Accepting Limitations: Letting Go of a Goal

 runninggoals

The Best Laid Plans

Sometimes, when we make up our mind to do something, the Universe seems to have other plans. It’s one of the reasons I stopped setting goals a few years ago. I was tired of doing everything in my power to achieve my goals only to have them thwarted by circumstances, people, or events outside of my control.

This year I was inspired to set goals again

I set three.

Three months into the year I have been reminded why I’m not a good goal-setter.

I tend to get too attached. Even though I say I won’t, I do. I really want to achieve what I’ve set out to accomplish. I suppose it’s in my nature. I’ve always been driven. It’s been my downfall on more than one occasion. And, while I’ve relaxed a lot over the past few years, and have gotten much better at letting go and trusting (I even got a tattoo to remind myself of this new mantra and way of life), my goal experiment this year has shown me I still have a ways to go. In some ways, it feels as though the Universe is playing a heavy hand in making sure I learn this lesson once and for all. As hard as it is to accept, I do know it’s for the best.

My first goal to bite the dust…

Running a marathon this June.

I love to run. I’ve been a runner since junior high school. I ran three marathons in my twenties. I’ve run on and off for the past 30 years. And, now that my kids are grown and I’m not totally consumed by my business, I’ve been running more and genuinely enjoying it, both mentally and physically.

So I can’t say I was surprised when I was inspired to run another marathon at this point in my life. I ran my last marathon shortly after I graduated from college and started working full time. I gave up the training because there weren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in. So, I traded in my racing shoes and dove into my career and raising two children. I certainly don’t regret it. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and I’m very happy with my life.

Yet, in many ways, I feel like I’ve come full circle.

I accomplished the career.

I raised two children.

And now I have time again to pursue some of my passions a little more, well passionately. And running is certainly one of them.

But alas, it seems that shortly after I set the goal to run the marathon and began training in earnest, my body had other plans. I’ve never been one to get injured, but perhaps the increase in mileage was too aggressive for my body right now. After battling tendonitis in my ankle for the past month or so, and watching it get worse after every Sunday’s long training run, I made the decision I needed to take a few weeks off to let it heal.

As difficult as it was to admit, I knew I needed to put the marathon plans on hold.

I wrestled with this decision for a few weeks. My heart kept telling me it was what I needed to do. But my head fought it big time. I didn’t want to give up on my dream. However, after struggling to complete an 8-mile run, which had been a breeze just two months earlier, I knew it wasn’t going to happen, at least right now.

What I discovered during my two-week hiatus from running.

First of all, it was downright hard taking two weeks off.

The first few days were OK.

But then I really began missing my morning runs. I missed my Sunday long runs with my husband peddling his bike beside me. It had become our weekly routine and we both looked forward to it. I began getting grumpy and uptight. The inspired ideas stopped flowing. I didn’t feel like writing. I couldn’t wait for the two weeks to end.

Yesterday marked two weeks.

It was Sunday so I decided to go out for a run and test out the ankle. I taped it up and hit the road, not knowing how far I’d go. It felt so good to be running again. The ankle hurt a little, just enough to remind it was there, but not enough to stop me. As I padded through my six-mile loop—my standby run before I decided to begin training for the marathon—I had several aha’s…

I need to run. It’s who I am. It’s part of me.

Running is my release, my therapy, my “me” time.

I’m a much happier person when I run.

As a result, by the time I got home I realized that right now, it’s more important for me to run, than to run a marathon.

That realization made it much easier to set my goal aside, for the time being. It’s a matter of priorities. And I believe very often the things that happen in our lives, that prevent us from pursuing our plans, are for exactly that reason: to remind us of our priorities. To get us back on track when we veer off. Even when that veering seems to be for a very good reason.

I will run as long as it feels good.

I don’t know how many miles that will be. I will listen to my body. I will continue to let my ankle heal. And I will focus on fueling my soul and my body through running, rather than working a plan.

It was tough to let go of my marathon goal.

But I know I have not let it go completely, I’ve just let it go for now. I don’t know why I’m not supposed to run a marathon this June. But I know in time, the reason for this delay will become apparent. It always does. So I will do as I’ve been re-training myself to do for the past few years, and trust.

All three of the goals I set this year have hit hurdles. Next week I will share an update on another.


 

About Debbie

Debbie is an author, blogger, online teacher, business owner, and mid-lifer. She's writes on a wide range of topics, from marketing, money and success, to finding meaning at midlife. If it's on her mind, you'll find her writing about it!

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