When is the right time (for exercise, or...)?

I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving weekend with some quality friend, family, and food time! I enjoyed spending the weekend with my family and David's. Multiple celebratory meals, football (Go Huskies and Hawks!), and the Seattle Marathon rounded the weekend out. More on my marathon adventure below...

How many times have you thought about doing something once you're in better shape? Once you've lost more weight? Once you feel more confident? Once you feel better about yourself? Once you feel more prepared?

This inner critic resides in all of us, and when it wins it stops us from doing what we want to do. It claims we will do whatever that thing is that we want to do "later", once x/y/z happens, and claims it will be "better" that way. But should we really wait?

I signed up for the Seattle Marathon this summer, back when my prior self thought my future self would commit to a time-intensive marathon training schedule. This was an ambitious task, given my month-long sabbatical, tae kwon do belt test, and hawaii vacation all fell in between. In the end, the running hiatus continued (oops).

I felt my inner critic start creeping in after my sabbatical - questioning my choices like tae kwon do training, bulletproof training, friend time, and R&R on vacation. The "I should be running instead" thought would creep in, and it created conflict with the activities I wanted to do - massive FOMO. Yet the other activities won out, and I only ran four times September through November with my longest run being 7 miles (for context, typical marathon training plans have you run 3-4 times per week, with a max distance of 20 miles!)

I started to ask myself over the past couple weeks if it was the "right" time for me to run the race. I hadn't been running enough, I wasn't practiced enough, and I wasn't feeling mentally tough enough. I needed to revisit WHY I was doing the marathon and decide if I was still aligned with that purpose. It was important for me to put forth my best effort, to not back down from something just because it seemed hard, and to stay accountable to registering. I envisioned how I would feel at the finish, how much sweeter it would be given how difficult it would be, and knew no matter what happened, I would give it my best shot and that's all that mattered.

Spoiler alert - I started and did not finish the marathon. I REALLY thought I was going to finish it too. At mile 3 I was happy to be well on my way and feeling strong. At mile 6 aches and pains started creeping in. At 13.1 I felt confident i would finish despite the discomfort. At 16.2 I knew worst case scenario I could comfortably walk the remaining distance and make the cut off. Once you have less than 10 miles to go you really feel like you are in the home stretch!

The training miles not only prep your legs, but prep your mind for the hours you are on the course. I expected it to be a mental battle and it was! Though I did not expect to physically become unable to finish. I had to stop at mile 18 after a severe bout of hip bursitis left me unable to walk (thank you David for picking me up!) I learned the hard way that I need to train more to successfully run the marathon distance. But I also learned my mental strength is stronger than any physical shortcoming. I wanted to most importantly give it my all and know that I did my best. And my best today was 18 miles instead of 26.2, and I'm okay with that.

Today's outcome reinforced my decision to start the race and gave me perspective. I am still a runner even when I'm not fully trained, or not as fast as I used to be, and I don't need to wait. Today got me truly feeling dialed back in with the running community, and now I'm ready to pick up the pace and start planning for next year!

My advice to you - if there is any x/y/z thing you are holding back from now, waiting for the "perfect" time… pause and ask yourself why you want to do that x/y/z thing. Why is it important? How will waiting serve you? And how might NOT waiting serve you better? Your thoughts, given the time and space they deserve, may surprise you! ...so what are you waiting for?