I’m not sure if Thoughtful Thursday is a “thing” in the blog world, like “What I Ate Wednesday” or “Friday Favorites,” but I’m going to try to make it a “thing”. I think you would be hard pressed to find a runner who did not consider themselves thoughtful in one way or another. We runners spend a lot of time with our thoughts. Sometimes I feel like I want to sit with my thoughts and ruminate and hug trees. Other times I just want to look at ecards and laugh like a preteen, all Jack Handy style.
I do truly believe in mantras and motivational quotes as cliche and cheesy as they may seem sometimes. I think words have real power. Power to slow us down; to demand reflection and introspection. Words are one of the reasons that I decided to blog in the first place. Spoken words are often thoughtless and unsubstantial, but when we have the time to really choose our words and their purpose, it can cause real change. When I am not running, I spend my days as an English teacher. Every day I try to instill the idea in my students that words can unlock any door standing in their way. I encourage them to choose their words wisely.
A quote that struck me as particularly meaningful this week came in our school’s monthly wellness newsletter.
Churchill was a sage when it came to humanity and life lessons. Do me a favor and Google search his quotes. Yep, pretty cool dude. I digress…
Running for me is a metaphor for life, which is maybe why I like it so much. It requires consistency, perseverance, and honesty (those race times live on the internet for.ev.er). I do think that I would consider myself successful as a runner. I have run a sub 4 marathon (3:45), I have cut my 5k time by 10 minutes, I have raced in several different states and saw some awesome sites. The list could go on. But I do not, by far, believe that I am done succeeding. I have new goals: qualifying for Boston and running a sub 22 minute 5k to name a few. In running, as in life, success has no end point. There is always a PR to be achieved, a destination marathon to run, a general fitness level to attain.
Along with those successes, I have also had my fair share of failures. I signed up to run the Hyner View Trail Challenge (an infamous 16 mile trail race in North Central Pennsylvania) 6 months postpartum. Fail. I ended up donating 50 dollars and sulking because I just simply was not prepared. I ran the Wineglass Marathon last month (one week before my daughter turned one) in 4:11:11. Fail. This was a fail not necessarily because of the time, which was almost a half an hour slower than my first marathon, but because I was never really “in” it. I didn’t push myself, and although I wasn’t in great shape, I was in better shape than the time showed.
But, as Churchill wisely stated, “failure is not fatal.” This sentiment was also pounded into our heads by the words of the sagacious Kelly Clarkson and the incessant playing of her “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” on the radio. Indeed, failure is not the end. I realize now that I needed to take a freakin chill pill about getting back into running so quickly after giving birth. When you are in the trenches, so to speak, with a newborn it sees as if life will never be the same. Heck, I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to leave the couch again let alone run a marathon within a year after giving birth. And yet, I did it. Maybe not as fast as I would have liked to, but I did it and crossed the finish with a smile on my face.
So, I am going to continue to be courageous and put myself out there. I am going to publicly proclaim that I will BQ even though I’m not sure if I can, because I know that they joy is in the journey. Even if my race times are slower, I can now say that I get to be a runner AND a mom, and that fills my heart. In the end life is just a series of successes and failures and it is our perception and reaction to them that dictate our happiness.
What are you thoughtful about this Thursday?
How do you balance running and life?