I went for a longish run today on my usual Saturday route.  I am about six weeks into training for the London Marathon in April.  I’m not entirely sure what has possessed me to run it so soon after NYC in November, but it’s on the bucket list, and as I see it, there isn’t any better time than the present.  I write this to prepare you for the inevitable barrage of posts in which I will be either complaining, lamenting or calling myself names with regard to this event.  Consider yourself warned.
My goals for this race are as follows:

1. To keep all of my toenails in the training process.  I don’t have high hopes for this one.
2. To improve my time by a few minutes.  Harder than you think given the amount of time it takes to complete the race.
3. To remain marginally pleasant during the hardest weeks of training in March. I think I might be able to pull this one off, as at some point you kind of get used to being exhausted and in pain.  I liken it to the early years of motherhood.

That’s a lot of background information for what I really want to say, which is this… I came home disappointed.  I ran ten miles (which sounds like a lot, but really isn’t comparatively speaking) and it was tough.  Tougher than it should be for me.  After returning home feeling a bit defeated, it crossed my mind that perhaps I’ve reached the limits of what I’m able to accomplish.  I let that thought sit and stir for a while, and realized that I actually feel that way about a number of things in my life.  That perhaps I’ve simply reached my limits?  Perhaps I won’t run stronger and faster this time. Perhaps I can’t make it down a mountain without spending the majority of the time on my backside. Perhaps I’ll never write as well as I’d like.

I find that the line between realistic expectations and unrealistic hopes is easily blurred by fear.  Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference, when to push through it, and when to accept that yes, there are limits.





  • I haven’t been over here to visit in ages but I was intrigued by your photo “Blurred”.

    That old devil, “fear”, does rear its ugly unrealistic head to cripple us. But like you say, there are times when we really have reached our limits.

    My suggestion: pray and ask the Lord for His direction, and push a little harder at the running, or whatever it may be, to see if you’ve just hit a plateau and need to push through. If after a certain amount of trying, you still don’t get past that plateau, then perhaps you have realistically reached your limit.

    Let me know how you do.


  • Your post has stayed with me throughout the day.

    What I keep coming back to is a memory from high school. I was on a team that won a regional competition; it was my biggest win to date. My strongest memory from that experience was being in line at the payphone behind a guy from the opposing team who said into the phone, simply, “Mom, they were better than us.” He floored me. He taught me how to compete and to be with what is so (with myself first and foremost) with grace and integrity.

    Many of my expectations appear at first to be reasonable only in proportion to my ignorance about what I have taken on. Even my realistic expectations are sometimes thwarted by the unexpected.

    Weighing my successes and failures, what stays with me the most is who I was and am in the matter.

    Although I am conceptually aware of being grateful, I rarely feel the peace that comes with gratitude at the same time I feel fear. These quotes remind me of who I am and what I am up to, and redirect my attention to the matter at hand:

    “[S]he who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”
    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough.”
    ~George Washington Carver

    “Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”
    ~Don Miguel Ruiz