“May” Dendy Convinces “January” Dendy to MOVE ON!

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Okay, truth time. I’ve been moping around in a state of mourning since Sunday. Yes, I’ve been saying all of the right things and feigning strength, but I’ve been a crumpled mess inside. Now, as I read back what I just wrote, I see how completely ridiculous it is. I mean, people out there are fighting cancer, competing with physical impairments, dealing with the loss of loved ones, and all that happened to me was that I didn’t quite make my marathon time goal! Dendy, get over yourself! You don’t even have a right to be sad! But, alas, I have been sad. I trained for an entire year for my A race. On race day, I brought my A game. I went after that A goal, full effect. I was doing extremely well, all up until the point where I wasn’t. That’s when I became hopeless, and then it was all over. Now, I still finished my marathon, so that’s a great accomplishment. I recently read that only 1 out of every 100 people have completed a marathon, so the fact that this was my third time to do it is really very cool. Additionally, I still managed to finish within a reasonable time for my gender/age group, so that’s something to be proud of. Plus, I felt like throwing in the towel and quitting, and I didn’t. I kept muddling through that marathon until I reached the finish line. That is something to be extremely proud of. So, I’ve been licking my wounds and getting myself into the correct mindset. One thing I did was to go back to a blog I wrote back in May entitled, “What Do Sports Teach Us About Life?” and everything started to come together for me. I realize that sounds kind of egotistical … I went to something I wrote eight months ago to bring me solace now, but it really worked. I have to say, the Dendy that wrote these words eight months ago might as well have been speaking to the defeated Dendy that is writing this now. I wrote a lot about how a true athlete accepts her limitations and setbacks and learns and grows from them. Wow. I need to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. This, right here, is my chance to truly practice what I preach. Of the nine areas I wrote about in that blog entry, four points apply to me now. I’ve copied my own words back from May here and I underlined the points that speak to me now:

emily dickinson1. How to win and how to lose.

Obviously, one of the first things learned is how to lose and how to win. A competitor should be graceful when he loses as well as when he wins. When we lose it’s easy to become upset, and honestly, a bit of upset after a loss is a good thing. For, the goal is to come out on top; to perform well; to enjoy a victory. Often times; however, despite our best efforts, we lose. In these moments it is important to remember the bigger picture. To remember that a loss should not deter us from continuing to work hard for what we want. It is important during losses to continue to honor the spirit of competition; to respect your opponent and to allow them to make you better. Conversely, sports teach us to win gracefully. Nobody likes a gloat. The truth is, as trite as it sounds, we win some, and we lose some. It’s certainly more fun to win, but we must always remember that we cannot win every time. Besides, if we did win every time, would the victories be as sweet? I think not. Emily Dickinson in the poem “Success is Counted Sweetest,” asserts that “to comprehend a nectar, requires sorest need.” In other words, to truly appreciate victory, we must experience defeat.
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3. How to persevere.

Playing sports teaches us how to work hard, deal with discomfort, overcome obstacles, learn from struggle, push our body’s limits, get back up after falling, and to never give up. In short, sports teach us to persevere. These qualities are obviously necessary in athletics, and they certainly spill over and apply to the rest of our lives. In any given situation, resilience and determination are great contributors to success. When we fight through hard times and push past discomfort, we get to the good stuff. All great things worth having in life take effort and don’t come easy. The good things are worth fighting for and require perseverance, right? Sports teach us to develop that part of the brain that is in charge of perseverance, and the sooner we learn to fight for what we want, the more successful we become.

5. How to set goals and have a positive attitude.

Playing sports teaches us to set goals, and this builds confidence and a positive attitude. Achieving an athletic goal we’ve set for ourselves requires us to believe in ourselves, and each time we succeed, we become more confident. Naturally, we will fall short of our goals at times, but we learn to take those losses in stride, soldier on, keep a positive attitude, and keep fighting. Setbacks will happen, but good athletes do not let those setbacks destroy them. A good athlete takes every experience, good or bad, and learns from it. It is truly the way that we respond to setbacks that dictates our future success. A positive attitude, even when we are struggling, will keep us working toward our goals.

9. How to see the bigger picture.

Athletes know that there’s more to life than just the game. They know that family, friends, faith, and education are what holds the true meaning to life. Athletes; however, have an intense passion for their sport. Engaging in their sport brings them great happiness, purpose, confidence, and health. The sport certainly enriches their lives, but it should not be the be all and end all of their worlds. It is important for athletes to be completely engaged in their activity and to take the necessary steps in their lives to accomplish their goals, but they must remember that there is more to life than the sport. Involvement in sports enhances our lives, but it shouldn’t run our lives.

 

Well, so there ya go, Dendy! Quit being weak and defeated. Get over yourself. Aren’t you stronger than this? Yes, you are. So I had a lackluster race. Does one lackluster race negate all of my hard training? No. Did I learn an incredible amount about myself on all of those early morning solo training runs? Yes. Am I stronger for all of my training? Yes. Will I use this setback to fuel my fire? Yes.

Back in May, I wrote the words, ” It is truly the way that we respond to setbacks that dictates our future success.” Yes, May Dendy, you are so right … now convince January Dendy of this, please.

So today I am forced to practice what I preach. This experience will make me stronger.

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Marathon Mile Dedication

I will run my third marathon Sunday and I’ve decided to dedicate each of my marathon miles to a specific person or group. I have many people that are very important to me in my life. These people support me and offer me inspiration and motivation and taking the time to think about them during my race will force me to keep pushing. This will be my first year to try this, and I am very excited about it.

When exhaustion sets in, that’s when I feel hopeless. That’s when that horrible part of my brain tells me I simply cannot go on. I’m feeling physically and mentally exhausted, and all I want to do is collapse on the pavement and dissolve into a pool of tears. I just want to curl up into the fetal position and sob. Like an embarrassingly loud, guttural, primal sob. A flat out temper tantrum. Naturally I won’t do that, but boy have I fantasized about doing that a few hundred times! This is where this bracelet with mile dedications will come into play. This is that moment when I need to remind myself why I’m doing this in the first place. This is where I remember that I should be grateful that I am running this marathon right now. This is when I need to acknowledge that there are many people in my life that are rooting for me. There are people that care about what I am doing. These people want me to succeed. These people are important to me and in this weak moment, I need to honor them. I’m not only running for myself, I am running for all of them.

I won’t publish my dedication list here … that would just be weird. Kind of like admitting my political affiliation or religion. Obviously, as evidenced by my blog, I am not afraid to share some of my deepest, darkest thoughts, but they are my thoughts that affect me. I shy away from writing about my political beliefs, church involvement, or specific people in my life. It seems rude. For some reason publishing the list seems too personal, too. But, I will tell you some of the obvious mile markers, just in case you are curious.

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Of course my husband, each daughter, mother, and father are on the list. These people are my biggest cheerleaders. Naturally, at times they resent the time I put into my running, but they are the very first people to brag about me to anyone who will listen. They are proud of me. They believe in me. They make me better. Then there are my dear friends. These people aren’t family … they don’t have to stay loyal to me, but they do. They ask me about my runs and offer me encouragement and support on a regular basis. I don’t have a long list of friends, but these people are quality people. What I lack in numbers, is made up for in quality, for sure. There is the cross country coach and the cross country girls. These people are like a family of sorts for me. No words could really ever express the gratitude I have for these people. There are all of my social media friends that inspire me to pursue my passion and cheer me on. There are my coworkers and the student body at my school. I love my job and I consider the people I work with a work family. There are the companies and organizations that took a chance on me and allowed me to serve as ambassador for them. These people opened many doors for me and created countless opportunities for me to become truly connected to the running community. Then, of course, there is me. I will run the last .2 for me and only me. It will be a mad sprint to the finish and I will be smiling the whole way. I will throw my arms up as I step on that finish line as I always do.  

I honestly can’t believe I never thought of this idea with my first or second marathon. I believe doing this will remind me to keep fighting. It will remind me to push past my feelings of inferiority. It will force me to focus on what is important to me rather than my shortcomings. It will remind me that even though I am feeling woebegone, I can ignore that emotional aspect of the discomfort I am feeling. It will give me that eye of the tiger I need. It will make me fierce.