But when I think seriously about reasons things go wrong or don’t go as exactly planned, I rarely use the word ‘excuse’. Here are some of my thoughts about things that don’t always go according to plan….
Weather – You sign up for a race (especially a race such as a half or full marathon) 12 – 17 weeks out. You have no idea what the weather will bring. If you’re my husband, you get Rockfest in rain and wind. If you’re Meaghan, you get Chicago in 80 degree heat. If you’re Sue, you get rain no matter what race you run. Not sure what the weather will bring for my race this weekend, but whatever I get is whatever I get. I’ll dress for all types of weather and if it’s a head wind I get, it’s a head wind I fight. I won’t celebrate a head wind, but I realistically know it would likely affect my pace. Excuse? Nope.
The Body – Oh, the body works in mysterious ways! You practice the right combination of nutrition throughout your training period and then, BAM, you get a cold or WHAM, you get a sour stomach on race morning. Especially during the Fall season, colds and flu run rampant. Whether you’re a parent with children in
germ hell school or have the unluckiness of having to board a germ fest airplane, you run the risk of getting sick. The immune system is tired and maybe even pissed at all you’ve put it through. I do what I can beforehand with regards to eating and drinking properly and sufficiently enough. And I’ve embraced Emergen-C as some added insurance. It’s gross, but it’s one more thing I can (sort of) control. Excuse? Nope.
Goals – Going into anything in life, whether it’s running a marathon, starting a new job, or going back to school, you gotta have goals. Heading into my nineth marathon, I stand by my first and foremost goal of “Finishing with a smile”. Finishing a marathon is not a given. Plenty of athletes do not finish races because of a myriad of reasons (notice, I didn’t use ‘excuses’), so why would I be any different? Too much can happen to sabotage a runner’s goals of finishing a race. Of course I have my stretch goals of PR’ing and of requalifying for Boston ’13, because without those stretch goals, I might just get complacent. I work hard at targeting goals that are realistic. With a current PR of 3:56:36, requalifying for Boston (my time for ’13 is a 3:55 qual time) is indeed a realistic goal. If I stretch too far, say a goal of 3:40, then I’m likely setting myself up for some major disappointment. Not because I don’t believe in myself, but because it’s not what I trained for. With goals set and training winding down, I may reach my stretch goals or I may have to be OK with celebrating my “Finish with a smile” standard goal. Either way, it means my training gets me to the finish line. If I (shudder) wasn’t able to finish, it means I have some work to do in understanding what went wrong. Excuse? Nope.
I think for me, excuses lie in a core desire to not do something. For those of us who are doing something – and this isn’t just about running – things are not always going to go according to plan. It’s this scenario that leads me to my anti-excuses crusade. We have no one to apologize to if we don’t meet a goal or if an experience isn’t exactly as we hoped. We have only new opportunities to better ourselves and fine tune whatever trainings we’ve got going on in our lives.
I head into marathon week as a very excited runner who is anxious to see what Cape Cod, my body, the weather, and my goals have to offer. And regardless of my stretch goals, you can be sure “Finish with a smile” will be my mantra somewhere between miles 26 and 26.2.
Just in time for my Finish photo J