Finishing is winning!

Have you ever worked towards an objective where at first your goal is perfection but for whatever reason switches to simply completing said objective? If so, you are and I are alike.

Granted I don’t try to make a habit of such situations since I strive to deliver great results to whatever I do but I do have lapses. Case in point, I ran the Smuttynose Rockest half-marathon in New Hampshire this past weekend and truth be told, the idea of perfection went out the window weeks ago.

Super tired pre-race me
Super tired pre-race me

20 weeks ago or so I decided to shake off graduate school exercise rust by signing up to run, and therefore meticulously train for, the half-marathon. In life there are many ways to cut corners and come out ahead but with long-distance running that just isn’t, or shouldn’t be, the case. To my own detriment, I cheated and won. Not good.

In this particular case, I began my training one week prior to the actual race. The last-minute schedule I completed was to run 4 miles one day, 6 the next, 3 the next, two rest days, 2 miles the day before the race and, of course, 13.1 the day of. Having run a few races in my past, I knew I was capable but even for me, this was a bit extreme. I did read in Runner’s World that if you can run 3 miles, you are capable of running a half-marathon but I know this isn’t what was meant.

Perhaps it is because I, like many of us, am afraid to fail. At times I find myself adding obstacles to success in order to provide excuses for failure thus priming impressive success or simply a crutch. Do you ever do the same thing?

Anyway, to compound the poor training, I was not able to sleep a wink the night before. Just by forcing myself to eat, drink coffee and shower when it was 5:45 a.m. did I decide to actually go through with it. Most of me was scared but that little part of me that likes added challenges was quietly thrilled.

I was able to run the half-marathon in 2 hours, easily a personal worst, but it was in many ways my most successful run. I ran non-stop, didn’t get injured and overcame the poor training, sleep deprivation and rain. Another way to put it is that I am a lucky idiot.

Sore though am 48 hours later, I am happy to have gone through with it but I am worried that I didn’t learn my lesson. If I could pull this off, what else can I get away with? Procrastination is one thing and being able to overcome challenges is another but a lesson learned is a lesson remembered.

One key takeaway is, as my favorite race day sign said, sometimes ‘Finishing Is Winning!.’ It took everything I had to run this half-marathon that, though completed, was never easy. Sometimes just getting through it is the lesson and knowing you can dig deep and power on is how you grow.

I am stubbornly stupidly proud of myself for my race day accomplishment since I learned a bit about myself but my goal, my hope, my drive is to prepare to win and not simply to finish.

Waaaay tired and wet but done.
Waaaay tired and wet but done.

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