, and planning out a detailed map of a race route, perfectly timed to arrive there based on his estimated pacing for that mile marker. At every race I watched, I couldn’t help but get goosebumps of excitement as I waited to watch my dad pass by. I admired him and all the fellow runners by his side as I witnessed them each achieving something great. Most of these races were marathons and I watched in amazement as I thought about all the time and hard work each individual had put into making this moment a reality. My dad didn’t often share my positive sentiment when we met him at the finish line. I can’t even count the number of races where I would approach him, after accomplishing a huge feat such as a 3 hour 30 minute marathon (or faster) and he would shake his head, disappointed in himself for some reason I could never understand. From my perspective he was a hero, someone I greatly admired. But to him, he was discouraged, disappointed that he hadn’t felt better, that his legs had cramped up at mile 18, that he hadn’t run faster, that he hadn’t beat a previous time. I always felt a bit sad and somewhat shocked at that moment. I couldn’t wrap my head around how he could train for all those months, complete something that most people don’t even attempt to do, and somehow at the end of it not be bursting with pride.
I didn’t know if I should sign up for the race. There would be no way I could keep up with her. She was faster than me. She was younger than me. She only had two kids. She slept through the night. She was injury free. She had more time in her schedule. How could I compete with that? And yet, I knew part of me would still want to try. Part of me would still expect that even though she had so many less obstacles standing in her way, part of me would desire to be able to keep up with her. These were my thoughts as I wrestled with signing up for the Cheshire Half Marathon a few weeks back. A friend was running it and she had asked if I would sign up as well. I can be too competitive, sometimes to a fault, and knowing myself, I knew that if I couldn’t keep up I would finish the race and be disappointed. As these thoughts crossed my mind, memories of my dad’s races flashed through my head. I realized that I was being just like him. Was I worried about keeping up with my friend? A little. But in all honesty my main concern wasn’t Angela, it was keeping up with Holly Bannon, age 29. The woman who had only two kids, more time for training, faster runs, longer mileage and a PR on this very race course years back. I thought back to those moments with my dad at the finish line and decided that I needed to see myself the way I saw him. I needed to appreciate the fact that while my circumstances are different now, that I might not be as fast as I used to be, I am fortunate to be able to complete the race, and that I need to appreciate these moments while I am still able to have them.
I went into the race with a new mindset, with no overly specific goal and with constant reminders to enjoy myself no matter what the results. It ended up being the most fun I’ve ever had during a race, and no, it wasn’t the fastest. But when I crossed the finish line I did so with an appreciation for the work that led me to that point and the knowledge that any goal that is achieved is worth celebrating.
So whether you are working towards a goal, new or old, we hope we can be there to fuel your fitness and your path.
Cheers to new mindsets!