Call it the eternal optimist in me but I never look at an incomplete personal goal as a fail. Never! If I’m not able to follow through, I take stock of what sidelined me and move the goal to the ranks of ‘Unfinished Business’. I stay positive because I know accomplishing anything requires belief in myself, I recognize my progress and maintain pride in having the guts to take on a new goal. 2016 will be my year for pinging off some ‘Unfinished Business’ and I really think it has the potential for being the most emotional of my successes. You all know how much I treasure Fears for Tears
Many of my friends and family thought I would go climb Mt Kilimanjaro as my 50th milestone challenge then return to ‘normal’. As I’ve continued with challenges, even one of my ‘kids’ asked why I don’t just relax and enjoy being older. What none of these people realize is that infamous trip to Africa turned me and my life upside down. I can’t go back to ‘normal’. I don’t want to go back to ‘normal’. I have analyzed every facet of my life with a new perspective and I have made changes right across the board personally and professionally. This is my new ‘normal’ and I am totally celebrating my 50’s. I have to admit it’s been the best milestone gift of all.
The winters of 2014 and 2015 I trained for spring marathons. These just happened to be 2 of the worst winters ever in Toronto but completing the Ottawa marathon was the goal so winter running was required. The Ottawa marathon was suppose to be my first full marathon but you’ve read how that didn’t quite happen as planned. I completed marathon training to the 30km long run stage and was not able to run the marathon due to a major injury; stress fracture of my tibia. This happened again the following winter only this time the injury was micro tears in my IT band. Ouch! Do you have any idea how much it sucks to be consumed with a goal for 3+ months, run 4 to 5 times a week outside through wicked cold and blustery winters, cut out alcohol, change your nutrition, halt your weekend social calendar, sleep 8 hours a night, drink a gallon of water a day, get acupunctured and bruised by your masseuse and not be able to run your goal race? It is crueler punishment than the training. Training for a marathon is the hardest part, the race is the reward.
So here I am into my 3rd winter of marathon training. I promised I wouldn’t but here I am; Ta Da 🙂 This year I will run a spring marathon.
Thoughts of hitting this piece of ‘Unfinished Business’ filled my head pretty quickly after our return from climbing Mt Baker. I had an MRI on my right knee days after our return and all was clear to run except for one thing, I shouldn’t run. What?! My IT band was now good and even though they found a small tear in my ACL (which I believe happened on the descent off Mt Baker), that could be stabilized for running. Unfortunately, they found a very significant amount of degeneration in my meniscus since an MRI exactly one year ago. The recommendation was to minimize my weight bearing activities, particularly running. That is just not going to happen! I have ‘Unfinished Business’. The alternative was running with a titanium brace and I was fitted and running with it just a week later. You see, I now actually really love running.
I decided to completely revamp my approach to training. Words like “how’s that working for you?” rang in my head. As much as I loved the groups I’d been training with the last few winters I knew it wasn’t working for me. I am a ‘back of the pack’ runner who struggles even keeping up with the ‘back of the pack’ a lot of the time. When the group is doing a recovery run my joy is running hard so I can actually run alongside them. The reality is both of the full marathons I was able to complete I trained running on my own and came up with a training schedule that seemed to work for me week to week. A change was needed and the plan was to 1. Get Stronger 2. Get Faster 3. Get to the Start Line.
First, I joined a clinic that specializes in sport injuries (Omega Health & Fitness) and signed up for personalized strength training sessions twice a week. I started building my butt and core muscles October 8th. The program is constantly evolving and my strength has snowballed over the last 4 months. I can feel the difference in my body when I’m running. This added strength will definitely help me stay injury free. Next, I found a running coach, actually 3 of them! It was a tough decision to go this route since I have so many friends with the groups I’ve been running with over the last 3 years but also knew I needed something more customized. Luck was on my side as the brand new Adaptive Running Academy was being formed by some of the talented runners in the Toronto Beaches Running Club (BRC). Even though I knew the other runners signing up ran significantly faster paces and had much earlier marathons, I knew I was very capable of running by myself. Having the camaraderie of a group experience is definitely a huge bonus. The social aspect of running is a prime motivator for me. I committed to the 4+ month program and began sessions on January 5th. They are running me through the paces so to say 🙂
What I’ve come to learn is it’s all just training, and some luck! The more fun you can incorporate into the training process the better. With 4 runs a week, I have 2 runs a week with my marathon group and the other 2 runs I decided to broaden my network. Since the beginning of January I have expanded my running groups to include Run TO Beer and the ‘Awkward Turtles Running Team’ on Facebook. I will also continue running with the BRC and the Beaches Running Room. I love meeting new fit friends so I’m going to continue sourcing and running with new groups. Anything that keeps me smiling and running!
I am 4 months away from marathon week and feeling inspired. It is natural for your mind to take on the doomsayer role at times. I just shut it down. Some might question why I chose to be so public about a goal that I haven’t had much success with twice now. I have nothing to hide and a lot to gain by sharing my journey. In fact, since registering and posting my goal on social media I have 8 brave fit friends who have decided to join the crusade; 6 from the US and 2 from Ontario will join me for race weekend with 4 doing the full marathon and one brave soul who decided to make it her very 1st full marathon. They are all a bit nuts but that’s probably why I like them so much.
How’s it working for me? I’ve gone all public about this journey on Instagram and Twitter and I’m easy to find by searching “Karengeterdone”. Come along for the ride. You can never have too many cheerleaders!
Sunday, May 29th at approximately 11:45am I fully expect to have one less piece of ‘Unfinished Business’… after some tears of course 😉
What ‘Unfinished Business’ do you have? What are you going to do about it?