I’m the kind of tired where, by 8 am at work I want to just lay my head down on my desk and sleep.
This is the kind of tired which proves to me that there is no amount of coffee in the world to pep me up, and that my body is just plain beat up.
But this tired is also something I am beyond proud of because I created this exhaustion.
Why would anyone create this kind of push for themselves and then be proud of that?
The answer is so simple it hurts.
Let me back up and start by saying I am many things, but they key roles in my life that you should know include mother, non-profit executive, mother, wife, and runner.
It’s that last one I’ve been struggling with lately, even though it is the one that has propelled me to those other titles in my life.
Being a runner is something I am proud to claim.
I don’t claim to be fast or skinny, or even that running is something that I am good at.
But it is something that, even when I have tried to give it up, I push through and continue moving forward through.
And the source of pride I feel? It’s because I am choosing to stick through something at which I am actively failing.
Except when I’m not.
When i started running, my goals were to get through distances I had never done before – run my first 5k, or 10k, or half marathon or marathon.
And then I made myself goals for improving my time.
While I was consistently improving using those guides as my measures, I wasn’t actually improving by the one measure I refused to share with anyone (sometimes even lying to myself).
I wasn’t being consistent.
I would have a great run one day and then take days, weeks, or even months off.
And then I would start again, setting myself new goals for time or distance. Since I was hitting those goals which people saw me set and heard me speak about, no one knew I was actually digging myself deeper and deeper into disappointing myself.
In my work as a non profit executive, I know that if the foundation of whatever you are trying to achieve is not strong, then nothing else really matters, even if you are hitting financial or other goals.
But if the system by which you are setting out to achieve those goals is busted, at some point it will all catch up with you.
And so, at work, I spend a lot of time, care, and effort making sure there are no cracks in our foundation. And, if there are cracks, we repair them before we move on to anything that comes after.
And after failing to even attempt to run a race I had recently signed up for, I knew I wasn’t applying the same scrutiny to myself that I apply to work.
This time, the goal has not been time or distance (although those things inherently follow training for longer distances). This time, my entire focus is on consistency.
This time, I am already proud of myself because 3 weeks into this training, and I have not missed a run yet or thrown away the plan (as I have done every time before).
This time, I want to feel pride over all the work I put in to GET to the race, as opposed to focusing just on the race itself.
Because if I keep going as I am currently, I’ve already set a personal record. And for me, it’s the most important one to date.