I had a freaking FANTASTIC race this weekend. I’m not even going to try and be humble about it because I’m not just some naturally gifted athlete, I can’t just wake up and have an awesome performance without a ton of work – so I’m going to tout my 1:48:36 ALL AROUND TOWN like it’s going out of style. That race hurt, it was hard, I had to tell myself to stop finding reasons WHY it was going to be a bad race. Then I locked it in, believed in all the work I’ve been putting in, and laid down another sub 2 hour half marathon.
Then Facebook tossed this gentle reminder in my face today. 9 years ago, I ran my second half marathon ever, the same Wine Country Half that I just had an epic PR at. Here’s the interesting part about that race…I was running almost a 12 minute/mile pace. Saturday, I ran an 8:10 pace. Looking back at that “old me” I couldn’t help but pause – I’ve come a long way in a long time.
This got me thinking about how easy it is for us to want to see results quickly, and how so many of us get discouraged when we’re not constantly improving. How many times have you seen or heard promises of drastic weigh tloss in a short time frame, or increased fitness results in another short period of time?
I look at these two half marathons with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. While I also feel stronger than I did then, I was far more proud of getting my pace down by over 3.5 minutes/mile. HOLY COW!! I think we’re often so caught up in the need for short term satisfaction and success that if it doesn’t happen, we can get disappointed and give up. I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to not be getting faster even though I was putting the work in. It took time (apparently almost a decade), effort, and refinement of approach to finally get there, and 9 years later, I’m finally racing a half marathon at a pace I only dreamed of when I first started running.
The great part, was that the rest of our Alaris runners also had a great race. Many of them are super new to running, and are still experiencing what it’s like to have to work really hard for what feels like a tiny amount of progress. But progress, even 10 seconds faster, is progress nonetheless. We need to reward ourselves for EVERY small accomplishment, and not get caught up in believing that we’re only progressing when we have HUGE PRs. Most of time you’re going to have to claw your way to something small, but you should celebrate that.
What I’m trying to tell you is to not give up on your goals, even when you feel like you’ll never get there. I am so excited for what my future self is capable of, now that I’m able to look back and see how far I’ve come. I hope we all can take a few minutes to see where we’ve come, and grant ourselves the patience to believe in what we can be.