Chasing Helen celebrates 2 years this month! In early 2017, having recently qualified for the Boston Marathon, I decided to create a blog to share my journey and encourage others to set goals and chase them down. In my first post, I challenged you to answer the question: who are you chasing?
Chasing Helen is about chasing yourself. I’m chasing Helen. You’re chasing ______ (insert your name). Two years later, I have run the Boston Marathon (in weather of epic proportions), re-qualified and currently training for Boston Round II. This time with a coach, adding more miles to my weekly training plan and getting help from a physical therapist — all things I’ve never done before.
Just this past weekend, I ran the BB&T Corporate Cup Half Marathon in Charlotte. The “tune-up” race served as a way to check in on my fitness level with only 6 weeks until Boston. I was most excited to run with so many friends and see what kind of PR John could snag this time around.
There are no finish lines.
David Goggins’s says it best in his book, Can’t Hurt Me. “There are no finish lines.” An ultra-endurance athlete, retired Navy SEAL, Guinness World Record holder for most pull-ups in 24 hours (4,030 in 17 hrs), Goggins knows no bounds. He reminds us: “there are no short cuts, there’s no trick to it, you have to put in the hard work.”
You will always be chasing yourself. Now don’t get me wrong, you can choose to sit, stand, roll around in place going nowhere special, if you want. That’s up to you. But that won’t get you anywhere. The best way is forward.
Did you fail at something? Make a mistake? Trip and fall? Good. There’s an opportunity to learn, grow and improve. Get up, dust yourself off. Keep going.
Did you succeed? Awesome! Celebrate that. But know that doesn’t mean you’re done. There are no finish lines. When you succeed, that just means you have more left in the tank. More to give. More work to do.
At least, that’s what I learned on Saturday. I set a goal that I knew I could accomplish at a pace I had run before. I didn’t expect to run a personal record on the hilly course with a net uphill.
Thanks to Will, who paced me, my legs that carried me, and a little pride when I realized my placement on the course, I ran 74 seconds faster than my PR, crossing the finish line in 1:27:51 and 2nd overall female.
Joke’s on me. Know why? I underestimated myself. There was way more in the tank than I allowed myself to believe. I chose a safe goal. But safe goals don’t push you. They don’t cause you to fail. If you never fail, you are not going to get better.
Don’t get me wrong — I celebrated on Saturday! I rested on Sunday. And when I woke up on Monday, I got back to work. Sure, I physically crossed a finish line, but I’m nowhere close to finishing.
What’s up ahead? More hills, faster miles, failure, success, tears, joy. It’s all part of the process. And we’re just talking about running. Not to mention life itself! Hills and valleys. Life is full of hills and valleys. But no finish lines.
You are nowhere close to done.
So go forward. Don’t be afraid to fail or look silly or mess up. Celebrate the wins. Learn from the losses. But goodness gracious, whatever you do, keep going!
See you out there.