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When the Going Gets Tough...

You only get tougher

Let's face it, we all like being in control. We map out what we want to happen in life, we set those expectations, and when things don't work out like we planned, disappointment sets in. Sound familiar?

We all do it. We're human.

It's been said that expectations are just planned disappointment.

We cannot control what happens to us.

What we can do is find a healthy balance of goals and expectations, but also learning to let go of those things we can't control.

We can't help when the weather stinks on race day, how people treat us, or how our body responds to training sessions. We set ourselves up for failure when we expect too much out of ourselves all the time.

Imagine all the runners lining up for the Boston Marathon this past Monday. For many runners, the Bost Marathon is THE event they've waited their entire lives for.

Now what? Gale force winds, snowy temperatures? Not exactly a set up for anyone's best race performance.

Speaking of The Boston Marathon, let me tell you a little story about myself. Last year I had the chance to run Boston. This was especially meaningful because the year before I wasn't able to run due to a stress fracture. I came back from my injury and trained with a vengeance. I followed my training plan without fail and ran my strongest during my training cycle. I knew I was going to get out there and crush it, and I was targeting a huge personal best. Little did I know just how wrong I was.

The weather was unseasonably warm and I had two injuries brewing because I had dipped into overtraining territory. By mile 13, I knew it wasn't going to be good and I hadn't even hit the hills yet! My Achilles tendon was on fire and on the opposite leg, my IT Band was giving me fits. By mile 16, I was taking walk breaks and I was sporting two side stitches. I was falling apart mentally because I thought this was going to be my race. When I finished, I felt defeated and depleted both mentally and physically.

It took me a few months to swallow my Boston Marathon experience. It still stings every once in a while to think about it. I lost faith in myself that day, and I lost the desire to run another marathon after that one. I decided to take an entire year to focus on shorter distances and my speed and restore my love for marathon running. I'm still not there yet, but that's ok. I'm giving myself some time and space. It feels like what I need to regain my marathon confidence. In the process, I've run a major half marathon PR, a 10K PR, and my running has been going exceptionally well. I'm loving where I am now and gaining some new perspectives. When Boston Marathon training starts up again in January, this girl is going to be ready.

Ready to embrace it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The marathon can break you down and it can break your heart, but how you handle it is the most important part.

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. Don't waste your time over analyzing and setting yourself up for failure. Sometimes life lessons can be tough, but they are all valuable. We learn that no matter what, we can pick ourselves up and keep going. It might not be the way we envisioned, but it's always part of our journey.

"If you have the courage to fail, then you have the courage to succeed."

- Shalane Flanagan

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