The Casual Runner

Getting Started: Run For YOUR Redemption

It is the new year – and new years are always filled with hope, optimism, and the best of intentions. We have all been there, we have made and broken more New Year’s resolutions than we can ever possibly remember. Cliches abound about this, but that does not mean that we need to give in to the notion that we are doomed to failure.

Blog-2014-00004 Mike - Worst Race Ever Pic 4Define your own success.

Success is, and should always be, a personal measure of accomplishment. You should not measure your performance against some amorphous objective standard, let alone those standards set by others. Only you can define what it means to succeed or not in your own pursuits.

At Casual Runner, we created our FIRST MILE collection and our GETTING STARTED series as a way to help new runners discover their own potential. However, one unintentional theme that keeps appearing on Casual Runner is that of redemption. For, just as we can set our own definition of success, we are also solely responsible in coming back from our own let downs.

The Road to Redemption Is Yours

IMG_20151107_191656245For me this notion of personal redemption in Casual Running started very early on. Not only did I fail repeatedly in trying to live a more fit lifestyle, but I also had a pretty lackluster first race experience, and came back the following year to conquer the course that conquered me. Thus, I know what it is like to have to overcome adversity to remain committed to a fitness goal.

Success is not perpetual, for, on this great Casual Running journey, we will all have setbacks that will test our commitment, resolve, and fortitude. Having completed several half marathons during my first year of racing, my resolve would be tested with an unexpected injury, one that I challenged myself to overcome the following year on that same race course. Again, I would not let the event conquer me, I determined to conquer it.

IMG_20151105_192351762I would be tested again when I ran my first marathon. At the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon, I overcame both GI issues and an on-course collision with an errant spectator to finish the race. Not to be deterred, I returned the following year to run the same race, completing the Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge in the process. I persevered to redeem myself.  This would not (and most certainly will not), be the last time that my resolve will be challenged.

The Wine and Dine Paradox

I love the runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  I first ran the race in 2013 (check out my race review: Part 1 & Part 2), and to say that I LOVE this event would be an understatement.  With hope and optimism, I again ran the race in 2014 (check out my race review: Part 1 & Part 2). While I toed the line with a PR on my mind, fate and mother nature had a different plan for me. During the 2014 race, I unfortunately broke my foot and had to finish the race walking.

IMG_1599Not to be deterred, 2015 was going to be my redemption year. Sadly, again, mother nature had some different ideas in mind. As you may know, due to lightning storms in the area, runDisney had to delay the start of the race and ultimately shorten the distance of the course. You can check out my full recap of the night’s events here and you can check out Jennifer’s full race review here.

Many runners that night were upset because they could not run the full 13.1 miles they intended. I, however, took a very different approach. I was just excited that we were going to get to run and took it all in stride. But, the revised shortened course that runDisney developed on the fly for us had a personal connection for me. You see, once we left the Wide World of Sports Complex and turned onto Osceola, we skipped the Animal Kingdom portion of the route, instead turning towards Hollywood Studios.
This course change was not particularly significant to most runners, but it was to me. You see, this was the very place where I broke my foot during the 2014 race. Thus, all of these crazy events – injurieslightning stormsevacuations, and delays – all ultimately added up to me being able to complete the race that injury prevented me from running my way the previous year. It took me a year, but I would finish the Wine and Dine Half Marathon running!

To be honest, when I realized this during the race, I got a little emotional.

Why? You may ask? Well, we all have our personal reasons that motivate us to keep running and logging those miles. And this confluence of events created a special moment for me on my road to redeeming myself. It is something that no one else may get, understand, or appreciate, but it mattered to me.

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The real prize in racing is not the SMO, but the journey that got you there.

And that, my fellow Casual Runners, is what I want you to take from this. As you set your own standards of success, and yes, even redemption, keep in mind, that you do not have to impress anyone else, you only have to impress yourself.

I wish you all of the best in the coming new year, and myself and the rest of the Casual Runner Team will be right here cheering you along every step of the way! Happy New Year!

The Casual Runner Team wants to hear from you. If you have any questions about anything we cover here on Casual Runner, if you have any questions regarding running gear or training for your own Casual Running needs, or if there is anything that you would like us to cover on Casual Runner, please leave a comment or email us using the links below.  To ensure that you do not miss all of the great content from Casual Runner, please be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and add us to your circle on Google+.  See you out on the running trails!  

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