Written by Green Fellow Flower, Jennifer Gard, Rockford, MI
I was fortunate to discover Fellow Flowers in August 2012. I can honestly say that it has taken my running to another level!
My Declare It Day (DID) 2014 goals were:
1. Run with a friend and first time marathon runner for a sub 4:00 hour marathon time—achieved!
2. Run a half marathon in 1:45, which scared me more than any other running goal I’d ever said out loud! This was a more personal goal for me.
Accepting the Challenge, With Courage
I got through the marathon in May to achieve goal number one and felt good about goal number two, although I knew it’d be a challenge. I had some great training runs and in the last couple of weeks leading up to the half marathon (which was in September) I had an amazing 10 mile training run with a 7:45 pace. I was so excited and pumped! It definitely was a morale booster. The weekend of the race I was a nervous wreck. When I say things out loud, I want to achieve them so bad!
I chose the Green Flower—Courage! In the half marathon, I was running with another friend of mine and we agreed we could split up if need be. I started out strong, running on pace for the first 10-11 miles, then I slowed way down and “hit a wall.” The “I can’t do this” voices in my head came rushing at me and as the 1:45 pacers ran passed me. I felt defeated and deflated; it just sucked! I crossed the finish line at 1:46.
I did not reach my DID goal, and it was tough for me to accept. I was sad, mad and discouraged, but after a little while, I thought about how amazing it is that I even get to run and how amazing that time really was for me and how far I had come over the last 11 years of running—beginning with a 5 hour marathon time to a personal record (PR) of 3:49 and running a half marathon in 1:46 instead of my old PR of 1:54. I had worked hard and I had achieved unwritten goals.
It might not have been what I set out for, but it taught me that it’s okay and courageous to say something out loud, make a goal that isn’t comfortable and just go for it. I did attempt my DID goal again a couple of weeks later and still missed it but I didn’t get so down on myself over that one. I guess the lesson I learned is it’s okay to not achieve every goal and that sometimes it’s good to know that feeling, as bad as it might be in the moment.
Lessons I Learned
Afterwards, I posted about my DID goal on the Fellow Flower webpage, and Mel ended up sharing and writing about it. That brought tears to my eyes because she can write things in a way that I never could – and she hit the nail on the head. I have Mel’s message over and over again to continue to remind myself that the journey is just as, if not more, important as the goal. Also, lessons can be learned through that journey whether the goal is achieved or not.
As far as 2015 goes, I would love to take minutes off my marathon PR and maybe, just maybe, get a best qualifying (BQ) time. I’m also participating in a Spartan race with my husband, which is totally out of my comfort zone. I think I’m going into “goal” writing differently this year and with a new understanding, respect and courage that my goals can be anything, whether I achieve them or not. I will learn from them, grow from them and I can always try again.