The Accidental Athlete: Start where you are

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It was a slog. Winter had finally arrived in Western New York and the morning air temperatures in the teens drove me to the treadmill. The goal was 5 miles. No pace goals. No intervals. Just get the time in as I slowly build my mileage back up before starting my marathon training program next month. And yet it was a struggle.

My legs were heavy. My pace was slow. I employed the theme of “survive and advance” to get through the run. It didn’t need to be pretty. I just wanted to get 5 miles in. And I knew in my heart, thanks to past experience, that no matter how much it sucked in the moment, I would feel good both physically and mentally when it was done. True enough, I did.

Which brought me to my thought for January: Start where you are.

See, I have run faster and stronger on the treadmill in the past, but that’s not where I was on this particular day. I also have been unable to run for more than 10 consecutive minutes. Also not where I was on this particular day.

While our past gives us experience and perspective to draw upon, it can also hold us back. We remember the highs, the successes, and wistfully wish we could be like that again.

We start thinking about where we want to go in the future, about our goals and intentions and resolutions and wonder if we’ll ever get there. But we’re not there. We’re here. And here, quite frankly, is just fine. It’s where we are.

Start where you are.

The rest you can take care of later.

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