Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Morning Thoughts on Dedication

When my alarm went off at 5:30am, I actually groaned. I'm used to getting up for work at 6:30, but waking up an hour earlier is UNPLEASANT. Tucker lifted his head and went, "mew?" as if he was also questioning our early hour.

Here's the thing: if you want to run outside on a Saturday morning in Tennessee, you need to start early. Even then, it's still ridiculously hot and humid. Despite the 6:30am start, I was dripping sweat when I finished 6 miles an hour later.

I opted to be realistic today and only ran 6 miles since I have hardly done much running at all lately. I kept a decent 9-minute mile pace, but still found myself struggling a bit at the end. My legs felt great.... but my lungs were in agony. All of these allergy problems the past 6 weeks have definitely taken a toll.

Despite all of that, I still felt pleased with the run. I got to thinking during that last mile about how I know from experience that I can bounce back from a short running hiatus pretty quickly. Now that I'm getting some allergy relief, it'll be a matter of time before my lungs recover. I'll add some miles and soon be on track with my marathon training. I certainly have plenty of time between now and December 6.

I'm not one to ever pat myself on the back too much, so I hope it won't sound like I'm trying to do so with the rest of this. I started thinking about how when I ran cross country and track in high school, there were quite a few seasons that I was awarded the Most Dedicated award. I can remember always feeling really honored that my coach thought I was dedicated... I felt like I was a dedicated individual. I knew I'd never be the fastest runner or win major races or go to state, but I'd certainly get out there and run my heart out. I enjoyed it, so I wanted to give it my all.

But I guess I'm the kind of person who always gives her all. Somewhere along the way, I became really self-motivated. I wanted to do well in school. I wanted to do well in ballet class. I wanted to do well in running. I wanted to do well in my relationships. It's never been that I wanted to be THE best. I always just wanted to do MY best.

I think that to be a marathon runner, you've got to be dedicated. Sure, there are some people out there that wake up one morning and decide to go run one without training... I question if these people get the same things out of running that I do. When I get in my runs, they may not all be my best runs. Some are a struggle. Some I have to stop early. And I don't PR every time I run a race. But I keep going back for more because I know that if I stay dedicated and don't give up, I can improve. I can become stronger. Anyone reading this knows that the marathon running is a big metaphor for life to me, and I believe that the dedication it takes to train and run a marathon is very similar to the way I feel dedicated to other things in my life.

I WANT to be dedicated. I want to be a fantastic friend and offer much to the people who esteem me as a friend. I want to in time be a great girlfriend and later wife... I want to offer love, loyalty, companionship, trust and so much more to a man. I want to go after my dreams and stick with them, never giving up.

I think you get the jist of what I'm saying. I feel like I'm not being as eloquent as I'd like, but we'll attribute that to the fact it's 9pm and I got up at 5:30am and should crash soon since I didn't get a nap.

My point is this... I don't think we should give up too easily. Things can be tough. Life can bring disappointments. The marathon training involves the same. However, there's something to be said for running that last minute of every training run... of crashing hard at night because of a good workout as well as the rest of the day... of getting across that finish line. Joy. Relief. Happiness. Cheer. Excitement. Pride. A sense of knowing how worth it it's been to have not given up when it would have been easier to do so. I think life is the same way.

SO I will continue to be dedicated to the running... and to my life, to love, to giving, to my family, to my friendships, to my romantic relationship (when it comes along), to my job, to other passions and dreams... I won't always get it right. Some days will be easier than others. But in the end, I think that dedication pays off.

Part of my running dedication? After a shower and breakfast, I headed to Fleet Feet for some new Brooks running shoes. They were having a Brooks sale so I got $5 off as well as a free tech shirt. I can't complain about that.

Another part of it? Those moments when you can relax after getting in a good run (and shopping trip). I spent my afternoon watching movies. It was fabulous.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!


L Sass said...

I always like the feeling of accomplishment you get for the rest of your weekend day after a long run. It makes me feel perfectly justified in laying on the couch watching 4 hours of Jon and Kate + 8!

youmeandeveryone said...

Just a comment about waking up. Get yourself an alarm clock that either syncs with an ipod or allows you to stream mp3s, and then make a "wake up" playlist. I'm more apt to get out of bed at 5:30 if there is music that either forces or makes me want to get out of bed.