Running Off Track…


As I took a forced break from running, I didn’t realize how far off track I would allow my pause to take me.  I did the right thing.  I injured myself so, I needed to listen to my body and stop running so that I could allow myself to heal.  That is the story I kept telling myself and those around me who knew I was training for the marathon.  However, unconsciously, I had found my excuse.

Because I had this injury, I didn’t have to run, and people would be accepting of this.  Unconsciously, I also told myself that I didn’t have to eat healthy.  And now I realize, I didn’t have a purpose…

In the four weeks I had taken off from running, I gained weight and became sluggish and sleepy.  I didn’t like how I feel, how I look, and how much I wanted to sleep all the time.  Looking back, I realize that I forgot about my mindset.  I have to BE a marathon runner!  I have to BE that person who is focused, determined,  has a lot of stamina, faith, confidence, and a fearlessness to overcome obstacles….real or perceived.

I had fallen off track!  It is now 8 weeks since I’ve done any significant amount of running and the story I’ve been telling myself is baloney!  What’s my purpose?  Why did I set out to do this in the first place?  What was the original driving force?  Well, truthfully, the story I was telling myself was that I was turning 40 and that I needed some monumental way to conquer this milestone.  The marathon was a perfect way to prove to myself and others that you can do something like this no matter what age.  Really?  Was that MY purpose?  I had sold myself that story.  I bought it….hook, line, and sinker!  Sure, my story carried my far enough to register for the marathon and train for it for at least a month however, it was not enough to carry me all the way through…through to the end; through to the vision I created for myself.

So what is the REAL story?  The real story is that I did not have a purpose that came from passion.  I didn’t have ‘WILL’ so, there was no ‘WAY’ I was going to accomplish this; especially after my set-back.  To discover the real story, I needed to go back to my passions.  So, I started with a list of things that feed my soul.  Interestingly enough, the first thing that I put at the top of that list was running and walking; especially in a beautiful place!  Oh, there are many other things on the list, such as dancing, singing, painting, drawing, a good conversation, connection with others, etc., but the very first thing I put on there was running!

So, now what do I do?  I’ve discovered that running nurtures my soul; especially when I run in a beautiful place.  Well, I have a beautiful place just 1.5 miles away from me called Independence Grove so, now what’s my excuse.  Well, now I have to remind myself that I run because it nurtures my soul….not because I am needing to conquer a milestone age, or because I need to lose weight (which I do), but because it nurtures my soul!  …because it makes me feel alive….because it fills me up with happiness & joy….because it inspires me…because I am worth it!

Ah….now that’s a much better track to be on!

Dependence – A marathon training revelation!

A minor marathon set-back came for me this past week as I continued to follow the marathon training program and run the prescribed miles each day of the week.  I noticed that the left side of my right front calf was tight and sore.  The muscle was also noticeably larger than my left, but my right leg was always like that.

Perhaps I am just growing that muscle with all of this running?  It’s possible however, when I ran six miles last Wednesday, I noticed that I could run without it hurting but, boy was it ever sore afterward.  I decided to listen to my body and simply walked my miles on Thursday but again, I was sore, tight, and stiff.  While I can walk without any pain (only strong discomfort), it is as if someone has placed a vice on my leg and ankle.

Knowing that I had a nine mile run scheduled for Saturday, I sought advice from many different professionals and experienced runners.  The resounding advice was to listen to my body, who was telling me, “I don’t think so!”

It was actually bittersweet!  For some strange reason, I was looking forward to accomplishing nine miles and hitting that milestone but, I also enjoyed staying home and sleeping-in, avoiding the  eighty degree, high humidity weather my colleagues were running  that morning.  I’m feeling a little bit guilty about that decision and a bit wise, all at the same time.  Time will tell whether or not I have curtailed my ability to finish a marathon or, I am a genius for taking a break so that I can come back ready to pack on the miles!

Either way, set-backs like this are a part of life and they teach us so many things about ourselves.  What have your job search set-backs taught you, as you continue on your job seeker’s marathon?

I’ve learned not to take my body for granted and how dependent I am upon
it running smoothly for me.  I’ve also learned that it is important to listen to your gut.  I have a leg that is screaming at me to “take a break,” and I’m wondering if I should run 9 miles?  Hello? We often get these screaming warning signals but fail to acknowledge them because we have a goal to accomplish and don’t want anything to get in the way; not even our health.

So, what warning signals are screaming at you?  What have you been ignoring that needs attention?  What are you ultimately dependent upon?

Marathon Challenge

Fabulous, Fearless, Foxy, Forty!  That was the bold theme I chose for myself this year as I turn forty.  I really didn’t like the idea of turning forty so, in an effort to face this big number head-on, I chose to conquer it by doing something radically challenging where I had no choice but to be fearless, and hopefully the result will be foxy; The Chicago Marathon!  Yes, I know.  I’m nuts!  I completely agree!  In fact, just one year ago, I recall having this conversation with someone where we both agreed that it was insane to run a marathon.  We couldn’t understand why anyone would want to put themselves through all that agony!  Well, now I am that somebody, and I am running the marathon to prove to myself that I really can do anything I set my mind to!  I often say to my clients and workshop attendees that “I am walking the walk, so I can talk the talk,” but in this case, perhaps I am ‘running the run, so I can show you the fun!”

Fresh Start
Since I didn’t want to give myself a way out of this, I thought about how I could further commit to running this marathon while making a positive impact.  With careful thought, I decided to run  in support of a cause that I care about; assisting job seekers and unemployed people.  So, Fresh Start of Illinois and their clients will benefit from my run.  It’s a perfect fit!  As I train and run a marathon, the job seekers who benefit from Fresh Start’s services have also been running their own marathon in the job search arena, which has radically changed in the last 3 years!  They have to acquire new skills, learn new tools and, are working  their interviewing muscles while having some good ‘running’ days and some not so good.  Either way, they have to keep persevering through it all.  I guess with Fresh Start relying upon me to complete the marathon, I have no way out of this now!

So, who do you have to be to run a marathon?  Focused, determined, stamina, faith, confidence, and fearlessness!  Every day you wake-up to run, you have to be focused on the goal; the outcome.  It takes loads of determination just to start a run each morning.  While running, you are building your stamina and every step you take is testing your faith because every step you take, you want to slow down, walk or stop all together.  But as you continue to push yourself through these things, you begin to increase your confidence, and that is the ultimate prize!  Well, that and a gorgeous body, right?
You see, it is the same thing for a job seeker.  Especially for those who have been searching for a job for more than a year, which unfortunately is a lot of people.  They have to wake-up every morning focused with determination on the goal.  They are also increasing their stamina in being able to stay in the game for a much longer run than they thought!  But as they continue to push themselves, they begin to increase their confidence with small wins until they have finally arrived at their marathon finish line, employment!  Well, that and uncanny resilience!

Your Challenge
A marathon is 26.2 miles, which is also the number of months many people are experiencing with unemployment.  In honor of them and in honor of each mile run, we are asking for a donation of $1 for each mile of the marathon!  That’s $26.20 (or more)!  Our goal is to raise $10,000 by race day and we would appreciate your donation as well as those around you!
Simply click and pledge your donation to help job seekers win their own personal job search marathon!  All proceeds go directly to Fresh Start of Illinois to support workshops, new member packets, special events, and other important programs serving the many job seekers in Lake County.

Follow Along…
Follow our progress and sign up to be included in the festivities on race day!
Follow me on my journey of the ups and downs of training for a marathon as I learn what it takes to keep pushing toward this 26.2 mile goal!
Check in with Fresh Start of Illinois.  Keep track of how we are doing with our goal of $10,000, leave your comments about your own ‘marathon’, and sign-up to receive special notices about our festivities on race day.  We’re making some special plans for race day and we’d love to have you join us!
Together, we can all be Fabulous, Fearless, and Foxy!  (You can add whatever number you want to that!)