Last week, I was chatting with a friend. Our quick chats are usually pretty random, but that’s what makes them fun. Sometimes they take a serious turn and wisdom explodes from one of our brains. He was talking about doing something that would leave him, hopefully, refreshed and renewed and with a new sense of purpose. He called it a challenge and said that to him it was going to be like his version of running a half marathon and he wanted to see if he could actually do it.
It really made me think about how running a half marathon effects me.
I’ve always been a list-maker instead of a goal-maker. Being in the moment and doing “today” seems easier to me than looking towards the future with a big giant goal. Having small items to check off and not have lingering over me have truly been the backbone of my existence. Some may even say I fear failure because of not wanting to set long-term goals. Valid thought.
When I set the (seemingly) lofty goal to run a 5k, I thought surely I would never make it. Why? Because it wasn’t something I could put on a list and mark off after a single day or a single chore.
And then I signed up for a half. I swore it was my only one, but everybody else swore it was my “first.” After I finished, I realized what I loved about the goal-setting and goal-completing.
It wasn’t before or during. It wasn’t even the crossing of the finish line.
It was the BIG, GIANT, SWOOPING, CEREMONIAL marking off of the goal on the proverbial to-do list.
The feelings afterwards, after marking the goal off the list are strange. The feelings of elation and accomplishment are quickly followed by a sadness of sorts. Maybe it’s a desperation to quickly fill that marked-out space on the list with something else.
The empty hole that’s left is from my own doing. Running a long race causes your body to push further than it normally should. Even being a “slow runner” I leave it all on the table. Ten steps across the finish and I realize that I’ve left every emotion, every ounce of energy, every bit of mental distress, and every bit of me on the course. Physically, mentally, emotionally, I’m done. Spent. Empty.
After a few days, that emptiness fills again with new hope and new goals and new dreams for “what’s next.” I’m a new person – refreshed, renewed, and with a new sense of purpose.
Here’s to leaving it all on the two race courses next weekend and coming back ready to take on the world and set a new goal for myself.