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Starting positions (Byline to Finish Line blog)

posted by Byline to Finish Line
Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 2:26pm EST

A chronicle of a sports reporter who ditched the sideline to discover her own power and strength by taking up endurance sports in her 30's.

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I strapped my Garmin on my wrist, wrapped my head in fleece and headed out the door. It was a beautiful morning with a brilliantly blue sky, bright sun and crisp, cool air. The intention was to do 5 miles at my easy pace (determined by my friend and general running guru Sue) then end up back on my street to do six sets of striders. (Running about half a block really fast. Rest. Repeat.) This is my first week back to formal training and my first time running with a watch in nearly two months. But over the last few years I have learned some valuable life lessons:

  1. The workout is always doable.
  2. If for some reason I don’t do the workout like I am supposed to (i.e. I’m too slow), nothing catastrophic will happen. For real. The world will continue to spin on its axis and my fitness continues to improve, even if I don’t believe I’ve been able to properly quantify it.

My Garmin screen was set to show my distance and average pace. Not having run with a watch for weeks now, I’m not quite sure where my speed is and wanted to keep an eye on it. The first two miles were OK but it took me a while to warm into the run. Mile 3 was, whoa, fast. Mile 4 was back in my easy pace range. Then came Mile 5 and I felt, well, I felt fantastic. I started to pick it up just a bit. And I crushed that final mile. Granted, that was exactly what my workout plan was for the day. But I smiled. Because the reality hit me:

I’m not in as bad shape as I thought.

After two months of informal workouts and a focus on yoga to build balance, strength and flexibility, I wasn’t sure where my running would be at. I was prepared for it to be a struggle, but as this week has unfolded, I learned I was in a pretty good spot. There is plenty of room to grow. There is plenty of work to do. There is a certain future of hard, challenging days which leave me wanting to throw up and cry at the same time. (That is a physical impossibility. I know. I’ve been there.) But the place in which I am starting from? Turns out, it’s not so bad. I’m in a good position, with a solid base and plenty of opportunity to reach and stretch and step into a bigger things.

This, of course, is not limited to running. As I revise my first novel, I see that while there is plenty of work that needs to be done, I have a great grounding. I am in a spectacular position to move my project forward. If I take a few minutes, I am sure I can see dozens of ways in my life, big and small, that I am in a better starting position than I give myself credit for. Instead of seeing how far it is I have yet to go, I can celebrate where I am today. Because as it turns out, today is pretty awesome.

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