Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Disappointment is your friend

Date: Tuesday, January 3
Weeks until the Boston Marathon: 15

January is a tough time of year for many reasons.  Another holiday season is behind us, and it's time to face the music...and I don't like the tune.  It's back to work, it's cold outside, the days are short, the nights are long and I'M FAT!!

Ok - fat may be a bit of an overstatement, but it's a reflection of the disappointment I feel in myself.  The last few years have found me extremely dedicated to my marathon goals.  Not the dead of winter nor the pain of injury could keep me from pushing through towards that very important personal goal of running the Boston Marathon.  After finishing the Boston Marathon last year, I began holding myself to a different standard - I began expecting more of myself and continued to push hard to maintain that standard.

Nobody will deny that the higher you climb, the further (and harder) you could potentially fall, and this dedicated runner fell hard indeed.  The autumn of 2011 found me caught in a perfect storm of nonperformance: I broke my toe in September, had to travel to Halifax for a month for work soon after, and then came back to the food-apalooza we fondly refer to as "Christmas".  The combination of no running and eating has left me with barely enough strength to eek out 12 easy kms along my beloved Don Trail.  I'm a shame to Boston alumni everywhere.

 Disappointment can be like a heavy anchor, pulling us deeper and deeper into our dark thoughts - demotivating us and preventing us from rising again to a place of pride and personal satisfaction.  It's easy to get lost in our mourning for paradise lost, and turn to wine and chocolate as a means to drown our sorrows.

Or, one can use their disappointment to their advantage.
And I intend to do just that.

With Boston 2012 only 15 weeks away, there's no time for self pity.  As I once again entrench myself in my marathon training program, I'm turning to my disappointment to fuel my workouts.  Yes, I am putting my disappointment to work for me!  Every time I think I've done as much as I can do: climbed enough stairs, completed enough squats or pushed my heart rate as high as I think it should go, I think about how far I've fallen from grace - and how badly I want to reach the top once again.

So far, it's working for me.  The disappointment is such bitter medicine that I'm driven to get back to a fitter, faster me sooner than later - so that I don't have to take the medicine anymore.  This time of disappointment has also given me an opportunity to see myself as more than just a runner.  There are other corners of my life besides running that can benefit from some additional focus and improvement.  I anticipate my resurrection from this disappointment will bring me to a place where I am not only a better runner, but a better person - one who is once again appreciative of the success that I have enjoyed as a runner, a woman and a human being.

Let the journey begin.