A couple years ago on January 1st I made the New Year’s Resolution to show up to the races that I have entered. Let me explain. I often sign up for races early to take advantage of the early bird pricing. Of course when I sign up I am excited about the race. Sometimes, however, as the race approaches life gets in the way. Other times the weather is just uninviting. For a variety of reasons I had found myself not showing up to some of the races I had entered. Of course I ran more than I missed but still what a waste! Thus the resolution – no more no shows if I’ve preregistered!
I’ve done well with this resolution. In some part my success can be attributed to entering less races. I’ve been more selective. I’ve really considered what I was signing up for before signing up. I’ve also made it a point to show up.
Twice recently this resolution was challenged. On December 18th I was registered to run a 6 mile trail race- the Lock-4 Six Miler. I signed up two months earlier after running another trail race. I love trails. I love the challenge and uneven terrain. Six miles is a nice distance – not too far for a trail race. At the time I signed up, the fall weather was fabulous. Race day was a totally different weather story … 27 degrees, windy, and it had rained a lot over night. The course was a mix of wet and frozen as well as muddy and slippery. That morning I checked online to see if maybe the race was canceled – no such luck. I wondered why I was doing this? I don’t really like running in the cold. I thought about just sleeping in. Then I remember my resolution. That’s what guilted me into going.
Once I got to the race start, about a 45 minute drive, the weather seemed to be worse. Usually at a race folks are running around, warming up, talking, hanging out. At this race everyone was huddled in their cars trying to stay warm. The usual warming up was being done by way of car heater not a pre-race jog! Again I thought why am I doing this?? I could go home. Starbucks seemed like a better idea! I rationalized that I had driven that far I should at least start the race.
Here’s the thing about running. I often find the worst part is the waiting to start. In order to be comfortable running you need to be a bit chilly waiting for the race to begin. The start was located atop a hill next to a lake with no protection from the wind. It was bitter and miserable waiting for the gun to go off. And then it did. I began to run and once on the trail the trees blocked the wind. The trails themselves were the kind I love! Not super hilly but some ups and downs and turns. Believe it or not I was having fun! After the first mile I warmed up and fell into a good pace. I was glad I was there! Keeping this resolution I thought would be a miserable experience but it turned out to be a rewarding event. To make matters even better, I won a new pair of shoes for winning the Masters Women category!
My resolution was challenged again New Year’s Eve morning. This time I’d signed up for a 5K just a few days ago. Had I checked the weather, I doubt I would have signed up. Rain was guaranteed. When I woke up that morning, it was in the high 30’s and raining. Yuck. Again I thought why would I want to do this? Sleeping in seemed to make more sense. That pesky resolution popped into my head and nudged me to get up and get ready to go. The rain never stopped but it did slow down a bit to more of a drizzle. The course I knew would be challenging by the name of the race – the Hill-Yeah! Once again after the gun went off and I began running I acclimated to the conditions, tackled the hills and enjoyed myself. Sure my hands were a bit cold but I kept reminding myself – just three miles – this is a quick one! Yet again I was glad to I showed up and ran. I saw some friends and yet again took home First Masters – and nice packet of prizes!
What’s the moral of the story here? It feels good to keep resolutions. We make them for a reason. Some times we focus so much on the breaking of them that we forget how good it will feel to succeed. I’m learning that I am tougher than I thought and that feels good, too! Use your resolutions as motivation this year! Inspire yourself and see just what you can accomplish.