A Big Juicy “No”

My fall “goal race” was this past weekend. Newport Half Marathon in Rhode Island. Got to check another state off my “have raced in” list and I achieved my goal. Luckily I set the bar low. The goal was merely to finish.

This is quite a change from where I was Columbus Day weekend last year…in the middle of my pursuit of a Boston Marathon qualifying time. Missing it in Chicago that weekend, I went on to run 2 more marathons in 29 weeks. When I still came up short last May at the NJ Marathon, I vowed to go back there in 2017. I have struggled ever since to get back to a regular training schedule that includes the needed strength training, cross training, and speed work. I just simply haven’t been able to find the time. I have made other things a priority.

Sometimes we have to say no to things that are important to us when we are saying yes to other important things. Sometimes we can’t honor all our values at once or maybe we need to find less time-consuming pursuits through which to honor them at that moment. “Personal Growth” is an important value of mine, which I wrote about a couple weeks ago. I am currently honoring that value by pursuing my Certification as a Professional Co-Active Coach. This is very time consuming when I am also a single parent and a have full-time day job.

I checked in with my sister, Jacqueline, last week to see how her training was going. She will be running the Dublin Marathon – her first – on October 30th. Her response to me was, “Can’t wait! Well to be honest, can’t wait to get it done. This marathon has completely consumed my life. I eat and sleep marathon training.” So glad she reminded me. At that precise moment I made the conscious decision that winter-spring 2017 would not be the right time to train for a BQ goal race. I’m saying a big juicy “No!” to that and saying yes to dedicating my time outside my full-time job to becoming a certified coach and to being with my girl and to running recreationally to simply stay fit and relieve stress. When the time is right, I can revisit other – maybe bigger – goals.

As a coach, I’m learning that creating balance is “about learning to be done rather than trying to always finish and about choosing the experiences we want to have rather than dashing about trying to have all of them.”

The most important thing to realize is that it’s a choice. Every day we make decisions to be where we are, doing what we’re doing. We are never stuck. We can stay doing the same thing that stresses us out or doesn’t energize us or doesn’t fully honor our values. But we have to understand that it’s a choice. Becoming conscious of the fact that it is indeed a choice, can, in itself, be transformative. It might be that simple shift, that change in our perspective, that can lead to transformative growth; even when the choice is to say no.

Saying yes this past weekend to “merely finishing” a half marathon honored my values of “achievement” (it was still a half marathon! and as I said, checked off another state), “determination” (it was raining, and windy, and cold) and “acknowledgement” (did I mention I got a finisher’s medal?). On top of all that, I had a really amazing weekend… 🙂

img_5211Easton’s Beach, Newport, Rhode Island. October 2016.

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