Week 13: Find your finish line

Goal setting is empowering. You see a feat you’d like to accomplish. You make a plan. Little by little, you chip away at it. Maybe it’s grueling. Maybe you stare down self doubt. But in time your confidence builds and one day you see it. The finish line.

There’s almost no describing the feeling that overwhelms you. From the outside, others can’t see it. They have no idea how you’ve pondered, and practiced, and fallen and gotten back up. But for you, reaching your goal is monumental.

Sometimes, though, days go by and things come up and you wait one more day and a week and a month. Before you know it, you look around at people doing what you thought you’d be doing, and you say to yourself, “I must not have it in me.”

But you do have it in you. You might just need a little motivation.

One thing I find that gets me moving is having someone else to answer to. Like a running partner, or a finish line.

Halloween 8K (2010)

Registering for a run or a walk is a great motivator.

There’s a date on a calendar staring back at you.

It gives you something to think about when you are running / training in the weeks and months before the event.

There’s a sense of community when hundreds of people, no doubt both faster and slower than you, get together for fitness, for a good cause, for whatever gets you out of bed in the morning.

You actually have to pay money to do something you can do for free on your own. And while some people call this stupid, it’s one more reminder that you should take your event, and therefore training, seriously.

Then there’s race day. Whether you’re walking with strollers and dogs, or running alone, crossing a finish line feels like Christmas. Well, after you catch your breath or bury your face in a trash bin. There’s usually a little celebration, some finger food and music, and, for me, anyway, a smile from ear to ear at the thought of accomplishing a little goal.

For serious runners, egos can certainly be bruised if personal times lag behind. But for hobbyists like me, managing to get up early and finish a run is worthy of celebration. (Nothing like a pancake breakfast with friends after a sweaty race.)

I had been training for the Naples Daily News Half Marathon when I learned I was pregnant with Sophie. After a few months of training, one miraculous weekend, I had actually run the full distance (13.1 miles) for the first time ever. But the official race didn’t happen for me.

My lungs let me know early in my pregnancy that my running days were shrinking. I could pace a few miles, but by 5 months along I was done.

Sophie’s now almost 8 months old, I’m fully recovered from surgery and have been logging a few miles a few times a week. It feels good to be out there again. But it’s also fairly easy to skip a run.

I’m new-mom tired. I want to spend time with my family. And until recently, there wasn’t much daylight or warmth in the air.

Running is also a bit different for me here in Bern.

First of all, I don’t have my running partner. My friend Greg, in Naples, Fla., who got me running again in the first place, was a great motivator when my head was telling me to sleep in. Knowing Greg would be waiting for me at 5:30 in the morning really put the pressure on. I have to be my own motivator now, and that’s not as much fun.

Second, the terrain is a bit more challenging than I’m used to. I grew up in Michigan and lived quite a few years in Florida. States don’t come much flatter than that. Here, every running path near my house involves hills and hundreds of feet in elevation gain.

But we can make excuses all day long. I truly believe that we can make time for something if it’s important to us. So I found my new finish line.

Actually, two of them.

The Grand Prix von Bern on May 12 (4.7 K / about 3 miles) and the Schweizer Frauenlauf (Women’s Run) on June 10 (10 K / about 6.2 miles).

The Grand Prix actually has a longer race that day, 10 miles. I’ve run that distance before, but not since the baby. Though it hurts my ego, I decided to go for the 4.7 K to get my race legs back and plan to run the longer race next year.

Wish me luck.

Or join me. At least in spirit.

There are run/walk events, bicycling rides and any number of fitness activities all over the globe. Some revolve around holidays. Others bring awareness to health-based foundations and causes. Schools with track and cross country teams sponsor them. So do local running clubs. You can usually find events online or through local fitness organizations (gyms, YMCAs etc.). Heck, if you’re up for it, some people even travel to events, making it a part of a mini-vacation.

If you’ve wanted to get involved in something like this, I hope you’ll find a program that’s right for you this year. There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain.

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About Tara McLaughlin

I'm a stay-at-home mom to two girls in my boyfriend's hometown of Bern, Switzerland. Life as a new mom in a foreign country has been, in so many ways, rewarding and challenging. I will document that journey here, on Another 52 Weeks.
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One Response to Week 13: Find your finish line

  1. Go Tara Go! Rah rah rah! So excited you are signed up for TWO races in Bern. Now there is a motivator for sure. Can’t wait to follow your progress. Who knows. Maybe you will motivate me to start running after this baby pops out (something I’m still not sure will ever happen. He seems to be settling in for good 😉

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