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Awesomeness, Intention, Monday Challenge

Monday Challenge: Going for your goals

Hooting with joy as I completed my running goal: the North Face Endurance Challenge, December 2009

Hooting with joy as I completed my running goal: the North Face Endurance Challenge, December 2009

My oldest daughter is an amazing goal-setter. Even better, she actually does what she sets out to do.

Today was report card day in my daughter’s school, and I was thrilled to see that she had racked up an astonishing 99% in pre-Algebra. Considering the heavy math phobia she’s battled for almost her entire school career, you can understand how thrilled I was when I opened her report card.

I’m beyond proud of her. Obviously, my oldest daughter is firmly in charge of her goals. She knows how to set a goal, then do what she must to achieve it.

Her continuing progress, however, made me kind of ashamed of myself. After all, I have one goal that I haven’t done enough about.

It’s true that I’ve worked hard on the positivity. My inner Pollyanna has truly been pulled out from among the dust bunnies; she is alive and well, and is happily finding things to be positive about.

In addition, I’ve fulfilled (thus far) my promise of writing every single day, and I never miss, even if it’s 10 o’clock at night. My family understands how important writing is to me, and never begrudge me the time and space I need to get it done.

Those two major things aside, the one thing I haven’t done is to become a runner again.

My last race was in December 2009, when I competed in the North Face Endurance Challenge half marathon in the Marin Headlands. The course was incredibly hilly, with over 2200 feet of vertical elevation change.

North Face Endurance Challenge half marathon elevation profile

North Face Endurance Challenge half marathon elevation profile

It was an amazing run, although going up and down the steepest bits, it was more like a walk. All I wanted to do was to make it in ahead of the “sweepers” (the people who sweep you off the course because you are taking too long). And I made it–I accomplished my goal!

The views were amazing, and the camaraderie fantastic. I even met Dean Karnazes, the Ultramarathon Man himself.

His last words to me were, “Don’t ever stop!”

Shortly thereafter, I stopped.

I didn’t mean to. We were still living in California, and after the first of the year, I got what I thought was a minor sinus infection. It took two doctors, four months, and multiple rounds of nuclear-grade antibiotics to finally get that problem solved for good.

When I began training again, I immediately contracted “Community-Acquired MRSA“, that frightening antibioitic-resistant staph infection. I had it three more times in the next few months; I eventually found a cure by, of all things, firing my doctor, who proclaimed it was just “something I’d have to live with”. (If someone ever tells you that–RUN AWAY!)

A month later, we moved back home to Maine. Life had settled down, but a case of unrelenting heel pain brought me in to my former Sports Orthopedics doctor Once again, another roadblock: I had Plantar Fasciitis and Posterior Tibial Tendonitis. It took four months of physical therapy to walk without pain.

My first Half Marathon - the Maine Coast Women's Half Marathon, York Maine - September 2007

My first Half Marathon - the Maine Coast Women's Half Marathon, York Maine - September 2007 (that's me on the right!)

After over a full year of challenge after challenge, topped by the untimely loss of a friend and my amazing father-in-law, I lost my will to run. I did what Dean told me not to. I just stopped running.

Don’t get me wrong. I still walk; my favorite thing to do when I’m bothered or stressed is to go for a walk in town, or hop on the treadmill. But I haven’t made a concerted effort to get back into a training program for a while.

If I had to grade myself on working toward my goals, I’d give myself a “C+” so far, mostly because of the running. However, this past weekend, everything changed.

On Saturday, my sister Sylvia sent me a text. She has, in the past few months, become a runner as well. In her text, she said that she was thinking of entering a race.

“Excellent!” I texted back. “Let’s do the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando next February!”

To give her credit, she didn’t balk, and she didn’t faint. At least, I don’t think she fainted.

“I don’t know,” she texted. “I’m not a runner.”

“You become a runner the first time you sign your name on a race registration form,” I texted back. (I think John “The Penguin” Bingham said that.)

Finally, she said she would think about it. The tipping point came when I suggested we invite all of our closest women cousins to join us. They are, of course, all runners themselves.

Imagine the fun as we run together as an extended family!

Imagine the joy of completing a major running event with these women!

Imagine the vast amount of trouble we could get into!

I pitched them on the weekend, and one by one they replied. They’re ALL in.

In February, 2013, my cousins Mia, Anita, and Anastasia, my sister Sylvia, and I will be running the Disney Princess Half in Orlando.

I have 318 days (who’s counting?) to get back into the running habit. Registration isn’t even until July 10.

I have no doubt that, after two years off from serious training, it’s going to take me some time. However, I have a supportive husband (thanks, Kent), and a family who have always cheered me on.

Even better, I have a treadmill…and I’m not afraid to use it.

Your Monday Challenge is this:

Ask yourself how your goals are coming along. Are you living up to your New Year’s resolutions, or have they fallen by the wayside? Have you been making a half-hearted attempt, but are easily distracted? Spend some time this week and write down one thing that you really want to do. Then write three things you could do to move yourself toward accomplishing that goal.

There could be a habit you want to break, or one you want to create. It might be something that everyone wants to do, like eating better, getting to bed sooner, or spending less time online. However, it could also be something a bit more unusual, like taking out your high school instrument and playing again.

Or maybe you just want to learn how to run.

Whatever your goals, it’s never too late to start. After all, time will pass whether you do anything or not. Imagine if, one year ago, you had begun working on your goal. Where would you be now?

Do it today. Make a start.

One step at a time…you can do it!

Aloha!

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About AlohaKarina

AlohaKarina (aka Karina Chapman) is a Writer, Photographer, and Educator who teaches middle school Science and Social Studies in Southern Maine. A cohort of the Maine Governor's Academy for Science and Mathematics Education Leadership, and a National Endowment of the Humanities Scholar (Abolitionism studies), she is credentialed to teach K-8 (all subjects) in both Maine and California. Karina has worked as a photographer, weekly columnist, and reporter for the Eureka Times-Standard daily newspaper in Northern California. She has also written for both LiveStrong.com and Trails.com (as K.M. Chapman). Karina's superpower is speed-pouring killer margaritas. If she had to choose where to live for the rest of her life, she would choose Kennebunkport, Hawaii Kai, and San Francisco.

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