Taking My Own Advice

I am great at giving advice and for a little while, in short spurts, I am good at taking my own advice. Unfortunately, when it really counts, when it is time to go to the mattresses, I often lose the plot and forget any advice I have ever received or given. But with a new goal in place it is time to take my own advice.

Yesterday I asked your advice on whether to train for a Boston Qualifying time or to run a marathon in the fall just for fun. After reading replies from Facebook, Reddit, Twitter and through my blog, I have decided to do both. I have signed up for the Lehigh Valley Marathon in September as a Boston Qualifier and I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon for the fun of it almost six weeks later.

I would like to say that the advice I am following is my own advice or that I remembered it all on my own, but no. My readers and of course, Coach Jeff reminded me of bits of advice I have offered in the past.

1. Put on your own oxygen mask first – For the past year I have told myself this over and over again and yet I still say I am too busy to really train. My excuse has been that I was too busy supporting my daughter to worry about training. But yesterday I received a great piece of advice from a young lady who also struggled with depression.

“Your daughter is going through a hard fight right now, but ultimately only she can fight it. You can be supportive and help in any way you can, but you cannot stop tending to your own needs and desires. It will just make it harder for both of you.”

I know she is right. I know that my daughter worries about me as much as I worry about her and if I stop putting her in that position, then it is one less thing on her plate and I am still supporting her.

2. You eat an elephant one bite at a time – Even though I am in an older age group now and my qualifying time is only 3:55, I am still quite nervous about this goal. But yesterday, Coach Jeff reminded me of how I trained for the Beach to Battleship Ironman. He reminded me that I looked at one workout at a time. I did not think about the week that lay ahead, instead I looked at the next workout and focused only on that until the job was done.

3. Yesterday does not equal tomorrow – This is an important one to keep in mind, especially since I have been struggling with my own depression for the past several months. Last week I spent three days barely moving. It took everything I had to get out of the bed and move to the shower or the couch. But then Saturday morning I woke up and decided that yesterday does not define what today will be. I spent the day playing with my youngest son at the Maryland Science Center. This is a lesson I will need to remember throughout this training cycle because it is so easy to think because I skipped a workout today I have ruined everything. Instead I need to remember yesterday was yesterday and today is a new day.

This morning I went to the gym. I got my 45-minute run strength workout in and I feel good. Now that it is done, I have peeked ahead to tomorrow, a bike workout. Now I focus on that one. And one bite at a time I will get through this. One bite at a time I will prove to myself that I am an athlete. But most importantly, one bite at a time, I will show my daughter that I am taking care of myself and I am doing that for both of us.