Another goal I am gearing up for in 2012 is to complete the NYRR 9+1 program to guarantee myself an entry in the 2013 NYC Marathon. Yes, that's right, I'm already excited to do it again! I want to get enough conditioning under my belt so that, instead of hitting the proverbial wall, I can challenge myself to keep going with a smile on my face. In short, I want to enjoy the experience. I'm so excited to have these NYRR races to keep my focus, but I have been concerned that it could get repetitive, and that I could get frustrated if I have a string of great races and then, for whatever reasons, don't. But so many aspects of the race can be great without any sort of focus on the time - even the most difficult struggles can be the most rewarding. And just as I was able to do for many parts of my marathon training, I think it will be a tremendous opportunity to challenge myself mentally as well as physically. I have dealt with so many fears in the past six months, some of which I have written here. That has been, and continues to be, one of my biggest struggles. I held so much fear for the unknown what-ifs that sometimes I would become paralyzed or even retreat to escape the hold that those fears had over me. One of my biggest fears was disappointment: disappointing others and myself. The biggest irony was that, through all of my worrying and fear about failure and disappointment, I would often become consumed by it, and lose sight of my goals. It has only been recently when I have been able to give my goals the attention that they deserve - no more and no less - and develop the confidence in myself to keep working towards then despite nagging doubts, that I have been able to make significant strides forward. On one hand, this might seem fairly depressing - why work for something at all if it is going to cause you so much difficulty? For me, this question can be answered by the beauty and value of each difficulty we encounter:
"When a butterfly emerges from its cocoon, there is a great struggle. If you were to cut open the cocoon in order to spare the new butterfly this struggle, it would never thrive. The struggle to get out is needed to build the wing muscles. Without the struggle, the butterfly will never fly."