When Things Get Tough, Keep Moving Forward
By: Dr. Peggy Malone
“Life is not about how fast you run or even with what degree of grace. It’s about perseverance, about staying on your feet and slogging forward no matter what.” ― Dean Koontz
After several months of dialing my running training back up, this past weekend was the day of the big race!
I felt like I was pretty prepared mentally and physically and I truly thought that 21.2km on Sunday would be ‘no big deal’. After all, I’ve run this distance and a lot further plenty of times before. As it turned out, I was in for a surprise.
I made a few mistakes leading up to the race. Mistakes that I coach many patients in my office not to make. So I should definitely have known better.
I have recently been following a special diet to help some digestive issues that I have been battling and as a result, for the last week or so, I hadn’t eaten any simple carbohydrates. As you may know, your primary fuel source when doing a cardiovascular exercise like running for over 2 hours is carbohydrate and especially simple carbohydrate.
As a result, in the first few kilometres of the race, I knew I was in trouble. I felt heavy, out of breath and every cell of my body was screaming at me to walk.
My friend Cynthia was running with me and she turned on the ‘Suck it up Buttercup’ voice and said all the right things to keep me moving. If she wasn’t with me talking in my ear, I would have taken a lot longer to get to the finish line.
In the last 12km, I was constantly battling with the negative self talk voices in my head that were telling me that I couldn’t do it and that I should walk. My guts were getting angry and starting to rebel as well.
“If you are going through hell, keep going.” ― Winston Churchill
Because of my previous experiences in races, I knew that I would make it to the finish line no matter what… but if Cynthia hadn’t been there to remind me that I was stronger than I believed at that moment, I definitely wouldn’t have pushed to continue running until the finish line.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ― Nelson Mandela
When I saw the finish line, I was so excited that I had made it and it was over. Yay! I did it.
In the days before the race, I had been at an amazing event in Toronto for entrepreneurs put on by my business coach, Pat Mussieux. She talked a lot about mindset and how it plays such a huge role in success and failure.
The thoughts that you have everyday are reflective of your beliefs and your beliefs determine what you do and what you accomplish.
I was thinking about that a lot when I was suffering through every step on Sunday. Despite the fact that I felt terrible, I knew I would get to the finish line and I kept giving myself pep talks and telling myself to suck it up and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
It’s a huge lesson to take with me into the other areas of my world as well and I encourage you to take the lesson into your life too.
It’s not always going to be easy to go after your goals. Sometimes, you will stumble and have setbacks. When it gets hard, you will sometimes feel as though you should stop or give up but you’ve got to keep moving forward. Keep pushing through the tough times to get to your goals.
About 20 minutes after the race while we were walking back to our hotel, I felt really terrible and I ended up losing my breakfast in a flower garden in front of the hotel.
Not my best moment.
But after that, I had a shower, a little nap, some water to rehydrate and then we went out for an amazing steak dinner!
A day later, I still felt a little tired and sore but I had mostly forgotten the pain of getting through that half marathon.
That is another lesson that I can transfer to the rest of my life and the rest of my goals. No matter how much pain or fear I feel in the moment, it will pass as I move forward and a few days later, I will hardly remember that pain and I’ll have reached and surpassed my goal!
The bottom line here is this. What goals have you been avoiding or giving up on because they are too hard or they are too scary or they are temporarily causing you some discomfort?
The other piece of this that is important to acknowledge is that I got to the finish line with the great support of a good friend. Remember that asking for help and then taking it when you are going through something hard is an important aspect of getting to your goals.
My advice is to do a little bit at a time (one foot in front of the other), and ask for support when you need it and before you know it you will be at the finish line!
Thank you all for all your kind words and good vibes that definitely helped me get to the finish line upright and smiling!
Dr. Peggy Malone is a Chiropractor and an Athlete who helps other athletes to overcome injury and get back to their sport. Her weekly Television Series ‘Living Well” inspires people from all walks of life to take control of their health to be as happy and as healthy as they can be.
A former varsity Basketball and Rugby player, she has since entered the world of endurance athletics where she has completed 2 Ironman Triathlons, 3 Marathons, several Half Marathons and many other Triathlons, Road Races and Off-Road Adventure races of varying distances.
Her own athletic endeavors and injuries have given her valuable insight into working with athletes in her practice for both the care of injuries as well as for the improvement of athletic performance.