After a winter filled with injury and illness and missing my first two marathons of the year because of it, I found myself sitting very snuggly on what my mother calls the pity pot. I had lost so much fitness. I couldn’t run as fast or as far as I had last fall. I had gained weight. I was at the bottom of the spectrum for training and I knew exactly how hard it would be to work my way back to the top. For the first time in almost twenty years, I seriously thought about giving up on the fitness thing. Without the time I put into working out and training for marathons, my house would be cleaner, I would be more organized and I might even find the time to write more often.
Luckily, I have surrounded myself, both physically and virtually, with inspiring people. People who are in the midst of their spring marathons, training for their summer triathlons and registering for their fall marathons, but still finding the time to encourage the other athletes around them. With their encouragement, I took a deep breath and stood up from the pity pot. I strapped on my running shoes and reminded myself that anything worth having is worth fighting for. Life is an uphill battle. We can either stay at the bottom and be miserable or we can start climbing.
I choose to climb. The first step of my climb always begins with a goal. This year’s goal is to finish the Marine Corps Marathon in under four hours. To be honest, this has been my goal for quite some time. Though I haven’t gotten there yet, each year I get a little closer. I am only seven minutes away and this is the year.
So, I climb. Instead of sitting on that pot, I get up each morning with a plan, with a way to take that next step. Some days I feel like I am climbing a mountain, but having done this before I know what to expect. Having climbed this particular hill I know that there will be weeks when I feel like I could scale Mount Everest and there will be weeks when I feel like I can’t possibly take another step. I know that there will come a time when all I want is for the race to hurry up and be here already and I know that once the race is here and gone, I will be aching for the next one. Most of all I know that when I cross that finish line I will have accomplished something that most people will never accomplish and all of the work I put in will be worth it.
Each step I take between now and October 31 will get me closer to my goal and further from that pity pot, but the best part of this climb, is the feeling it gives me, the strength I find within myself and the knowledge that I am in charge of my health and fitness. The knowledge that the harder I work, the more steps I take up that hill, the more my body gives back to me. And all of this, the training, the pain, the hours taken from other ventures each week, the race itself, all of this or any one part of this is far better than that pity pot.