Taking a New Perspective

After returning home from the Phoenix marathon with what I felt was a disappointing performance, I decided to take some time to look back on my training, look back at my habits, and consider my next steps.  At the time, I really did not know what that meant exactly – my next steps.  I seriously doubted my abilities, my confidence was gone, and my spirit was broken.  My quest for the 4:00 marathon seemed to be getting further and further from my reach.  I began to feel just as I had in years past regarding my weight.  Many failed attempts to lose the weight, and each time, ending up heavier than before I started.  It’s a defeating feeling, and a very dark place to live in. 

It’s now been about 3 weeks since the marathon and I’ve had a chance to step back and evaluate the situation.  There is definitely a correlation between losing weight and trying to run a 4 hour marathon.  In each situation I set a goal, and didn’t meet the goal, several times.  Both presented some external factors, that I had no control over, as well as several that I did have control of.  However, I do believe that each time I have not been successful in meeting my goal, whether it be weight loss or running, I’ve walked away learning something new about myself.  So what are my “take-aways” this time?  Well, number one, I acknowledge the fact that while I may have tried several times to lose weight, without success, I did ultimately achieve my goal and lose the weight.  It didn’t happen overnight.  Some weeks I gained, some weeks I hit a plateau.  But I kept working at it, and I made it happen.  I used those experiences to drive me to the place I most wanted to be.  And ultimately, that’s what I will do again with my running.  I won’t be hanging up my sneakers any time soon!  Instead, I’m making some changes and trying to look at this situation from a new perspective.  Yes, there will be bumps in my road, challenges to face, and I will need to work hard.  Looking back to where I have been, I am proud of where I am today.  I was not an athlete, heck I couldn’t even run the mile in school.  I spent my time watching episodes of Saved by the Bell and eating boxes of Twinkies and gallons of ice cream (butter brickle was my favorite!).  Today, I am an 11 time marathon finisher living a healthy life.  Sure, there’s always room for progress, but I have a new appreciation of all that I have already accomplished. 

So what’s next for me?  I have a few half marathons planned for the spring/summer, and will plan to run a fall full.  I’ve already been working on making some changes that I believe will put me in a better position to be successful in reaching my goal.  I went in to the Phoenix marathon under-trained and over-trained all at the same time.  How you might ask?  Well, I did a whole lot of the wrong kind of running.  A cold brutal winter kept me inside for most of my long (and short) runs.  I worked a grueling schedule and didn’t get enough sleep.  My diet had gotten sloppy and my training lacked quality.  So here’s what I’m working and focusing on this summer:

  1. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Eliminate all processed foods and eat a clean diet.
  3. Spend more time focusing on recovery (eating foods that promote recovery and reduce inflammation, Epsom salt baths, massages, rest days).
  4. Attend a yoga class once a week to work on flexibility, core strength and breathing.
  5. Revamp the training plan to include specific paces for each run, and each run shall have a distinct purpose.
  6. Run the majority of my runs outside (this will improve my breathing economy and endurance on hills)
  7. I will be more present in my mindset and not just go through the motions.

I know there is a possibility that even in making these changes, I may not reach my goal.  It’s a possibility with any goal we set, but, nothing risked, nothing gained! 

Have you faced challenges in meeting goals?  How did you overcome the obstacles? 

6 thoughts on “Taking a New Perspective

  1. Love your perspective! I think your focus sounds really good. Sleep is so critical! It’s one of those things that I won’t give up even though I know I don’t get as much done as other people who stay up all night. But I hope what I do get done is quality. Yoga will be a very nice compliment to your running.

    • You are so right! Sleep is just as important as all the other things we tend to focus more on. Without quality sleep, the workouts suffer, out work suffers, etc. thanks for the comment!

  2. Tracey, what a FABULOUS post! Your honesty is touching, and much appreciated. Sometimes we get so caught up in a goal, we forget how far we’ve truly come! So always remember to take a few steps back!
    I am iN LOVE with your number seven – no more going through the motions.
    All your talks of goals in this post makes me think of a book I am just beginning to read, that deals with setting goals, and how too big of goals sets us up for failure. It’s called “One Small Step can Change your Life – The Kaiezen Way” by Robert Maruer, I suggest you looking it up 🙂

  3. I think the fact that you are a self-made athlete is something in and of itself to be incredibly proud of. The fact that you trained for and ran a marathon at all is amazing! That is such a hard thing to do! However, I also know what it’s like to set goals for yourself and keep setting the bar higher and higher, forgetting how far you’ve come to start with. It’s a frustrating place to be when you don’t meet the goals, but maybe it’s just a chance to re-evaluate where you, what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. It’s a chance to see what’s working and what isn’t, and we all have those moments. You’re still a rockstar to me for running a marathon at all!

    • Alex you are absolutely right! Sometimes all we need is to step back and re-evaluate, and gain sight of the bigger picture again!

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