So… what’s next?

It’s been just about a month since I finished the Chilly Half. In the days and weeks following the first thing everyone asked me naturally was “How did it go?”
And the second question? “So – whats next?”

For the last year of my life I have been chasing down what seemed like an endless supply of new challenges: running a 5k without stopping, my first 10K, my first triathlon, my first half marathon. Before the Sharpie I use to check off my great “To Do List” of life has had a chance to dry I’m already signing up for the next challenge. When I step back and think about it, I realize I’ve been living off the fumes of adrenaline and excitement for quite some time now.

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But suddenly I’ve come to a running halt- literally. The answer to that second question? I don’t quite have one yet. To anyone who finished their first half marathon and immediately signed up for a full – I applaud you. I tip my hat to you. You deserve a red carpet for your entire 26.2 mile journey. Because there is no way in hell I am ready for that. While the coals to the fire of curiosity have been lit deep inside of me I am smart enough to know that I am not there yet physically or mentally. But I still wonder -how and when did I get to a point where I’ve checked off so many milestones? Suddenly the top of the ladder looks a lot closer than where I started at the bottom and it looks like I’ll be hanging out here for a while. Guess I better get used to the view.

The weeks following the half were tough. I had told myself to savor every moment of it, because I knew it was going to be my last big exciting first for a long time. I basked in the glory right up until bedtime (7:30pm) and sure enough- woke up the next morning already itching for a new goal. My “recovery week” was torturous – both mentally and physically. I was pretty sore for a few days and yet all I wanted to do was put on my shoes and run. After so many carefully planned months of training, to see my calendar go completely blank and my log book collecting dust on the coffee table stunk. And when I finally got the okay to run again well, let’s just say I wish that someone had warned me how bad that first time was going to feel because that frustrated me all over again.

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Obviously the aches and pains went away (for the most part) and I’m back out running my familiar routes. My brain however, doesn’t know what to focus on. It’s such a weird feeling that I don’t quite get how to process. I’m trying to remember what it was like to just “go for a run” without a goal or as part of a bigger plan, but it my short time as a runner that’s practically all that I know. Tasks and challenges have been what’s kept me going all these months.

I know there are a thousand immediate goals I want to work on, should work on. Run faster. Do more pushups. Achieve a tricep plank. Get my strength to a higher standard. Work on my mental running. Run better races in general. During my week of “protective custody” I spent a lot of time reflecting on the half. Don’t get me wrong, no one’s prouder of myself than I am for finishing such a challenge- but I also recognize that there’s a lot I can improve on. The next time I go out and run 13.1 miles I want to be proud of every single mile- not just 1-10. So it’s time to focus on quality over quantity for a while. Time to improve what I’ve done instead of just tackling on new challenges. Time to be a better runner.

So I guess that’s my answer – that’s what’s next. Now to get myself excited about it.

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About Kathleen

When your legs get tired run with your heart.

Posted on November 22, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Another amazing blog. Well done, well said! Now, enjoy, don’t push yourself too hard, enjoy the Christmas season. As you’ve heard hundreds of times, you are an inspiration. xo

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