The Big Gulp

Don’t care what anyone says… New Year’s is a great time to set goals. There’s a collective energy in the air, as everyone looks ahead, and we feed off each other’s dreams.

It’s a good time to tackle a goal that scares you a little, say the experts in human motivation; it’s how we grow. If the goal doesn’t intimidate you, it’s not pushing you out of your nest.

So I’ve picked a goal that scares me a lot. Gulp.

It’s been dancing around my mind for years, but every time I started to think about it seriously, my better sense took over and I backed away. Now it has taken over the front of my mind, probably because I’ve spent too much time between Christmas and New Year’s being idle. I hate being idle.

2018 is going to be the year I nail my first 100-mile race.

This is way out of my comfort zone. I’ve run a few 50-milers and all I could say at the finish was, “I survived.” Twice that? It’s going to take a lot of serious preparation. I can’t just wing it, the way I have many a shorter race.

I think there are three fronts I’m going to need to open:

  1. Physical training, obs: Plenty of good schedules online for ramping up to a hundred. Plus core strengthening, stretching, and cross-training to prevent injury while ramping.
  2. Nutrition: Need to lose a few LBs and improve the quality of my diet.
  3. Motivation: What am I going to tell myself at mile 65, in the dark, when I wonder “Why am I doing this?” There has to be one heckuva good answer.

By blogging this process, I’m on the hook. I can’t back down without public embarrassment.

Here and now, I’m committing to the goal. Because I am surrounded by others who tackle what they can’t imagine actually doing… the runners every year who cross the finish line of our SLO Marathon, many having run 26 miles for the first time. The teams, like Team Joseph, who push their disabled members so that everyone can be part of the accomplishment; the Grizzly Academy runners who come every year, a highlight in their commitment to learning a whole new approach to life; the Challenged Athletes, many of whom have found distance running to be a cure for both mind and body.

 Team Joseph Team Joseph

When I continually watch the elation of people overcoming real challenges, I can see myself in all kinds of situations that previously seemed utterly not-me. If they can, I can, too.

Every single thing in my life that has filled me with joy and exuberance and pride and confidence, everything that’s expanded me and my beliefs about myself… has been something that scared me initially. It led to people and places and experiences that I never anticipated. I have no idea where this will lead.

Please join me. Pick a big, scary goal… I mean something really BIG, something you’ve always thought about, but never dared… writing a book, going on Camino, learning to sail or fly, starting a business… and go on this journey with me, into the unknown.  I could really use the company.

Here’s to 2018, and our big, big goals!