I can't think of anything in life that really matters that doesn't come with a few obstacles. I've heard people say that nothing worth having is free. I occasionally have people say things to me like that it's easy for me to fit running in because my kids are older, or because I don't work very many hours, or something else. That's all true. I can often leave my kids home alone so I can run. Not always though. Adam isn't a fan of being home alone, so if it's just the two of us and I need to run I have to figure something else out. I also don't work a lot of hours. I start at 9 most days and am off by 3:30. However, I also have kids in lots of activities and a very busy husband, and still have a house to keep clean, laundry to do, and prepare meals and sometimes extra snacks for my food allergy kid. It's not like I have all the time in the world.
My point is, everyone has obstacles. It's easy to look at other people that are accomplishing their goals and dreams and thinking it must be easier for them than it is for you. I'm guilty of that from time to time. I have a friend that is the single mother of 4 little boys, works full time, is working on her masters degree, and just finished her first 50K. Oh, and by the way, one of her boys is special needs. I can promise you, if she can find the time to train anyone can. You just have to want it. If you don't want it and have other priorities? That's perfectly ok. I'm fine with everyone doing their own thing. What I get annoyed with is when people assume that if other people are doing what they want to be doing then it must be because it's easy for them. Everyone has crap you don't know about. Even someone that you think you know really well has stuff going on behind the scenes that you're not aware of.
I like to think that when you come to an obstacle you shouldn't tiptoe around it. Don't try to crawl over it or under it or just hope it goes away. Crush it. Acknowledge that it sucks and you wish you didn't have to deal with it, then just plow right through. One obstacle I've face in the past and will again in the future (every.freaking.summer) is the heat. I used to just hibernate in my house and wait for fall. Wanting to do ultras in the fall was not conducive to that. Early on I could finish races without training. The further I wanted to run, the less of a valid option that was. This summer I decided I was not letting the heat stop me. I got up and ran at 5 am, I finally got over my body issues and just ran in a sports bra, I had my husband bring ice, I froze my snacks, etc. I figured it out. I stopped letting the heat be an obstacle. I couldn't let hot summer days ruin my dream of a fall 100 miler.
I mentioned earlier that Adam doesn't like to be left alone. When I can run in the morning that's not a problem. Running in the afternoons in the winter does cause an issue though. Last winter I was training for a spring race, so I had to run. I let Adam be an excuse way too often. He would look at me with his tiny little Adam face and I'd melt and not run. Sometimes though it wasn't an option. I had to go. I ran short one mile loops so I could check in on him, or if it was a nice day I took him to the park and ran laps around it, or I begged Rick to let him come hang out at work with him.
Injuries can really be obstacles that there's just nothing you can do about. Sometimes not running is the best and only answer in that case. Sometimes though, shit just hurts. There's no injury, your body is just tired and sore and you have to just run through that. I had several issues during this training cycle. I had a hip that was constantly cramping and achy. It didn't matter what distance I ran. Same with my foot. When I got to the end of my training I ended up backing off a bit because I knew those two places needed to calm down a little for my race. The rest of the time though I just ran through it. Sometimes Deanna would look at me with a sad face and tell me I was limping. I did my best to not show that I was hurting, but when someone goes that many miles with you they'll see it. I'd stop and stretch and really just want to cry and go home, but I didn't. I ran anyway. I figured out how to manage it. Guess what? Neither of those spots are causing me issues when I walk. I still haven't ran, but before even walking to the bathroom hurt, so I feel confident that it's better.
Please don't think that I'm advocating neglecting your kids so you can run, or ignoring injuries. What I'm saying is don't let things be an excuse. I believe there's a difference between a reason and an excuse. An injury is a reason not to run. Running 20 miles on Saturday and being sore is an excuse to not run Sunday. Sometimes you can't find a babysitter, or don't have any other option with your kids. Heck, sometimes I just need to spend time with my family because it's important for our mental health, or my marriage, or whatever. Sometimes though I think we moms use kids as an excuse because it's handy.
I think fear of failure can be such an obstacle. A mutual friend of mine and Rachel's just started running. Monica is sweet and awesome and has been a huge cheerleader for both of us. Now it's our turn to cheer for her. She recently asked both of us if we thought she could do a half marathon in February. We both like to enable, so of course we said yes. She sent me a message that she was registered. I told her she'd be awesome, because she will. She replied back "or I might go down in a blaze of glory." I told her she should wear a tutu just in case. My point was, if you're going to fail, do it spectacularly. Go out there and give it everything you have and have a great time. I fail sometimes. I DNF'd a race once when I got sick. I technically DNF'd FlatRock since I didn't finish in the time limit. I've also gone into races undertrained and walk almost the whole thing. I skip important training runs and make excuses. I fail often. I keep getting back up and pushing through and accomplishing goals though. I always will.
I'm so guilty of skipping runs, or making excuses. I'm getting better though. My running is improving. I often think of Rachel and the fact that she doesn't just overcome obstacles, she punches them in the face. I want to be more like that. I want to crush my obstacles and laugh when I'm done.
I hope this inspires someone to go out and crush any obstacles you're facing. I hope it also inspires me to keep doing it instead of letting the fact that I don't have a goal right now make me slack. I've said for a very long time that I need to work on strength and speed. Then I don't. Well, I have to this winter, so I'm putting it out there on my blog. I need to quit making excuses. The reason I haven't done it in the past is because it's hard. I'm going to do my best to not let that stop me.
I've been resting, but I'm ready to get back out there next week. Happy Running!