Progress is Slow

This photo is of me, sweating profusely after finishing 9 miles of running in my local “9 Mile Gut Check.” If you would have told me a year ago that I would run 9 miles straight and even kind of enjoy it, I would have thought you had the wrong girl.

I have found that this seems to be the way most big goals work. If you’re doing something challenging, it was probably way outside of anything you thought was possible at one point.

When I started training for the 9 mile race on May 29, I could barely run a mile. I wondered who I was kidding, thinking I could run 9 miles. I kept training.

As the training intensified and I began running 3 miles or so, I again wondered who I was kidding. I had run a few 5k races, but that was the farthest I had run in my adult life. After finishing a 5k, it felt like there was no way I could possibly run any further. I kept training.

Then I hit the 5 mile mark. This was probably the longest run I had ever done in my life. By the time I was in the 5-6 mile range, I began to realize something kind of magical. I decided it might be possible. I might actually be able to run 9 miles. I began feeling (strangely) kind of good during my runs. I dare say I even enjoyed it a little.

The miles kept creeping up. The weekend I did an 8 mile run, I felt phenomenal. My time was great, I felt good, and I knew I could conquer the 9 mile run.

Then I ran 9 miles the week before the race and tragedy struck. My right hip began hurting at about mile 5. It was a dull pain, so I didn’t think anything had popped or was broken, but it got slightly worse as I got up to mile 9. I finished the 9 miles, but once I quit running I could hardly stand up. I wasn’t sure I could walk the few blocks back to my house. I hobbled home, soaked in an epsom salt bath, and fearfully googled my symptoms.

Hip bursitis.

What I was reading gave mixed messages. My biggest concern was if I’d be able to run the 9 miles again the next Saturday at the race. With the pain I was feeling, it didn’t seem possible.

Thankfully internet information saved me. I took ibuprofen daily, did a rehabilitation stretching and exercise program three times a day (this one), and went easy on my runs during that week, even walking the short distance on Tuesday instead of running.

Race day came and I ran the entire race with little to no pain. I finished 13th and beat my desired time by a long shot.

Now I’m training for a half marathon. I never thought I’d type those words but I’m so excited about it.

The point of all of this is this:

As you work toward a goal, you get better, and it becomes less impossible.

We often see people at the completion of their goal. We see professional athletes hitting home runs, public speakers giving amazing presentations, researchers presenting on their new theories, and artists producing unbelievable masterpieces. What we don’t often realize is that these people were beginners at some point. Without all the practice and slow progress that got them to where they are, they wouldn’t be able to do the things they do.

Each week of running was simply building upon the training I had done the week before. There is no magical formula besides consistency.

I think I learned a lot more from all this running than just about how to run (let’s be honest, I’m still not a very good runner!). Mainly, I learned that with enough perseverance, you can go pretty far. 



What is a big goal you’ve achieved? Did you have to make slow progress toward it?

Also, would you like to see more about my training? It’s been a big part of my life these last few months, so I’d be happy to share what gear I use, what training plan I followed, or whatever else you’d like to know! Let me know if you have any questions about it!


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