I walked into my house yesterday dripping sweat. Hunched over the couch, a small pool of sweat was starting to take form on the living room floor. While panting like a dog and trying to focus on anything but the pain that was in my legs, I suddenly felt a warm sense of accomplishment.
I had done it… I had run my fastest 5k ever. 3.2 miles at a 7:08 pace.
All throughout my run, I had one focus. My sole focus was to simply run faster. At first, I wanted to run faster than the day before, but after my first mile blew the one from the day before out of the water, my goal started to shift.
For the second mile, I wasn’t worried about the previous day, I wanted to run faster than I did for the first mile. Once I accomplished that, the third mile was the same. Instead of running faster than the first mile, though, I now wanted to run faster than the second mile, which was faster than the first mile.
The last .2 miles, well I just sprinted that. With everything that I left in the tank, it was an all-out, pedal to the medal, full-on sprint. And I did it. Just like that, I had run my fastest 5k.
Set A Goal
A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon. Actually, hold that… I am not going to try and qualify for it, I AM GOING to qualify for it.
I have always wanted to run the Boston Marathon and simply decided that it makes no sense to continue to wait any longer to do so. If I want to do it, then why wait? It’s not like I am getting any younger.
The hardest part about running the Boston Marathon is the fact that I have to qualify for it. In order to qualify, well, I have to run a marathon at a pace no slower than 7:05 per mile. I did just run a 5k at a 7:08 pace, so not only do I have to shave off three seconds per mile, but I also have to keep that pace for 26.2 miles.
That should be fun…
But it’s worth it. It’s something that I want to do, it’s something that I am passionate about achieving, and it’s something that I find to be meaningful. Boston is my favorite city in the world, and to qualify for one of the most iconic marathons would be a huge accomplishment.
Plus, let’s be real, a marathon is one of the greatest indicators of self-will. If I can push past all of the pain of running a marathon, overcome all of the doubts that pass through my mind, and push myself to keep going when my body is telling me to quit, then I know that there isn’t anything that I can’t achieve.
Challenge Yourself Every Day
From a mindset standpoint, the hardest part about the training is having to wait to progress over time instead of immediately being in marathon shape. Like I want to go run the marathon right now, but I know that I am not quite there physically.
To be completely fair, though, I just started training a few weeks ago. There is very little that I or anybody else could do to get “marathon ready” over the course of three weeks’ time.
Most marathon runners train for months on end before actually running the marathon itself. It’s a process that requires running hundreds of miles over the course of the training regiment. And to expect myself to be in shape to do so within the short amount of time is simply unrealistic.
In the meantime, there is only one thing that I can do. That is to challenge myself every day so that when the time comes to compete, I know that I will be ready.
I guess what I am trying to say, is that it’s not about picking up a goal one day and expecting to achieve that goal immediately. It’s about having a goal, progressing towards that goal over time, and challenging yourself every day to be just that much better than you were yesterday.
For me, I know there are going to be days where I am not going to run as fast as I did the day before. Maybe tomorrow is one of those days. But in that case, I will just run a little further. There is always something that we can do to make ourselves better. Life isn’t about being perfect, but rather, it’s about progressing bit by bit.
Challenge yourself every day of your life. Unless you challenge yourself, you will never progress from who you are today into who it is that you want to be. You control the destiny of your own life, so challenge yourself every day, and focus on being a better you today than you were yesterday.
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