the one about the almost

I woke up this morning in a sour mood. I didn't sleep well for the 4 trillionth night in a row. As it turns out, sharing the couch with a 3 year old isn't great for your back. Or neck. Or hips. Or anything.

I decided to shower early so that I could start my day on a fresh note. In the shower, I realized there was another reason why I already felt defeated prior to starting any of my daily battles.

Today was the day. Many months ago, I set out to run a half marathon on this date. There's a large event in Indianapolis, and I had told my husband and anyone else who asked that I was going to finally accomplish a goal of mine and run a half marathon.

Well, today, that isn't going to happen. Here I sit, in a towel (sorry for the visual), listening to my girls watch The Magic School Bus in the other room. Cheerios have already been eaten. Husband is off to round at the hospital.

This is me, not running a half marathon.

When did I set this goal? I think it was back in the spring. I looked at my calendar and picked an event that would give me ample time to train. Surely I could get it done by November 7th. That's half of a year away!

I bought new shoes. I found running pants that wouldn't slouch down with every labored step on the treadmill. I got those fun running headbands. I was all in.

I began the training process. Slowly and steadily, I increased my distances for each run and found myself actually beginning to enjoy the process. It's a strange thing when you go from hating each and every step and wondering if this might be the very last breath you take, to actually feeling stronger and better and happier as each mile ticks away.

But honestly? It got hard. Life got hard. I was only able to run in the gym because at least I had childcare there. And have you ever tried to train for a half marathon on a treadmill? A few problems arise. One, when you run as slowly as I do, the 60 minute time limit automatically shuts the treadmill off, even when you have a few more miles to do. And then there's the fact that scenery never changes. Sure, the people come and go around you and you can change the channel on the nifty TVs, but there's nothing inspiring or exciting about staring at the 19 year old with no cellulite half-assing it on the stair master while she texts her boyfriend.

And hauling 3 little ones into the gym with all their bags and snacks and demands is just a workout before the workout even begins.

(Don't forget you have to haul them back out to your car when you're dead done.)

But even though it got hard, I still managed to run nearly 7 miles without stopping. Yes, the girl who was called Trunks by high school baseball players while I was warming up for softball practice because my legs were so short and squatty (albeit quite strong) ran 7 miles and lived to tell about it.

However, the week that killed it all was the week that my daughter started Kindergarten and the week my husband completed his half-Ironman triathlon. Not only was the stress of the new school routine a difficult thing to work around, but my daughter's Kindergarten teacher resigned two days before school was to start and I was overcome with the need to eat cookies and chips until it all got sorted out.

And then there was the packing and logistics and constant talking about Luke's Ironman. With an out-of-state destination, there were lots of preparations taking place between making sure he had all he needed and also making sure our girls were taken care of.

And honestly? I was more than a little concerned he was going to drown in Lake Michigan during the swim and so off to the cookies and chips I went.

In a nutshell, I took that week of life off from the gym. And I never went back.

What it was, I don't know. Actually, I do know. I watched all of these tremendous people complete this incredible physical feat at the Ironman, and instead of feeling inspired, I felt defeated.

I could never do anything like that. 

I will never do anything like that.

Who was I kidding to think I could run a half marathon in the first place? 

So I quit on my goal in August.

And I'm feeling it now today.

It would have felt so good to cross that finish line and prove to myself that I could do it. It would have felt so good to have my husband cheering for me, instead of the other way around (like it has been through all his half marathons, triathlons, and the full marathon he ran 5 years ago).

I am writing this because I am certain so many other mamas have goals they want to accomplish and things they want to do, but the fear of failing or fear of looking foolish or just the challenges of life continue to stand in the way.

And so they never try.

But take it from me. I'd rather be healing my sore muscles and aching bones than my heavy heart and bruised pride.

Here's to new goals.