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Pep-Talk Tuesday: Keep Looking Forward

by John on April 12th, 2011

Time for another meme: Pep-Talk Tuesdays. I just needed something today to make myself not be discouraged as I start swimming and not freak out that I have a fucking marathon in 2 & a half weeks.

A year ago, at this time, I was nervous about making my goal. The previous winter, a friend from high school asked for people to run the “Race for the Cure” with her. She wanted a workout partner, but more than that, she wanted somebody who wouldn’t back out at the last minute. Simply, somebody who would keep her honest.

I lived 3 hours away, there was no chance I’d be able to train with her. But, we’d be able to watch each other’s progress over Facebook, we’d be able to encourage each other, and we’d run that 5k together.

She ran on a treadmill, I ran outside. We ran and ran and ran and ran. We compared notes. We were both convinced the other would leave us in the dust.

The day of the 5k, our mission was clear. Don’t let the other person stop running. Just keep going, just keep going, just keep going. Right after the halfway point, I started thinking “why even bother, it’s not going to hurt anything if we just walk for a little bit,” but Megan was running, and, therefore, I was running to. Soon after that, she started talking about hitting the wall, so I slowed down to show her that I wasn’t going to leave her. We finished the 5k (it was near impossible to determine our time), relieved.

That was a year ago. And now I’ve just started the “taper” period before my second marathon – I ran 19 miles last Sunday. I’ll run somewhere between 13 & 15 this weekend. I likely won’t have a single run of more than 6 miles outside of that. But, there’s no way that I’d be where I am right now if it wasn’t for this single event.

It’s really amazing to think that I needed to work my ass off in order to get myself running 3.1 miles, a run that I can just “up & do” these days. Now, I’m swimming. Struggling to make it four consecutive lengths of the pool without stopping to catch my breath.

I think back on my early training sessions before the first 100km bike ride that I (successfully) completed (because the first I rode, while I managed to finish, was hardly successful). It’s so easy to lose sight that you’re making progress. Whatever you’re doing, as long as you’re doing, you’re making yourself better.

I need to remind myself of this – and fretting about the upcoming marathon is a near perfect place for this to happen. I’ve absolutely rocked, getting myself this far . . . I don’t usually toot my own horn (I really think that “toot my own horn” is a great euphemism for masturbation and we really need to get people to start using it), but going from barely running to knowing I’ll complete my second marathon, in a year, is really something that I should be proud of myself for.

Now, as I struggle in the pool, I need to keep this all in mind – swimming is going to become more & more like second nature to me. I keep on saying that an Iron Man is out of reach, but it’s not . . . it’s just down the road. I’m going to keep going at it, and, dammit, I’m going to get one done.

What looks like an impossible goal one day will be achieved, and will be surpassed, and then look like a mere blip on the radar as I look back on it. Running a 5k? It’s honestly just a drop in the bucket now.

4 Comments
  1. Amen brother. I felt the same way about swimming, even though I had been doing it most of my life. And then I got it.
    Same for running, every time I start again. I do that first 5k race (of the season, of the past 3 years whatever) and that’s it. The bug has firmly bit me in the ass and I can’t wait to go further, do more, train longer and reach whatever the next goal is.

    I admire your progress and your determination my friend. And I look forward to your support when I return to the workout.

  2. Swimming!

    Best workout. It gets different muscle engaged. Just awesome. I knew a guy who could run a mile in under four minutes but couldn’t complete a lap. It just gets you in a whole different way.

    I myself can’t run for crap.

  3. Great post. You’ll be swimming like a fish before long, just because you’re determined to do so.

  4. Nothing wrong with tooting your own horn.

    That’s the Gardner Family Motto. Pretty much.

    And you will be awesome. Keep looking forward…

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