It had been a long time since I had reached a meaningful goal. Yesterday I reached an important goal of mine. I participated in an official 5K!
Why did I choose to start running? I guess because right now running is one of the few things that makes me feel good about myself. After 40 years of smoking, I finally quit about 2 1/2 years ago. That was also a major accomplishment. As I started to feel better not smoking, I just felt like running.
Before I quit I doubt I could have run 50 yards without collapsing. At first I measured my progress by how many steps I could run before I had to start walking. I remember coming home excited to tell my wife I was able to run 500 steps. Then I started measuring my progress by my time running 5K. When I first finished under 45 minutes, I began to believe I could get under 40 minutes. Now that I run at 35 minutes, I believe I can get under 30.
Why is reaching this goal so important to me? I know many people will wonder what is the big deal about completing a 5K. I didn’t win any awards. I finished in 131st place overall and 7th out of 16 in my age group. It is important because I needed to succeed at something. I needed to complete a goal. I needed to start chasing the negative thoughts from my head.
It is so easy to start just drifting through life, accepting where you are and just happy to make it through another day, another week, another uneventful year. It is so easy to believe that the opportunity for personal growth is far behind you. I needed to prove to myself that I am not through growing and changing.
Completing this race gives me the confidence to pursue my other goals. It shows me that, with effort, I am capable of being a successful writer. I can find a way to support myself doing something I love rather than in retail management which I am so tired of doing.
So I sprinted the last quarter mile of this race, and as the finish line approached I was able to smile despite the physical effort. And when I crossed the finish line I shed a couple of tears because I realized that I CAN!
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I was just past the halfway point of my 5k run, feeling strong and on pace to finish in under 35 minutes for the first time when it happened. Just the smallest bit of the tip of my left foot caught on a piece of upraised sidewalk. I stumbled a couple of steps trying to regain my balance before finally face planting and eating some concrete. My nose and upper lip were a bloody mess along with scraped knees and some assorted bruises. None of my injuries were serious and just needed some cleaning, ice and time to heal.
Responses from my friends, family and coworkers varied from telling me that maybe I was too old, running is dangerous, or I should stick to running on a treadmill to those who told me to get back on the horse and ride. My favorite response was from a great niece of mine who is a runner. She told me a true runner is one who, when injured, counts the days before they can run again!
Now I had a choice to make. I could use this fall as an excuse to quit. Maybe I am too old to run and should stick to walking. If I keep running, I am going to fall again and next time I may not be so lucky. Who would blame me if I quit? Today, I chose to get back on the horse and ride. Two weeks after my fall, I ran 5K today! My time was 3 minutes off of my best time, but it felt like a major victory. I did not quit. I stumbled, but got back up. This is a change for me as in the past I often quit after a fall.
It really felt good not to quit. Maybe it will become a habit.
Persevere, don’t quit. There is always an answer!
We’ve all said it, ” I really should be doing (fill in the blank) but I just can’t seem to get motivated today. I need someone or something to get me motivated.” So we sit back and wait for motivation to come knocking , either right before or right after opportunity, and nothing happens.
A Google search of motivational speeches and speakers will bring up a list of hits that would take weeks to read and years to watch. The motivation industry is huge. Some people spend a lot of their time and money chasing after motivation. You might call them professional motivation seeker!
The problem is that nothing or no one can motivate you but yourself. You can be inspired by someone. Friends or peers may encourage you. You may act to avoid negative consequences or to obtain positive rewards, but motivation comes from within.
Inspiriration, support and encouragement are important, especially when we encounter struggles or roadblocks. It is our choice to allow the above to motivate us. We choose to act.
“Your destiny is determined by the choices you make. Choose now, choose well.” Anthony Robbins