For the past several weeks, I've been training for a half-marathon.
Disclamer: I am NOT a runner.
I've run a slew of 5Ks in the past (mostly by force), and yes, at one point, I was a pretty serious figure skater. But I have never been a runner.
In January and February, though, I knew that I had to keep running a few miles per week in order to be ready to start half-marathon training in March. I ran on ice. I ran in snow. I ran 4 miles in Boston in SEVEN degree weather. The four people outiside looked at me like I was nuts.
When my half-marathon training began in March, it was still snowing outside. It was cold. It was grey. The wind? MOTHER OF BRUTAL. I never saw a single soul on the sidewalk. My neighborhood was a ghost town.
In April it was wet. On a six-mile run in Montréal, I spent most of my run (unsuccessfully) avoiding lake-sized puddles. A few days later, I gave up running after 2 miles because I was just so damn cold. I went home and took a nap instead.
Let's just say that I haven't exactly followed the training plan to a T.
In other words, I'm not perfect.
Sometimes I skip runs because the couch is terribly comfortable.
Sometimes I convince myself that I should move the run to the next day because I really need to wash my shorts.
But despite the slip-ups, I haven't given up.
And last Sunday?
Last Sunday I ran NINE MILES! NINE.
Normally, I don't even like DRIVING nine miles.
BUT I RAN NINE MILES.
Like, with my legs.
Look at me go!
But wait! Here's where I get to the point. This is the part where I tell you how my sporadically imperfect training is the key to your life's success.
Yesterday, I went for a "short" 4 mile run.
And guess what: IT WAS GORGEOUS OUTSIDE!
Do you know what that means, my dear?
When it's nice outside, TROVES OF PEOPLE EMERGE FROM THEIR HOMES. People I hadn't seen ever before in life suddenly are out and about.
Middle aged women were speed walking EVERYWHERE. Probably inspired to get in shape or lose the winter weight.
And here in lies the problem.
I can tell IMMEDIATELY that these women are not going to succeed at their weight loss or fitness goals.
I'm not trying to be negative or condescending. I want these women to succeed. I'd love nothing more than for them to reach their goals. Given the opportunity, I'd help them out!
But they're not going to succeed.
Because they are only inspired to get outside and walk when it's 75 and sunny.
Because they waited for perfect conditions to start their training programs.
Because when it was cold and the sidewalks were covered in ice, they were no where to be found.
Success is available to those who get going when the going gets tough.
Success happens when everyone else gives up.
Success is for those who make it through the dip.
As Seth Godin writes in his book, The Dip,
"The people who set out to make it through the Dip-- the people who invest the time and the energy and the effort to power through the Dip-- those are the ones who become the best in the world."
Am I training to become the best half-marathon runner in the world?
Well, if you define "the world" as me. As in, I am training to become the best half-marathon runner that I have ever been.
(The bar is set fairly low, thank God).
But here's what's exciting:
I'M GOING TO SUCCEED.
Because I overcame The Dip.
Have you hit a road block?
Congrats! You are now in place to make a choice.
Do you want to become the best in the world?
If not, quit! That's totally fine.
If you do want to succeed, however, this is your chance. If you persevere, you will be lightyears ahead of everyone else. This is the moment of do or die.
This is your winter.
Are you going to keep running? Or will you hide out inside until the weather gets nice?