What the view from the finish line taught me
I once ran a marathon. 26.2 miles and I finished in just over four hours. My pace varied throughout the course, and though I had been nursing an excruciating muscle injury from my time spent training, I never slowed to more than a jog the entire time.
Before the big day I had been a runner for only a couple years, had finished considerably smaller events, several friendly 5k races, a few half marathons. I mainly ran on weekends to maintain my fitness level.
In the end it paid off. I met my goal of finishing the marathon with a time I could be proud of.
But, I sacrificed something of myself along the way.
A couple weeks before the race I had torn a leg muscle. Instead of taking it easy and giving myself time to heal though, I pressed onward, determined to stick to the schedule.
I’ll have a chance to heal after the race.
I would later learn that those last couple weeks in the training plan weren’t nearly as important as all the ones I had put in before. In other words, I could have slacked off completely those last two weeks and still not lost the strength I had built over the long haul.
Five years later, I am still struggling to heal. I have not ran more than a mile at a time since that day and nothing in the past few years. Everyday activity hurts although no doctor or specialist can really tell me why.
Now I have had to give up something I love because I was too stubborn to listen to my body and blindly adhered to a plan on paper that no longer fit my needs.
If I learned one thing from the experience that I can apply to other areas of my life, it’s that sometimes you have to take the process in stride. There are going to be snags in the plan. You have to learn to adjust along the way. If you don’t, you risk losing sight of the bigger picture.
Perhaps the biggest lesson learnt of all? I can do it. The time working up to it, the payoff in the end, I’ll get there. One way or another.
I would like to think it’s this mindset that will get me through a marathon of words with my first upcoming NaNoWriMo.
I still hope I’ll be able to get back to running someday. It will give me a real chance to put what I didn’t learn so well the first time to the test. Until then, I’ll be here putting a flexible writing plan into place for my next endeavor.
Originally published on Medium.