Dealing With Distractions


The holiday season has so many distractions. There are so many different things that are competing for our time. The first week of the holidays this year took out my training big time. The second week, I was determined to push through and succeeded largely. This week, more distractions. On Tuesday, my wife needed me to take her somewhere to buy a gift for a co-worker. It wasn’t a holiday gift, but a birthday one. So, it had to be done on Tuesday because the co-worker’s birthday was on Wednesday. With that distraction, I had a choice. I could use this distraction as an excuse to miss a training run. Or, I could just accept that my training run would be pushed back and do it anyways. I’m happy to report that I chose the latter. Why?


26.2 miles is what motivated me. I’ve come too far in my training to give in. No matter what the distraction, I simply need to find a way to finish training for my first full marathon. Tonight, I get to deal with another distraction. I’m waiting to hear from the place I took my car to this morning. Last night, on the way home from work, the check engine light lit up. So, I was up this morning and took it in as early as I could. The mechanic said that he didn’t understand why it did so because he couldn’t find the problem that the check engine light was trying to communicate. So, I’m just waiting to find out if anything is actually wrong with the engine. Either way, if the car is ready for me, I’ll have to stop by this evening to get it. That means another pushed back run time for my 6 miles.

On top of that, we’ve had some rare rainfall in the Los Angeles area today that is supposed to continue into the evening. So, the weather becomes another distraction. Lots of runners deal with weather issues. In the winter, it tends to be an issue of being super cold outside, snow, and/or rain. In the summer months, the weather can be too hot and/or humid.Thankfully, in Southern California, we only deal with the rain during the winter. Even though we might think it’s too cold outside, our Northern friends probably would tell us it’s never too cold in Southern California to run. Additionally, we are blessed with relatively low levels of humidity. If the weather is not desirable, there is always the option of running on a treadmill. Runners seem to have mixed views on running on the treadmill. After all, part of the fun of running is being outdoors and seeing all the sights. Running in place for large periods of time can be rather boring. Personally, as long as you’re running only 6 miles or less, I have no problem with the treadmill. Anything more than that, I would just have to find a way to run in the outdoors.

How do we get past the distractions?


You can either look back on previous successes, or plan future races, or find new challenges to tackle. In the week after Thanksgiving, I lost sight of the goal I’ve been chasing since early this year. My pursuit of the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon really began in February. Back then, it was looking at the success of others and reading all about this awesome race. The stories were inspirational. They got me thinking about whether or not I could do what they did…finish a full marathon. For a person who had only just finished my first half marathon, it seemed crazy to think about doubling that. However, looking back on the success of finishing my first half marathon and dreaming of the new challenge motivated me to start planning for my first full marathon. Since that day, I’ve finished 5 5K’s, 2 10K’s, and 2 Half Marathons. All of that was done under preparation for January 12, 2014. In the days where the distances seemed too hard, where I was too tired, and the temps outside were too hot or too cold or the start time was too early, I would think about crossing the finish line and earning one of these…


As materialistic as it may sound, the pursuit of this medal is what has kept me going. Although, it’s not the medal itself, because I didn’t even know what this medal would look like until the weekend of the Disneyland Half Marathon, but what the medal represents…Marathon Finisher! I’ve thought about running a marathon for several years actually. In 2007, I started working hard on weight loss so I would look good when I got married. I started back then because I figured it gave me plenty of time to get to a goal weight. I also did something that was completely scary to me at the time…I ran on a treadmill. As the distances started climbing, a friend of mine suggested trying to train for a marathon. She told me that less than 1 percent of the population will ever finish one. So, I thought, with a few years of training, I could take on the Los Angeles Marathon. It was the only one I knew about, except for Boston and New York. Well, I never got around to training for that. However, when I signed up for the Inaugural Neverland 5K, I kind of thought that the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon might be a realistic goal. Well, I’m about to beat that goal by a couple of months by running a full marathon in January 2014 (the Los Angeles Marathon is in March).


Each long run I’ve done this year has had its challenges. The distances have increased steadily ever since the end of April. I must admit that, ever since attempting 17 miles, I’ve learned what this above statement is all about. Go as long as you can and then take another step…or go another few miles as the case may be. It never ceases to amaze me how far I can go or how fast. I’ve stuck with the Jeff Galloway plan. In spite of the distractions, I’ve only missed ONE weekend run since the end of April! Also, since that time, I’ve only missed the mark on the distance I was aiming for ONE time. Now, I have missed some training runs during the week days altogether. However, of the times I laced up the shoes, I’ve only ever quit ONCE before the distance I was aiming for. In two days, I’ll be shooting for a marathon distance…26 miles. I’m even contemplating going a full 26.2 on Saturday. If the past is any indication of what to expect, I should be fine over the first 22 or 23 miles. That’s the “as far as you can go” part. Then, I’ll take all the steps needed to finish.


Once this weekend is over, I’ll start the taper period of training. With the Disneyland Half Marathon, that period only lasted like a week. So, I really don’t know much about that. However, once I cross the finish line just outside of EPCOT on January 12th, I’ll savor the moment. I’ll enjoy that accomplishment for all of that day and celebrate the next one at the Magic Kingdom. I’ll wear my medal proudly on Tuesday on the airplane flight home. I’ll do a few less intense runs that week. Then, the focus will turn to my next race…the Surf City Half Marathon in Huntington Beach on February 2nd. I’m already working on a wish list for races in 2014 which I’ll share after Christmas. The next race I’m registered for is the Surf City Half Marathon. It was important for me to have a race on the calendar after the Walt Disney World Marathon to keep me going.

So, how do I deal with the distractions? Keeping new races in front of me, remembering the past successes, and striving to get better and go faster. Ultimately, though, I need to remember that failures are just learning opportunities for future success.

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