Celebrate Your Accomplishments, Even When There’s a Delay

By Meghan Sullivan

Meghan Sullivan
Meghan Sullivan

First, congratulations to all who participated in the 2016 California International Marathon (CIM). Whether you ran a relay leg or the whole thing, whether you finished or not, you chose to participate and that is a huge feat.

This post was originally supposed to be my celebration for completing my first full marathon.  But in early November, I chose to defer my race entry to 2017.  Life had other plans for me and when I came down with bronchitis and the flu about the time I should have been doing 15-20 mile training runs, I decided to do what was best my body and rest. After a very painful half marathon mid-November, I knew I’d made the right decision.

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Sunday, when I wasn’t getting up and joining thousands of other runners, I had a strange mix of feelings. But just because I didn’t run CIM this year, that doesn’t mean I can’t celebrate my accomplishments. Simply registering for CIM and knowing I could actually complete it (had circumstances been right) is a big deal for me. I never thought I’d ever consider running a full marathon.

I started “running” in 2012. I completed the Inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon in Anaheim. The support I received from my family and the fun we had on that race trip made me determined to sign up for another race. And with the decision to run another race, I also chose to make sure to get better, decrease the pain and increase my speed.

For a long time, I still refused to call myself a runner because I mostly walked and jogged and even when I did run it was at a very slow pace. But I kept going and I kept signing up for races, mostly because I realized it helped me stave off rough bouts of depression. And I started to get faster. I started to jog more and walk less and could even get some decent splits now and then. But I still didn’t think of myself as a runner.

Around the time I completed my fourth half marathon, a friend asked me when I’d do a full. My answer was a resounding “Never.” But I kept running and around the time of my 10th half marathon, I started to consider doing the full 26.2 miles.

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted that accomplishment. I knew it would require a commitment to train and a mental preparedness to get through that famed “wall.” But I wanted to be able to say I did it, at least once in my life. So in the summer of 2016, I registered for the CIM and started calling myself a runner.

But I didn’t race this past Sunday. And I’m okay with that. It doesn’t make me a failure. And it doesn’t make me less of a runner. It means I’m confident in my abilities and know what I can and can’t take on. And those realizations alone are huge milestones.

Don’t be afraid to take those large leaps in life. But, don’t be afraid to back away if it’s not quite right. Recognizing your limitations is powerful and does not make you a failure. You really can do anything, but sometimes some things require some preparation and there is no shame in waiting until you are prepared, as long as you do make that leap when you’re ready.

And there’s always next year.

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