Running and Goals: Who Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

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Running and completing a marathon is a challenge, no one will ever deny, and one that many runners choose to pursue.  This hurdle they jump is a kind of right of passage.  A runner’s status changes after this test; they are no longer just someone who runs for exercise.  They are now called a ‘Marathoner.’  People look at marathon runners in a different way; they’re not just crazy runners, but really crazy runners!

Training for the upcoming St George Marathon has been a serious change of pace for me.  I have committed to running four times per week, a level of dedication I have not had since my high school junior year on the cross-country team, and the most encouraging thing about it is I made this commitment to myself – without a high school coach telling me I wouldn’t get to race if I didn’t show up for practice.  It has been a great test of will and courage to break past each “longest distance” barrier, only to learn that after all… it really wasn’t that hard.  If I just try, and do, then I can achieve. This weekend I will run 20 miles, and the only thing I am worried about is being wet the whole way (it is supposed to rain), and that I might – might – for the first time while training, get blisters.  A relatively minor concern in the grand scheme of running 20 miles.

A very good friend of mine recently sent me a link to an article that got her to thinking about some of her life choices, and it had the same effect on me.  From Psychology Today, written on January 27, 2011 by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D,  The Trouble with Bright Girls, tells us “bright girls believe that their abilities are innate and unchangeable, while bright boys believe that they can develop ability through effort and practice.”  

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As a young girl, I was encouraged by my family and told I could do and be anything I wanted to be.  The world was my oyster.  And yet, from the six-year old dream of being “an artist”, my goals molded into something much more practical than the painter I imagined and I find myself sitting behind a desk, at a computer, working for a large company.  Which is fine.  It’s great, actually.  It just wasn’t my dream.

So now, as I am training for this marathon, and I am learning that by putting effort and practice into this goal, I can develop the ability to be a marathoner.  And therefore I can extrapolate that if I put forth as much effort as it has taken to be able to run 20 miles into the six-year-old Alaina’s dreams… Perhaps they will come true, too.
It is remarkable how many of us end up in careers we never expected to be our mode for living, and while I love what I have learned and what I am doing, there is a part of me that yearns to spend an entire week, day after day, secluded in a room, painting landscapes.  And I have never painted a landscape in my life.  My college drawing courses were simultaneously the most difficult personal test of my ability, and the most liberating task I had ever given myself.  Now it is hard to imagine where to begin…
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How do you find a way to start living your childhood dreams?
Can you remember who you wanted to be when you were little?
When did you let go of that dream?  Why?
Do you plan to come back to your youthful dreams, and take action to achieve them?
or… Are you living your dream?
I would love to hear from you!
sending joy and wishes of delight in pursuit of your dream…
~Alaina

4 thoughts on “Running and Goals: Who Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

  1. I loved reading this post and will be checking out that article. And it seems to be perfect timing, as my dreams, as you say, are something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. It sometimes seems though like the older you get, the more complicated all that becomes!

    Good luck on your 20-miler, by the way. I hope it stays relatively dry for you and that you revel in the accomplishment after it’s completed!

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    1. Thank you! It must be something in the air… One would think that with age, we have a set of tools that we didn’t have in our youth that will help us make a transition… But it almost seems opposite. We have the tools, but perhaps we know how much effort the change will take and the task becomes so much more daunting than it really is if we just move forward one step at a time.

      Thank you for the well wishes! I am looking forward to conquering the big 20 miler!

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  2. I think in the last 3 years I’ve been taking much more deliberate steps towards becoming a good singer/performer. I absolutely NEVER had this as a dream growing up. Back then my dreams were more “I wanna be a chemist” or some kind of scientist, like the professor on Gilligan’s Island. Eventually, computers became my forte, and I can fix just about any issue now with home computers, and even some more industrial ones. Even so, I was extremely shy in my younger days and liked to blend into the background because it felt safer.

    But one can only stand so much of this when life is calling out to be lived. I began being irritated with how I was approaching life and other people. I had always liked the “hippie” ideals of being myself regardless of what others thought, but had never really tried doing anything really creative.

    Then came voice lessons, which were done as a “why not?” one day. You got to experience my early days in voice classes (and I appreciate your encouragement to this day). I keep pushing myself into new venues to face down whatever fear is left, to stretch and learn something new, and to enjoy the thrill of making good music with other people. And I’ve begun a serious workout program to become more of what I’d like to be physically. It all takes time, consistent work, and a desire egging me on towards what I want to accomplish.

    But now I feel like I’m living life instead of being a spectator.

    Love your writing! Keep ’em coming, and looking forward to your marathon victory!

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    1. Thank you, Jason for sharing your experience. I am so happy you pursued singing; you have such a wonderful voice! At some point in time it seems we all learn that we are the lead person in our own movie of life, and start to take the initiative to really claim that spot. I am so happy for you in your accomplishments. Keep it up! 🙂

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