Monday, December 30, 2013

Brave to Win

Another year has come to an end and a new year is commencing. Like every year, more than I could have ever imagined seemed to have happened in just a mere 365 days. As in years passed, I have accomplished some great things and have made some mistakes along the way. I have gained a greater appreciation for the people and things in life that really matter, and once again, have learned that life can be tough, but that I am tougher!

2013 was indeed quite a year! I am still in awe that I was able to raise over $3,000 for Wigs For Kids, able to speak at the Senior Games at the Cleveland Convention Center about my incredible experience, and that I ran side-by-side with two of the greatest female runners in the world, Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit-Samuelson, in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in D.C. Having the blessing of a new nephew, and the privilege of being his Godmother, was just the icing on the 2013 cake. Despite many amazing experiences, it has been a difficult year, too. I have been haunted by my mystery health issue, which was eventually labeled as syncope by migraines, and have had to confront potentially saying good-bye to one of my biggest passions. But, through all of the unimaginable, something truly amazing has happened. I have gained more confidence in myself than ever, and I feel ready to brave whatever 2014 has to bring me. This year has been affirmation that I have the ability to accomplish anything I set my mind to. With that being said, in the short time I have here on Earth, I suppose I better set my mind to do something worthwhile!

In light of this sentiment, my all-encompassing mission for 2014 is to dedicate my energy to things that matter. I am a hard-working, dedicated, caring, and passionate person. Simply put, if I want something, I get it. If I say I’m going to do something, you don’t have to ask me twice. Professionally, I have made some decisions for 2014 to play on these strengths. As for my running, I have also made some decisions. I recently read a quote on Twitter that stated, “You were born to win, although to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, & expect to win.This quote really inspired me and helped shape my personal outlook for the year. My running goal for 2014 is to dedicate my energy on winning. Rather than expecting the worse and setting myself up to be okay with not reaching my goals, I’m making it happen this year. It’s time for me to live out what I was born to be: a winner! When it comes to running, to be a winner means several things. It means planning to win by following my training plan yet letting my body be my ultimate guide. It’s time to stop talking about making it happen, but to go forward, do the work, and prepare to make it happen. I am expecting to break 19 minutes in the 5k, 1:30 in the half marathon, and 3:10 in the marathon. My goals are not lofty and are completely practical, and I am fully confident in my ability. My health issues are not going away, but I’m done with letting them hold me back. I am letting go of the worry, and am choosing to keep going until my goals are reached. Quitting training is not the answer, but it is important that I am highly conscious on how I go about doing it. There is so much that goes into it, as marathon training is not just physical training, but mental training, too. I am anticipating that the mental aspect is going to be my biggest struggle, but I’m ready to fight the fight. There will be days when I will feel great, and days when I will feel awful.  But no matter how daunting it may seem or how hard I may have to work, I know I can reach my goals. It’s time to focus on bringing out the best in who am I. I was born to win. I’m ready to be a winner. And so, it’s time to take some chances. I need to be brave!

Taking a break from marathon training for the majority of 2013 has helped shaped my "winning" mentality. My back seat perspective has shown me how much I have unintentionally taken for granted. Through spectating races and encouraging all of my running friends, so much light has been shed on the glory I find in running. Running for me is not an addiction or an obsession. I don’t “have” to do it. Fortunately, I don’t “need” to do it to stay in shape as there are plenty of sports, fitness classes, and other activities out there that I can participate in. Truth be told, I am an athlete and am good at most things I try. But, nothing else has my heart quite like running. I run simply because I LOVE it. I love the burn of speed training. I love 20 mile long runs. I love all of my running clothes and running shoes; I would wear them all day if I could. I love the exhilarating feeling of the last few meters of a race when I know I’m headed to a P.R. I love the camaraderie of runners throughout training, and even throughout racing! There is just so much greatness that comes from running.

With my birds-eye view this year, I have been able to be more introspective. I have been able see my talent for what it really is. I now have a greater understanding and appreciation of the gift I have, and have gained a deeper perspective of what is still out there for me to do. The most significant part of this gift is more than just my running ability, but my ability to use my experiences to help others. I am so grateful, and simultaneously humbled, that I have been able to inspire so many people. I plan to continue blogging and Tweeting (@PavMP223 ) as my journey carries on, and am happy to continue to dispense advice and encouragement to those who seek it.

My migraine issue is not going away. I recognize that it may take away a few days from my training this spring. But, instead of looking at my migraines as a hindrance, I am going to view them as a barometer of my training. If I’m getting migraines, I am likely overtraining and need to take a break. I will not let this impair my goals, but recognize that this will dictate my ability to complete all of my training. And, that is okay. Everyone has something. This is my “something.” As I previously said, life is tough, but I am tougher. I am choosing to conquer every hurdle. I have faith in me. I will be brave!

My professional goals are in motion, and I will be moving forward with them throughout the year. I am confident I will be an even better teacher and mentor as a result. My running plans thus far are to complete the Snowball 5k in February, the Tow Path Half Marathon in April, and the Glass City Marathon at the end of April. My training begins January 6, and I plan to take my brave “winner” mentality with me throughout each training run and race this spring!


I’m sure this year is going to be just as crazy as any other, but I have faith in the craziness. I know God has a reason for it all. I do not waste prayer hoping that He makes the road easy, but rather that He prepares me to face any challenge that comes my way. I pray that He gives me the strength and courage to be brave. Set your goals for 2014, and settle for nothing better than the best. God has a mission for all of us here on Earth. Decide how you want to make the most of it! Life is all about your perspective. Be brave as you conquer your goals. You, too, were born to be a winner, so make it a great year, because why not?

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