We interrupt our regularly scheduled wildlife and nature photos to talk about a goal that I recently achieved last Saturday. If you can’t tell from the picture, I was in utter disbelief at the size and scope of what I had just done. Even as I write this, it still seems like a dream.
I’m a big fan of creating challenging goals and trying to accomplish them to see just how far we as human beings can push ourselves, and the latest was to complete a half marathon.
Let me break it down for you here.
I enjoy running, but for the most part, I wasn’t doing much more than a 5k (3.1 miles) twice a week. Maybe on a good day, I could push it to 5 miles, which is still outstanding by many standards. Have you ever felt that you were capable of much more though? That’s how I felt because I had a mental barrier in my head telling me that I couldn’t achieve more.
In late August, I decided to up the ante… train for a half marathon and complete one by year end. It seemed impossible, but I came up with a routine and nutrition plan that realistically worked for me and my schedule, which made the decision to commit to it much more achievable. There are endless free articles on the internet to reference, so I used several to come up with a plan to fit my needs.
What I didn’t anticipate – not running whatsoever for two weeks after making that commitment, as that’s when we went to Maine on vacation. In all fairness, I did pack my running gear for the trip, so I had the best intentions to train. As you’ve been seeing with the photos I’ve been posting (there’s still more to come), it was a very eventful vacation with a lot of hiking, so it wasn’t like I was slacking.
When I came home, I knew I had to make up for lost time. I decided to just run as long as I could until I couldn’t any more, and to my surprise, it was a lot further than I expected… 10 MILES! I blew through that mental barrier like a freakin’ frieght train. It was exhausting, but I learned an extremely valuable lesson, ‘The Wall’ is real. After about 90 minutes of running or so, my body had essentially run out of energy and things got really painful.
With no mental block, I made a new goal. If I could run the distance of a half marathon the following weekend, I would sign up for the next one in our area. Wouldn’t you know I actually was able to pull it off on September 30th?! I have a very strange reward system for myself, but a deal was a deal. On October 20th, I registered for the Rosendale Runs Half Marathon.
20 days to prepare. I used most of that time managing a second task, getting sponsors for the run. I wanted to go big, no self-imposed restrictions. We secured nine amazing sponsors, and we even made a shirt to celebrate it. I have to thank Mrs. Wanderer (Becky) for all her help in that department.
On race day, I was super relaxed. You would think something so big and challenging would create a little bit of stress, but no. It wasn’t until I was in the thick of the race did I realize just how difficult it would be, and I would have to dig deep to finish.
The course was very hilly, half road and half off-road on dirt trails. I didn’t train for all of these variables, but managed to still cruise at a very impressive pace. Six miles in, I was on track to complete the run in under two hours, and an astounding 15 minutes faster than my fastest time. Then things took a turn I did not anticipate.
I got tripped up on a rock or root on the trail, and took a tumble mid-race. I tried my best to roll with it, avoiding falling on my knees and instead took it on the hip. It stung pretty good, and after a brief rest period to collect myself, I was off again. I was noteably slower, but I wasn’t about to be stopped by this set back.
After two hours, twelve minutes and fifty-four seconds, I crossed the finish line! With the fall, the hills, the dirt paths, and everything I endured, I missed my personal best time by a mere 22 seconds. It was a major win that I rank at the very top of my achievements.
So that brings me to you, the reader.
Do you have a goal in life you want to achieve? This could be you if you believe in yourself. I would love to hear from anyone and everyone about their personal goals. Feel free to comment below or send us a message. Thank you for all of your support, and I look forward to hearing from you all! – Derrick (aka the Wanderer)