Last week at the Halloween Half Marathon I finally met the goal I set at the beginning of the year. I wasn't the fastest or fittest nor did I have the best form. Regardless, I set a personal goal in January and after all year of thinking about it, and running a couple of races without training, I realized I would have to try a little harder if I was going to reach that goal. So I did. I gave a two-month training effort, dedicated and motivated. During those two-months, I found that the effort in and of itself, trying harder, brought me to my goal of being better. It wasn't what the clock said at the finish that made me better, and it wasn't my placement in my age division. Simply trying made me, well... simply better. I ran the half in 1:53, a new personal best.
Not every run was great. But every run I tried. I haven't lost all kinds of weight, or become super-fit or incredibly athletic. But I got a little better with a little effort every day. Now what? I met my goal for the year, so what good does it do to head out that front door now, as the mornings grow colder and colder each week?
What I love about running is not so much the run itself--I am not a natural. After multiple marathons and half marathons, I have never experienced a runner's high. I learn a lot from each run though, and I feel like the life-lessons I glean from them are well worth the steps I take, so I keep taking them. And the lessons keep getting better.
As I ran this last race I was pretty focused on my pace-per-mile as they came and went, one by one. Of course by mile 9 or 10, I was starting to feel it and was tempted to slow down. I reminded myself that 2 hours would come and go whether I met my goal or not. Would I be pleased with my efforts? Then my family suddenly came to mind. Dania graduates this year, and Tori in two years. Their time at home will come and go, whether I have spent time with them or not. Will I be pleased with my efforts?
I think I am generally giving a good hard effort in motherhood, but can I try a little harder to be a little better? Always. A game here, some laughs there, a little longer walk, a frozen yogurt run, more memories and more good times. Just as my running goal required daily effort to become better and find success, I will never regret the steps taken and the lessons learned during the allotted time I have been given.
I can't help but look back and realize how very quickly the years fly by. It seems the more I want to slow those years, the faster they rush, like wind on my face and in my hair... uncontrollable, but thrilling to experience. Momentum has certainly set in. May the next 17 be as fulfilling, uplifting, and blessed as the last. I will never forget:
Hospitals and baby smells
Quiet nights and my heart swells
Feeding, bathing, changing too
Singing nighttime songs to you
Finger paints and sidewalk chalk
Bare feet when you start to walk
Beaches, snowmen, sun, and spring
Puppies, kittens, favorite things
Coast to coast, we've seen it all
Oceans wide and mountains tall
History and future too
Little feet in little shoes
Backpacks hanging to your knees
Broken stick-wands from the trees
Nature paths and city streets
Walks and runs and tired feet
Books and bed and story time
Cloud blankets and making rhymes
Cookies, picnics, hikes, and dreams
"Soaring in the sky" it seems
Schoolrooms, teachers, smiles and tears
Growing pains throughout the years
Weddings, changes, growing up
Such a bitter/sweet-ish cup
Middle school and high school days
Friends and races, concerts, plays
Finding time to read a book
Fires, hammocks, cabin nooks
Babies, pictures, family games
Vacations, no two the same
Church and prayer and blessings too
Always saying "I love you"
Road trips, skiing, trampolines
Birthday parties, Christmas things
Good luck posters, wish-you-wells
All the stories you could tell
Dreams of future special days
Setting goals and making ways
Cutting ties and apron strings
Heading off to bigger things......