However. However. I am not a natural cynic. I know that, as we get older, we should be getting more cynical and I have, truly, gained some cynicism, mostly I am still pretty gullible and skip into life like a lamb with amnesia. As a result it takes me forever to learn life lessons. Forever. Truly! I was overweight for about 12 years before I figured out I had to exercise AND eat less. Every time I would go on some whacko diet, lose a few pounds, and then give up. How long, for example, can a person live without carbohydrates? To prove my point - when moving house this past summer I realised I actually have three - yes 3! - exactly identical copies of the Atkins Diet Revolution. Good lord! It clearly didn't work when I tried out the first copy, then like a goldfish I must have walked into a bookshop filled with self-loathing and excess weight, thought "hey! That Atkins diet looks like a great idea!", bought a second copy, failed again, and then walked in a third time and thought "hey! That Atkins diet looks like a great idea!".
So. That actually proves two things. One that I'm not cynical, and two that personal growth for me is slooooooooooow.
However. I did, finally, at some point when I was very very low, very very heavy and very very filled with self-loathing, decide "no more excuses". With insight that had eluded me for years I realised that I had made myself fat and unhappy and that I had to stop making myself fat and unhappy. Once again I went on a diet. WeightWatchers online this time. And I started to exercise. Most importantly, I chose to ignore the voice of failure in my head that told me I was incapable of losing weight and exercising with any success and I made myself go round a .9 mile circuit on our farm. Walking or running, struggling to get round. But, as so many of you realise, after a while you do get round without stopping. And after a while, the combination of a healthy diet and exercise do create weight loss. And more than all of this - after a while it finally penetrated through my very thick and learning-resistant skull that I can lose weight and exercise.
And so, before like a good protestant I contemplate all the areas in which I can self-improve, I am patting myself on the back. For, at some point, turning the supertanker of destiny around and getting onto this road. Initially I did it to lose weight and get fit. But it has brought me so much more than that. Self-confidence and inner strength (no small things, really). Not to mention some amazing friendships. But the biggest thing it has taught me is that I can change who I think I am. Someone as fat and incompetent as I believed myself to be 6 and a half years ago has now qualified for Boston. It is, of course, not at all about Boston qualifying itself, but about the fact that I would not have ever believed that I was ever going to be capable of something so seriously athletic as that. 6 and a half years ago I would have ruled myself out of that for life because that sort of goal was not for people like me. I have, bit by bit, learned that I maybe am not just the person I thought I was at 31. I am capable of much more than I thought then. And when I find myself assailed by the challenges of life I think of this. Change is possible, however hard it may seem. And however slowly it comes.
So now I try to take the attitude that I have to keep on trying. Maybe not bang my head into the same wall three times (see above) but still.
So my goals for 2010?
- I have athletic goals. Continuing to strive to achieve is good for me. I am scared of being accountable to others and myself and to put myself out there, athletically. I still have a struggle thinking of myself as someone who should even be out there at a sporting event. So for me racing is being very accountable. I can't lie. So I am going to carry on racing.
- I have strategic goals. I want to run Boston well. I may have BQed in Berlin but I ran it badly. I ran too fast, messed up my nutrition and lost my strategy. For Boston, my goal is not a time-based one but to see whether I can begin to work out a race strategy that will work. Ideas welcome.
- I have personal goals. These are the tricky ones. I could be specific but really - the overall goal I have is to try to spot the ruts in my life when I can and to shake myself out of them. When I am stuck, I have to do whatever I can (the opposite of me, anyone?) to move out of the rut. Not until I am out will I be able to see what I need to do to move on.
Finally - a quick update on running life. I have managed to maintain most of my running schedule over Christmas, despite wine drinking and snow.
Thank you Yaktrax!