Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One Mile At A Time

Lately when I turn my running Garmin on, it asks me, "Have you moved 100 miles or more since your last use?" Why yes, Garmin, I have. Thanks for noticing. I mention this because I feel that it is about time for a blog entry on my running. 

As most of you probably know, I ran my first marathon about a week and half before I left for Peru. As far as Peace Corps planning and preparation goes, I think running a marathon was the best thing I could have done for myself. At first I was hesitant to take on such a physical challenge so close to my departure date. I was nervous an injury may prevent my leaving. I almost let this fear stand in the way of choosing to undertake the marathon. After some thought, I realized that sitting around waiting to leave while letting my thoughts/ hopes/ anxieties get the best of me was a very bad idea. Joe agreed that it would be best for both of us to focus on the present and throw our efforts and energies into marathon training, rather than worrying about the future and dwelling on my leaving. Best decision ever. After running a marathon, I feel like I can do anything. And when I don't feel that way, Joe reminds me I can... which is awesome. Everyone deserves to/ should have a Joe ;)

I say this, in part, because Joe is the one who gave me the fabulous analogy I am about to share. Before I left, he reminded me that my 27 month commitment is much like a 26.2 mile commitment. If you begin a long run thinking, I only have 26.2 miles to go, you're going to have a long road ahead of you, literally. The trick of the marathon, in my experience, is to take it one mile, one step, at a time. Anything I'm handling now is small potatoes when you think of it like that. One mile at a time can be applied to my Peace Corps service, it's just that now I will think in terms of 1 month at a time, rather than in miles.

For example, mile one- It's an exciting and nervous time of the marathon, filled with anxieties and also a little bit of relief. You have so much anxiety, pent-up energy, and excitement that sometimes you jump off running at too fast of a pace only leading to trouble later in the race. But the trick is to take it easy, relax, take in the scenery and enjoy what is happening around you since there are plenty more miles that are going to require more energy later in the race, and the excitement/novelty of mile one will go by faster than you think. The same can be said for month one. Take it all in, get your footing, focus on breathing and not getting ahead of yourself. Worry about catching a stride later on when you've established a pace and are comfortable where you are. This analogy has been in the back of my mind since my arrival and will stay with me. This has been wonderful advice. Thanks Joe :)

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