Celebrating Each Step

July 12, 2010

in Life Lessons

Running Shoes

Making progress with each step

Last month I raced in the Annapolis Zooma Half Marathon. It was an incredibly hot and humid day. My training leading up to the race was not what I would have liked and the race conditions were not optimal. It required me to dig deep, but I didn’t allow myself  the option of quitting.

Mile 8 was a turnaround point in the course. After running downhill for at least a mile, this turnaround meant a long climb was ahead of me. Right at the turn, a sign was posted to encourage runners:

“Be happy in this moment. You worked hard to get here.”

What struck me about this encouraging message was that it was not at the finish line. This message on the sign made me pause in the moment, with roughly 5 more miles to run, and be proud of my accomplishment.

I also became mindful on the rest of the run that I was not doing this alone; I had lots of support along the way. From mile 8 to 13.1, there were people along the route cheering me on; a young boy gave me a high-five; a little girl was on the route with a garden hose to cool me off; volunteers were handing me cups of water; there was a dear friend cheering me on as I stepped across the finish line. And, as a result of that message, I started celebrating my accomplishment at mile 8, not at the finish line.

Right now in the divorce process I feel like I did at mile 8. This is difficult and I have not completed the divorce, but I am proud of the progress. I am having to dig deep to find the strength to finish this as well. But the finish line is closer with the progress I continue to make. And best of all, I know have love and support all the way to the end.

I have held on tightly to this inspiring message for over a month and it has helped me through very difficult days. I keep focusing on the progress made instead of becoming overwhelmed with how much further I have to go to complete the divorce. I keep reminding myself daily:

Celebrate where I am at this moment.

Celebrate what I have done to get to where I am right now.

Celebrate the progress I have made.

What have you not completed?  Instead of being frustrated, can you  celebrate the progress you have made?


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristy July 12, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Love those signs. It is so hard, but we must learn to practice celebrating the present more – not dwelling in the past or worrying aobut the future. Respecting the fact that right now, at this moment, you have worked to be where you are at. And, at this moment, you are alive and life is all around you and in you. You have everything you need right now.
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chele July 12, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I loved this post. I’m going through something similar and I do have to continually remind myself that today is better than yesterday. I’m one day further away from the past and one day closer to the future.
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Naked Girl in a Dress July 12, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Kristy and Chele~
Yes, focusing on where we are at this moment, being present in the moment, is essential in difficult times. Recognizing and celebrating the progress is a way to be kinder to ourselves when taking on an overwhelming task. And, of course, it never hurts to have a positive outlook!

Thanks for reading the post today.

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Robin G July 12, 2010 at 4:21 pm

What a great thought. It’s tough to be in the now, to be pleased with where I am. I have come so far but too often I get fixated on everything I still have yet to do.

I will try harder to celebrate what I’ve done. Thank you for this thought.

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T July 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm

What a great post.

I too have found that signs and encouragement from other athletes and spectators while doing races. It makes SUCH a huge difference.

I love this post. Sounds just like something I would write too! Thank you for the lovely reminder.
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SuzRocks July 12, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Good for you! I’m trying to do the same thing with school right now- I’m living across the country from my (new) husband, and all I want to do is be done with it, but I keep telling myself to be happy where I am, because I ridiculously hard to get here. It has helped me be SO much happier, just enjoying that I’m here.

Even if it sucks at times.

Good for you for finishing the race!!
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Alex@LateEnough July 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm

I like focusing on the journey rather than the outcome although that doesn’t make me good at it. Whenever I run and start feeling bad, I remind myself to look around and think about how awesome it is to be moving.
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Momma Sunshine July 13, 2010 at 5:27 am

What a great metaphor for life! As cheesy as it sounds, life really is all about the journey, and NOT the destination. Good for you for celebrating all the moments all along the way! :)
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Stacey July 13, 2010 at 9:25 am

I love this post. I want to print it out, hang it on my wall, and read it every day until I don’t need a reminder to celebrate the moment I’m in.
Stacey recently posted..Slow Down- You Move Too FastMy Profile

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Mark July 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I love the sign! So very wise, enjoy this moment, you have worked hard to get here and all that you truly have is the now. Thanks for sharing this inspiration.
Mark recently posted..Mr Fix-it to Mr VulnerabilityMy Profile

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Grace July 14, 2010 at 6:58 am

I’m another one of your supporters. Put me on that list! You’re going to make it, and things are going to be good.

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Naked Girl in a Dress July 14, 2010 at 7:16 am

@Robin: Yes, stay focused on celebrating where you are now.
@T: Glad you enjoyed the post!
@Suz: Hang in there. I know how hard the separation must be, but do be mindful of what you are accomplishing during the time apart.
@Stacey: Glad this was inspiring for you!
@Mark: Thank you. I gain so much from reading your blog. Glad to see you reading over here too.
@Grace: Thank you Grace! I need all the support I can get right now.

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The Sweetest August 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I used to love the inspired and accomplished feeling I would get when I was racing (s-l-o-w-l-y), and the positive messages were such a help when the course got tough. Although I don’t run that kind of distance anymore, I still run several times a week. While running I sometimes think about past long runs and races and the way I felt coming toward the finish, and I get chills.
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Naked Girl in a Dress August 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm

You can run shorter races and still get that racing high! There is something different about going out for a run vs. racing. I love it too.

Promise me you will look for a 5K race this fall!

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Tara December 11, 2010 at 2:19 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve caught up with you, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through at the moment. I hope you will write more about turning the feeling of failure (that I struggle with daily) into recognizing the coping and surviving of a divorce as an accomplishment. I’m still not there and I’m 4 years out of that marriage. I grapple with it each day. Hugs.
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Naked Girl in a Dress December 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Tara, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I wrote this piece in the summer and am in a better place now than when I wrote this. It does get better and just in the 5 or 6 months since I wrote this, life seems to be much better. It just takes time, right?

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Kristy December 11, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I see above that I commented here when this was originally posted! How funny. Today I am here from RDC linkup. Today, I say in response to this –

At this time last year, I had not yet started a blog. I had not been writing at all – nothing. I had not started a novel. I was wondering where my passion was. Look at all the progress I’ve made!
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Naked Girl in a Dress December 11, 2010 at 4:21 pm

That is great progress Kristy!

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