You decide who you are – and you can reinvent it at any time.
If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever run a marathon, I would have laughed so hard while inhaling a milkshake and fries (ideally simultaneously). I was an athlete growing up, but never a distance runner. I really wasn’t about distance in anything I was doing. I joked that this training process has been the most invested and committed I have ever been in a relationship, but it’s honestly true.
I realized it doesn’t matter who you are so much as who you are working to become. I found one of the most important questions to ask yourself is: what are you doing today that will benefit you tomorrow?
I am a firm believer that life is not about finding yourself – it is about creating yourself. These last 6 months have made me proud of who I am creating.
Thinking big picture and long term pays off.
It is overused but I will say it anyways – eye on the prize. I encountered numerous roadblocks along the way -injury, time constraints, travel – you name it. I found a way to continue my training during my travels – from Coast to Coast – running in Beverley Hills, Vegas, Boston, New York, Whidbey Island, and Seattle. Running was an amazing way to get acquainted with new cities.
A few weeks before my race, I pulled my hamstring. I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to race, but thanks to physical therapy, I learned more about my body than I ever knew and became better equipped to take care of it.
And time constraints – since July my life has been work work and more work. As daylight was getting shorter I found myself racing home to run before night fell. With that, I developed healthier boundaries with work and prioritized my self-care.
I learned who I can truly count on – and that it was not the people with whom I was spending the majority of my time.
I learned that my party friends aren’t my real friends. I know this isn’t a novel realization – but it was for me. People who only care about you Friday-Sunday are not your friends.
I realized I was jumping across oceans for people who wouldn’t step over a puddle for me. So I let them go.
I’ve stepped back from the sun up to sun down squad because it’s not who I am – not anymore. I have nothing against people who want to live their life that way – more power to you. But it’s not me and not who I want to surround myself with.
On the contrary, I grew extremely close to my parents, my roommates, and my coworkers. I found that these people embraced both sides of me – the side that likes to go out and party but also the side that likes to stay in and reflect. I don’t have time or tolerance for people who only want certain versions of myself.
Weekends are sacred.
I used to party from 5 pm Friday right through 5 pm Sunday, and my weekends were a wash. For the last 6 months, I’ve spent Friday nights as time with my roommates, and Saturday mornings for my long distance runs. After my runs, I found myself tired and seeking time with family, a good book, or a journal.
I don’t intend to go back to that way of weekending after my marathon is over. In fact, I am starting 100 days sober tomorrow (alcohol is necessary tonight to numb the pain in my so-called “legs”). Training has made me realize weekends are for quality time, reflection, reading, and mindfulness. That’s not to say I’ll never have a bender again, but it’s not my whole life anymore like it was for so long.
The deeper root of this is that I’m ready to feel again. Partying was my way of numbing myself to what was going on in my life. But I’m happy with my life now. I have worked to make my life what it is: loving, genuine, and wholistic.
To anyone reading this and thinking you could never do a marathon – surprise yourself. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be happy with what you find.