goal-setting, the half-marathon, and other things

yes, more on this new and improved tess, the runner who never writes. i’m not sorry.

as i move through this half-marathon training program, i’m doing a lot more thinking about the why of it all. and how meeting this goal might change me – or rather, how i hope it changes me. i know i wrote about some of the reasons earlier, but there’s more to it, i’m realizing. bear with me while i hash this out.

part of me thinks it’s about doing something good (as in, be a Healthy Person Who Exercises) for myself, and while that is certainly a big portion of it, that’s not all there is to my reasoning. in reading this post by one of the women training alongside me in this particular program, and this one from nicole (who, you know, is awesome), i’m starting to fully grok that this goal is very much about changing my self-perception and my story.

i worry. a lot. about lots of things. right now, the top of the Worry List is finding a job – when will i? why am i only hearing no right now? why is EVERYONE ELSE getting a job??? but i also worry, a great deal, about what other people think of me. i worry at parties that i won’t have anything to say, that i’ll say the wrong thing (not that it’ll be inappropriate, but that i’ll reveal myself to be a complete idiot), that i’ll do something…wrong. i worry that people are sick of hearing me talk about jobs. i worry that people who i have known for a long time secretly roll their eyes when i walk out of a room. i worry, i worry, i worry.

and i hate it. it’s my least favorite quality in me.

so i set this half-marathon goal, and i am starting to realize that my worries come back to some self-esteem issues i am dealing with as i grow up (see: me at parties). meeting this goal of the half-marathon is tightly woven into my goal of changing how i view myself.

this is how i want to see myself: as a woman who takes care of herself. as a woman who stands tall. as a woman who….this is totally corny, but says “bring it” more often to things in life that seem out of my reach.

right now, i’m not 100% there. that’s cool. i’m working on it. each week of this training has little goals (run 20 minutes, do this strength training workout, do that warm-up, take this day to rest), and so far, i’ve met them all. and it is SO easy to do that. and setting aside 20-30 minutes almost every day to do this thing that only i am doing? it’s helping. i’m feeling a bit more like, yeah, i got this. bring it. i’m feeling healthier, i’m feeling proud that i am three-ish weeks in and sticking to the plan, and i’m enjoying meeting the challenges this brings.

i’ve also started to take note of what food and drink make me feel like – carb-heavy meals are still my favorite thing, but too much and i feel sluggish. i love a glass of red wine in the evening, but two glasses and i sleep terribly and am more likely to ignore the alarm in the morning. i’ve even changed my face-washing habits because, y’all, sweat makes you break out, so i wash my face in the morning AND evening. i’ve started searching for cross-training exercises that i might not ordinarily try – hulu and netflix have loads of yoga and pilates videos that take 20 minutes and give me something new to do. i’m also super proud of myself for going for a run BEFORE 7 yesterday morning. dang. i am awesome.

this year has not been easy. i’m taking a ton of classes, the job search is not designed for someone with as little patience as i have, and there is some scary ish going on with someone i love. i’ve felt out of control (and way more weepy) this year, and i want that to change. i KNOW i cannot control everything, but i want to be someone who is mostly okay with that fact. this half-marathon, i can control. and i think setting a goal that i am in charge of is helping me focus my control-freak-energy on one thing, and letting myself breathe a bit about the others. plus, running gives my brain some time to sort through the debris and find order.

i don’t think there is a point to this post. maybe there is and i’ll see it later. but i know that i’m loving training for this, i’m loving telling people that i’m training for a half-marathon (and i love that it’s 13.1 in ’13. this satisfies me.), and i’m really loving having some bright and shiny thing to achieve. i have lots going on this summer – moving, starting a fantastic new career, and all sorts of Big Grown-up Things. having this one selfish goal is, i think, going to really help me make these other changes go a little more smoothly, because i’ll have this constant goal in mind. and i feel certain that it will change me for the better, to the person i’d like to become, to a person who worries less about how others feel, because it doesn’t change who i am.

p.s. i think i’m pretty fantastic, in general. i just want to be better. this is not a “woe is me, tell me i’m pretty” post. this is an honest post. please do not interpret it as a cry for help!