It’s good to set goals in life. It’s also good to accomplish them. Over the last few years I’ve set some goals for myself. Some of them sound good, but are generic and almost vague. An example of that would be my New Year’s resolution for 2012, which was “to make it better.” Now, as vague and all encompassing as it is, it’s also a good resolution and goal. The year is half over and I can say without question that, so far, I’ve done that.
I’ve had a gym membership for a little over 6 years and I’ve regularly gone there. I’m not one of the guys that has the membership and barely goes. During my period of unemployment last year I was at the gym almost every day. My first goal at the gym (6 years ago) was to drop the excess weight I had added in the summer of 2006. I did that. From there, I didn’t really have a goal other than to build some muscle.
Earlier this year I realized my workouts had become way too routine and somewhat stale. I asked a few people for advice and for some new goals. From one of those conversations came a challenge. My sister, who has run 5 marathons (as of this writing), challenged me to a 5k race. I accepted the challenge and immediately started working on running that distance on treadmills at my gym.
I had been doing regular cardio activities at the gym, but they lacked focus. Now I had something specific to strive for. Over the course of a few weeks I had decreased my 5k treadmill time from 32 minutes to 26.5 minutes. At this point, I was sure I could do a real race. Unfortunately, my sister and I couldn’t find a time to do one that fit with both of our schedules and I stopped practicing.
I’m a fan of professional wrestling and I follow many wrestlers on Twitter and other social networks. Diamond Dallas Page is one of the wrestlers I follow. I’ve been a fan of his for many years, and I used to talk to him a little bit in the mid-1990s on AOL. He developed his own Yoga program, called DDP Yoga. I had heard a lot about it from DDP himself, various wrestlers, and other people as well. I decided to give it a shot. Upon trying it, I IMMEDIATELY became a big time fan of the program and I recommend it to anyone that wants to do “own their lives” as DDP says.
How does DDP Yoga fit into my 5k story? Well, just keep reading.
My sister and I attended a Yankees game in June. At the game, I mentioned to her that there would be a 5k race in my hometown on September 1st. She said “let’s do it” and we both signed up. At this point I was already working on my first 13 week DDP Yoga program. When August came around I started getting serious about my 5k training at the gym. I never got my time as low as I had before, but I had much better paces that I had before.
Due to my good performances on the treadmill, I was sure I could do the real race easily. Then I did the actual path of the 5k in a practice. That was a really big time rude awakening for me. My legs did NOT like running out on pavement. Not to mention that my lungs didn’t like it either, especially since it seemed that everyone had mowed their lawns the day I tried it the first time. I ended up walking A LOT of the path and I finished it in somewhere around 37 minutes. At this point I continued to practice the distance and timing on treadmills and did a few more outdoor runs. The outdoor runs were never really good. I began to question my ability to do the race in any respectable time. Now don’t get me wrong, I would have felt a sense of accomplishment as soon as I crossed the finish line, regardless of the time, but I didn’t want to JUST finish it.
I’ve often been accused of planning things out too much. Well, I didn’t plan anything for the timing of the race and the DDP Yoga schedule, but the final workout on my 13 week plan just happened to be the day of my race. It worked out well for me. Throughout the time that I had been getting ready for the race I would post updates on my Twitter account and use the hashtag #intraining. The day of the race I used #culmination. Because that’s exactly what it was. The 5k race meant a lot more to me than just a race. I had put A LOT of time and effort into this and now it was time to do it.
At about 9:10 am on September 1st, the gun was shot and we were off. My goal was to finish the race in 30 minutes or under. I thought that was doable with my sister helping me. My sister was by my side the entire time and she didn’t want us to walk any of the path. I did my best to do not have to walk any of it, and I didn’t slow my run down to a walk until a little more than half way through the race, which I can tell you is SIGNIFICANTLY better than I had done on any of my practices. I didn’t walk for very long, and I went right back to the running. I think I slowed down maybe 2 more times before we made that final push to the finish line.
The race ended on the track at the high school. When we came around the curve and I saw the time on the clock, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I picked up the pace a little bit. My sister and I crossed the finish line together with a time of (unofficially) 29 minutes and 45 seconds. I did it! I finished the race and I met every goal I had for the event.
Throughout my life I had often felt I couldn’t do anything right. I wasn’t very good as the sports I had played. My grades weren’t great. Very often I lacked the drive to get something done well. On September 1, 2012 at about 9:39am, I erased my doubts. I had set a specific goal and I accomplished it. The feeling of pride I have over that one event will never go away.
Will I run more races in the future? It’s likely, but my schedule doesn’t allow it at the moment. I don’t want that to sound like an excuse, because doing so would almost completely negate the previous paragraph. I’m just stating that my current schedule isn’t compatible with many scheduled races that I’ve seen listed. That doesn’t mean I won’t take steps to allow my schedule to change. I can say for certain that my determination has never been stronger. It’s a very good feeling. By accomplishing something as specific as crossing that finish line in under 30 minutes, I’ve become more sure of myself. Instead of just having the “been there, done that” attitude that I very well could have from it, I have the “I can do it” attitude that I’ve been developing for a while, but didn’t really have. I had a specific goal, and I did it. It’s a good feeling.
And before I end this entry I have to thank everyone that supported me on this. That includes all the people that texted me encouragement, all the people that replied to my tweets, and even the people at my job that worked with me and allowed me to have the time off. An extra special thanks goes out to Diamond Dallas Page for his program that gave me the extra strength and confidence in my ability, and of course to my sister. I know I’ve said a few times that *I* did it and *I* accomplished my racing goal and I did, but I couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks again.