I participated in the Melbourne Marathon 3k Walk last Sunday. This was a big deal. Huge. Sure, it wasn’t a marathon. Or even the 5k run. But I crossed an item off my bucket list.
You see, a few years back I was training for a 10km run. I wanted to do it, to cross the finish line.
Then I became critically ill.
I didn’t know if I would live.
Even when I lived, the side effects of medication were so horrific I would tear muscles by simply walking. Surely being in an event like the Melbourne Marathon was beyond me.
As you can imagine, crossing that finish line at the MCG on Sunday was a big deal.
Some of the lessons I learnt from this journey.
I’m sharing these in case they help someone else:
1. POSITIVE ATTITUDE
To be completely honest, I did give up on this dream for a while. I couldn’t see it happening. Yet I could never quite give up. Once I committed, I made sure my mindset was solid – realistic, positive.
Being a meditation teacher, I love this one. During meditation I would sometimes visualise myself training, doing the event, crossing a finish line, holding my medal. I could almost feel the medallion in my fingers. I would even feel the gratitude for the achievement. Generating positive vibes.
This involved really tuning into my body. During physio, exercise, even throughout the day. Learning when I was reaching those limits, the little ‘tells’ before the damage occurs.
Being aware of my limits – and of my “inner critic” who fills my mental news-feed with negatives. Knowing what’s happening in my body and my mind helped navigate training to push hard enough – without damage.
4. SETBACKS AREN’T FATAL
There were many setbacks as I recovered. The medicine that keeps me alive has side effects such as muscles tears.
My right calf muscle has torn too many times to count. Each time training would start again…another muscle tear.
Yet no set back was fatal. There was a lesson in each, about how to treat my body. About building strength slowly. Slowly this stubborn goat learned those lessons.
Those setbacks may have been fatal – if they became an excuse.
5. DON’T BE TOO PROUD
I have a stubborn streak. It’s bigger than the MCG. They say it’s a Capricorn thing. The physio would give instructions to strengthen those weak muscles. Being a stubborn old goat, these instructions would be followed…for a time. Then I’d try to train. Again.
Progress really started when I sucked up my pride. It was hard. But I saw I was in a vicious cycle. When I sucked up my pride and did what the physio said – all of it, without cheating – those muscles healed. Over time they strengthened.
I can now walk down the street or take the stairs without fearing a muscle tear.
6. MODIFY, ADAPT, CONTINUE
While I would LOVE to have run on Sunday, it wasn’t realistic. Despite strides forward, the risk of a tear from running was too great.
Yet I desperately wanted to cross a finish line.
This could be achieved – without a muscle tear – by modifying the dream. And the run became a walk.
Sure, I didn’t run. But I was part of the action. Those huge event vibes were incredible! I crossed a finish line and received a participation medal in the legendary MCG.
7. CELEBRATE ACHIEVEMENTS – NO MATTER HOW SMALL
When my teens-in-residence saw my participant medal they didn’t understand the fuss. “It’s just a medal. I have heaps.” The other stated “Its only 3km." Thanks guys. This is a first medal, one I truly never thought could happen.
Celebrate, I say! Celebrate!
The size of the success doesn’t matter. Recognise what it took to get there.
So what’s next? My physio has cleared me to start a return to running program. In the meantime – there’s a 5km colour run next month.
Hmmm I’d better read my own advice…
Have a great day