Some of my running photos from this summer – The Rock N Roll Chicago / Zooma & Mizuno Love Affair
So y’all know that I’m working my way up to my first full marathon, the Route 66 Marathon on November 24th, 2013. I’ve been hitting the gym several times a week (a new thing for me though I’ve been running for a year, I used to hate gyms!) and doing long runs on the weekend. Though I’m totally excited to live my dream of “running the ‘route’” as a Route 66 fan girl, (yes, I actually get the warm fuzzies about the “mother road..I’ll explain), I sometimes feel I won’t make it to the big, scary 26.2.
Here’s the thing- I’ve been running for a little over a year now, and while I have 8 half marathons under my belt, I still suck at running. You know, when you see those awesome weight loss stories of the before-and-afters, where someone lost 100 pounds or they started running at a 15 minute mile but now qualify for Boston? Well, I’m not one of those people.
I have been running for a year, and though so much has changed on the inside, I pretty much look the same outside.
Don’t think I don’t sometimes feel deflated by that. People say I look more fit (yay!) and that I look like I’ve lost weight- but the truth of numbers remains the same, I’m nearly the same on the scale, nearly the same pant size, my pace hasn’t improved and I’m by no means an impressive athlete, I’m just DAMN PERSISTENT.
I think sometimes we feel that when we start running we’re going to look totally different after we hit that 500 mile mark a year later, I sure thought I would. Magazines and diet companies show bodies that are radically different after taking a magic pill or hitting the gym for a few weeks. Even our beloved running magazines laud those folks that lost double digit or triple digit pounds after running- I though, am not one of those people and I won’t be.
I ain’t fast, I ain’t skinny and though my dream is to be featured in Women’s Running Magazine, it won’t be for radical weight loss or amazing triumph of pace.
Here’s the deal- sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers of what your doing, or to stare at your mirror reflection as the only marker of progress. I still huff and puff my way through half marathons and I’m not much faster (sometimes not at all if it’s cold outside and I can’t breathe) but there is a ton of change that is swelling inside- that is what keeps me going.
I keep running towards this marathon in November because it feels right, because oddly enough, I like to see what my body can do. I like to prove to my 13 year old self that gym class isn’t all there is to fitness and just because you were a geek growing up doesn’t mean you can’t be an athlete now. I want to know what it feels like to cross new distances and feel the weight of a marathon medal around my neck. I don’t want to add years to my life, I want to add life to my years. Running won’t always make you healthier (there are days it feels like I got zapped of energy, sore all over or my knee is aching, or heck, I’m just anti-running some mornings!) but it adds life to the years you have.
I think this experience equates to whatever goal we’re setting- if you’re paying down debts, saving up for a house or making a huge life change around fitness, finance or weeding out bad habits (or heck, people) in your life, the progress isn’t always apparent. It’s easy to feel totally disappointed when you’re not going to LOOK like a typical success story, but in your gut, you know you are one. That’s the quiet progress of life, at times, you have to trudge on in the direction you know is right, knowing fully that the journey your on isn’t newsworthy but it is still worthy- it is still soul stirringly good and it’s worth telling.
Sometimes, doing something big is totally anti-glamorous. It’s sweaty, tiresome, difficult, gritty and sometimes, quite frankly- boring. Giving up the perpetual drama of simply being a dreamer and getting down to work at it is not very exciting, nor can it be summed up in a fun movie-style music accompanied montage. It’s daily, it is grinding and sometimes, progress is slow. You can’t see outer change you just have to trust it’s happening in the great tumult of a developing soul.
In no way is this a negative post- but it’s an honest one for any of us currently working on or thinking of undertaking something big and personal for ourselves. There will be good days and bad days, but as they say- “a bad run is better than no run.” So even a bad day paying off your debts, working on your degree, saving up for a wedding or learning to eat clean will leave you sometimes frustrated, but it’s still progress at your pace.
By the way, I *need* this shirt, it just cracks me up… humor=also important when working on big goals:
So if you’re feeling discouraged, or your progress won’t make headlines- it’s still important and you are still kicking serious tush. I don’t care what you’re working on, you can join me as we turtle-it towards the finish line of any goal we have. We so got this.
Also, just a wee-little favor… could you vote for Frugal Beautiful for Best Frugality Blog and Blog of the Year? Clicking here to vote will automatically enter my URL in those two categories, so you’ll just have to pop your name in and hit “Nominate.”
This is my third year attending the Financial Blogger Conference and my second year speaking, I’d be humbled and honored to take home a blogging trophy, since, we all know I am not winning top prizes for my running times, ha! Thank you!