Sometimes you have to change the goal

This is something I wrote on September 23:

I’m currently not unfit, I’m just as not as fit as I once was. I used to run half-marathons through the forest after work like it was no thing. Today,  I struggle when I try to run 5km at a strong pace. This happened over time, slowly, with many singular decisions adding up as the months went on. Instead of running the Elk Lake 10km loop, I’ll do 5km on road. Instead hiking Mount Finlayson I’ll hike Mount Doug. Instead of a Sunday morning 18km run, I’ll lie around in bed with my boyfriend, Netflix and treats. 


I was going to post it alongside all sorts of promises on what I was going to do to get my fitness back. But I didn’t want to be that girl–the girl that complains and makes false promises without ever doing anything about it. I’ve been that girl before and she drives me crazy. Instead I decided to record my milestones and post it all at the end, retroactively.

September 24. I ran 8km on road and didn’t walk once. A good first step I’d say. I was slow and there were a lot of wheeze-like sounds, but it happened. It felt great.

October 8. I’ve been making some good life choices. Running further, harder and faster. It feels good. I feel different. It’s been easier than I thought it would be, deciding to push just a bit more each time I head outside.

October 16. Work is extremely stressful right now. Today I ate my feelings in the form of honey crueller(s) and pumpkin pie and got too sick to run. A setback and my tummy hurts.

photo (16)October 21. Between going on vacation, catching up from vacation, a lack of sleep, a cold, a heavy workload at my full time job, extra shifts at my part time job, and a minor injury (see gross toe at left) I’ve let my fitness slide over the last 10 days. When you’re where you want to be, this isn’t the worst, but when you’re working towards a goal it hurts the progress and momentum big time. And momentum is so important when it comes to fitness, at least for me.

November 6. I’m back on track. I went to Katie’s after work for a visit, with the intention of running afterwards in her neighbourhood because it’s nicer/safer than my own. She offered me food, wine, cuddles and TV and I declined and stuck with my plan to go running. This is huge. Also, I forgot how much I love evening runs in the fall and winter. I can’t believe I forget this feeling year after year.

November 17. Momentum is back. Fitness is back. I feel awesome. While I don’t think I could get out and run a half marathon tomorrow, I’m not far off. However I’m wondering if I even want to run a half marathon? At least right now? Something to figure out. It doesn’t seem so hard, in retrospect, getting in shape. Just a series of good choices to get up and get moving a little faster and harder than the last time.

Confession. As I’m slowly attaining my fitness goals, the 5-10 lbs I’ve put on in the last year have made it clear they aren’t moving as easily. It’s time to admit this mission was as much about that as it was being able to run a longer distance. While my running is more or less back on track, I’m going to have keep working pretty hard for awhile longer if I want pants that are less tight.

November 30. When I look at the month of December and it’s 60-hour work weeks, and visits from friends and family, and house hunting, and Christmas parties and shopping and just, everything, the thought of maintaining my fitness at this level throws me into a panic (I panic easily). I don’t have time for more panic. In order to continue what I’ve started, I’m going to have to give up one of the following: my job, my family and friends, my boyfriend, OR I just need to stop beating myself up for only getting in three moderately challenging activities each week. Still not sure what I’ll do (15)


December 13. I’m changing the goal because it’s my life and I do what I want. I feel happy and confident with where my fitness level is at and I intend to maintain it (and in the future hopefully improve it). The new goal is to have that same attitude towards my body. The time has come to accept the fact that I’m a woman in my 30’s who loves couch time and treats as much as I love running and vegetables. I’m healthy and that’s what matters. Being hard on myself for not logging 50km a week isn’t going to do me any good. Self-acceptance might.

So that’s the new goal. We’ll see what happens come January.


2 thoughts on “Sometimes you have to change the goal

  1. LOVE this. I say, unless you’re working on a strict training schedule before a particular race, there’s definitely no need to be hard on yourself. Exercise is exercise! If you sweat for 30 minutes 3 times each week, your body will thank you. Only twice? Then you must’ve watched a great movie, or had some darn good company. 🙂

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