The road to the prize


I have this awesome pink Idiots Running Club tech shirt that says “#EyeOnThePrize” across the back. This year, the prize I have my eye on is a sub-5 time at the Bass Pro marathon, which would be a 45-minute improvement over my 2013 race. That’s a big jump for anyone, but especially for a chubby grandma like me. I’ll tell you a secret – sometimes I think there’s no way in the world I’ll be able to do it.

I had one of those little moments Saturday. Several members of the Idiots Running Club met at 7 a.m. for a group run in Gainesville. When David Murphy announced it on Facebook earlier in the week, my husband Tim and I immediately started looking forward to it. Those are always fun, and it had been a long time since we had all gotten together.

I really wanted to stay with the main group this time. Usually I’m at the back of the pack, but this time, I had a pretty short run on my schedule. Everyone else had very long runs, so my hope was that our pace would match up enough that I could hang with the big dogs until I hit my 30-minute turn-around point. So there I was, running along with Jon Wilson, David Murphy, Billy Pippin and Melissa Hayes. I felt like I would imagine a beginning guitar player who knew three chords might feel if he was jamming with Van Halen. It was cool.

I could even join in the conversation without being too out of breath – until about the 25-minute mark when evidently my heart rate decided to skip right from zone 2 to zone 4. Breathing got a little harder, and I started doing much more listening that talking. I glanced at my watch, looked at my pace and was instantly disheartened. It was only about 10 seconds faster than the pace that I was going to need to run the whole entire marathon! How am I ever going to be able to run like this for 26.2 miles? What in the world was I thinking?

I told my daughter Jenny about it on Monday. “Mom, you don’t need to worry about that,” she said. “All you need to do is execute the plan. Do your workouts each day. Eat right each day. The results will take care of themselves.”

Goodnight – how did she get so wise? And it occurred to me that she learned that here, right here in this club. I’m often amazed by how much my family has learned and benefited from being part of the Idiots Running Club. We have more than 2,700 other runners who support us, offer advice, write blogs, coach, and encourage us each day. It continually awes me, and I’m extremely grateful.

So, I’m taking Jenny’s advice (which I think she may have learned from Ann Brennan’s blog “How To Eat an Elephant.”) I’m just going to focus on the little things: each little workout and each little decision about what to eat. I still have my eye on the prize, but I’m focusing on the road that leads to the prize.

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