My Pity-Party Is Over--It's Time To Get Serious


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  121 comments   :  20,046 Views

My brief interaction with a fellow runner a few weeks ago has changed my attitude about running, at a time when I needed it the most.

As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I'm running the Chicago Marathon this Sunday. Training for a marathon is a long process (about 18 weeks), and definitely has its ups and downs. Some weeks, my runs go great and I feel like the race will be a success. Other weeks, my runs are terrible and I start to wonder if I'll be able to finish. Having done this type of training program before, I know that's part of the process.

A few weeks ago, I had a series of pretty terrible runs. And because of that, I started having an internal pity-party that lasted a lot longer than it should have. I started telling myself that these runs were harder for me than the average person. I have young kids, I'm still nursing one of them, I don't get much time to myself, I don't have the time to train as much as I should have, blah, blah, blah. The list could go on and on. My motivation and confidence started to wane, and instead of enjoying the training process, I started to dread it.

Then something happened. I was at mile 18 of my 22-mile run, telling myself it was okay to walk instead continuing to push through the fatigue. I started walking up a hill (which felt like a mountain, but was really a small grade), when I saw a man running in front of me. He was probably in his late 70s or early 80s, shuffling along, braces on each knee, but continued running when I had chosen to walk. Finally I picked up the pace, and eventually came up behind him. As I passed by, he waved and said "Hello." When I asked "How are you doing?" his response was "Pretty good for an old man!"

At that moment, I realized that everyone has their obstacles and I needed to stop internally whining about mine. We all have things that could stop us from reaching our goals or things that make reaching those goals a little more challenging. I'm not the only one, and my challenges aren't any bigger or smaller than anyone else's. I might be tired from being up late with a sick kid, but someone else might be just as tired from working late to meet a deadline at work. When you set a challenging goal for yourself, whether it's to run a marathon or lose 50 pounds, you know it's not going to be easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

So now it's time for me to focus on my goal and get serious about finishing this race. I might not be the next Deena Kastor (she's the American record-holder for the marathon and is also running in Chicago this Sunday), but I can finish strong and be proud of my accomplishments.

Have you ever had a pity-party for yourself when times got tough? What did you do to get yourself out of that mentality and back on track?

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    Lately I have found it harder and harder to stay down for long because I am really
    pleased with my consistency. I have started exercising every day with my 13 y/o
    son and 9 y/o daughter and all my focus is on being a good role model for them
    and encouraging them to push themselves. - 5/1/2010   11:12:57 PM
  • 120
    Thank you...thank you...thank you. While I havenīt been poor me,ing, I have been accepting that I 'just canīt do it in this environment' as easily as others can in the United States. But I can...I will...I must...The time has come for me to do it and be healthy. - 2/15/2010   6:28:51 PM
  • 119
    In my first marathon near the 20 mile mark I was feeling very tired and sorry for myself. About that time a herd of 70-ish folks came along side of me and started trying to encourage me. It turns out that 3 of them were 50-staters meaning that they had run at least one marathon in each of the 50 states. They tried to get me to keep up with them. I was in my 30's then and just couldn't do it but they motivated me so much that I didn't even notice 2 miles go by and at that stage of the game that's saying a lot. Now, my goal in life is to get to that age still running and find some tired looking person in the crowd and motivate them. - 12/12/2009   8:07:33 AM
  • 118
    This is an awesome blog... I am with you 100% with moving the obstacle of pity parties... and making things happen without using excuses...Pushing past pain, presevering through weariness, just to name a few. It is So and So It is!!! We are winners when we have an attitude shift... Read the bible for more inspiration and courage to conquer any goal you may have set for yourself.... Hebrews 12:1 ...Enjoy!! :)D - 10/14/2009   7:40:17 PM
  • 117
    Great motivation. Thanks for sharing. And congrats on the finish in Chicago! - 10/13/2009   1:32:48 PM
  • 116
    What a wonderfully well written example showing us that we all can accomplish our goals, regardless to the myriad of reasons each of us can sometimes come up with not to!!! I went through my own "pity party" of sorts just a few days ago and I'm so glad I found this blog entry bc it helps me to realize that what I went through isn't something other "winners" haven't experienced and overcome, too. Our best gift to ourselves at a pity party is to leave it . . . - 10/13/2009   8:45:45 AM
  • 115
    Hope you did well at your marathon! Sounds like you had the motivation to finish strong :-D - 10/12/2009   3:52:42 PM
    I was at the marathon cheering people on this weekend! I hope you did great! Congratulations on such a great accomplishment! - 10/12/2009   10:07:35 AM
  • 113
    Good luck in the marathon. My ex-step-daughter will be running and her father is going to be there from Detroit to cheer her on. I'm sure you've got your cheer squad handy. And we'll all be cheering from online SparkPeople. You'll do fine. - 10/10/2009   10:12:31 PM
  • 112
    I read your blog post. I've been having a bit of a mental pity party and your post helped. Thanks! - 10/9/2009   4:26:20 PM
  • COURTNEY1103
    Great story, good luck on Sunday! - 10/9/2009   2:10:37 PM
  • 110
    Jen, just doing a marathon is fantastic! You're going to have a great run Sunday! and I know you'll be spreading the Spark! - 10/9/2009   10:23:09 AM
  • 109
    Good luck - you can do it - remember, it's not the end that counts - it's the journey along the way that counts! - 10/8/2009   2:08:57 PM
  • 108
    good luck sunday, jen! - 10/8/2009   2:01:50 PM
  • 107
    Oh yeah I am a great pity-party giver! And always the good Lord puts someone in my path with real problems and a great attitude and I have to dust myself off and get on with my life. - 10/8/2009   12:45:47 PM
  • 106
    Great article Jen! So true. - 10/8/2009   10:29:19 AM
  • 105
    I'll be nearby in Kalamazoo, MI this Sunday visiting family...will be so WITH you in SPIRIT! You are gonna ROCK and SPARK the day away! Woo Hoo! :-)

    Don, Co-Leader of All Health Professionals, Binghamton Area Losers and Laid Off But Staying Strong SparkTeams - 10/8/2009   10:08:50 AM
  • 104
    Thanks for the perspective :) - 10/8/2009   8:06:58 AM
  • 103
    Oh my! I have pity parties too much. Always wanting to blame this, that, or someone for my failure to exercise, or overeating. And no one likes to attend someone else's pity party. - 10/8/2009   5:47:16 AM
  • 102
    Great blog, I can certainly relate! Good luck on your marathon Sunday!! Do you know how cold it's going to be here in Chicago on Sunday? Brrr - 10/7/2009   10:52:38 PM
  • 101
    At least I have some company--and good company, at that. I've been wallowing in self-pity lately. Marathon training seems to be going on forever and now that I'm running 20 miles, the aches and pains are escalating. I leaned on my friends at Spark People and they provided much needed support and inspiration. And, I ran into a former boss, now 82, who was on a relay team for a 50-mile ultra-marathon. The 8 men, ranging in age from 67 to 89, ran a fantastic race. They are very inspiring! - 10/7/2009   10:19:35 PM
  • 100
    This was MORE than timely for me! Almost like you read my thoughts the past few days as I question my decision to try to be a "real" runner. Those "aha" moments of perspective as you experienced with the older gentleman on the hill, well, those moments have a tendency to put it ALL in perspective and to shut down the pity party. Awesome post! and Best of Luck and Mindset melded with Strength in Chicago! - 10/7/2009   8:56:55 PM
  • 99
    I've been having an internal pity party for myself b/c I can't seem to get the last weight off to meet my goal, but I have kicked my butt into gear and am working out harder so hopefully it will come off soon. Plus I lowered my goal weight so I have a new goal to meet! - 10/7/2009   5:29:41 PM
  • 98
    You're human, Jen. You will be where you should be on race day. As you say, it's all part of the process.

    Best of luck in Chicago! - 10/7/2009   5:06:08 PM
  • 97
    I am hosting a pity party for myself today today as I write this response, LOL!. My knees are hurting from jogging. I am a brand new runner and have been questioning my decision for the past couple days. Your blog helped, believe me! Thanks! - 10/7/2009   4:12:21 PM
  • 96
    When I'm having an elongated pity party I go to bed for a day and sleep hard. I visualize in the middle of the night getting up in the morning with a smile on my face and in the morning I get up with a smile on my face. Then, I go about my day, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, and exercise, and cook and communicate with friends. Then, I'm back to normal. But, usually I have my sleep day on a Sunday.

    Jempower - 10/7/2009   3:09:22 PM
    this was great. i have to stop and think and realize that as hard as my life is there is someone else out there worse off than me and most of them are going through life with their disabilities with a positive and winning attitude. we can learn alot from others! - 10/7/2009   3:04:17 PM
  • CHILE001
    Thank you so much for your inspiration. I just started exercising and watching my food intake this week! I am off to a good start! You, however, inspire me more to keep it going for good health! Good luck this Sunday with the Marathon! You are going to do great! Kudos to you! - 10/7/2009   3:01:07 PM
  • 93
    This IS the healthy way of looking at whatever life throws at you and an attitude that will take you to the finish line. - 10/7/2009   2:48:51 PM
  • 92
    Thanks for this Blog! And Good Luck on your run! - 10/7/2009   2:39:12 PM
  • 91
    This is a great way of seeing the challenges! I've been in pity-party mode for a few days, after a month I should have been more proud of, and it's definitely a help to read about how everyone faces these trials. It's all in your attitude, isn't it?! - 10/7/2009   2:36:19 PM
  • 90
    awesome post!!! LOVE It!!! I will be there cheering you and nancy on on Sunday! My goal is to see you all on the course at least 4 times so keep your eyes out for me boucing along the sidelines!!! WOO HOO!!! - 10/7/2009   2:20:06 PM
  • 89
    I hope you really kick it with your marathon and get as much inspiration as you've given others!

    and yes, I think most of us has fallen prey to that pity thing. Then I search through Spark and find some amazing stories (from members or other links) - people who run triathlons with no legs, swim with no arms or legs, etc etc. I tell myself (in the tough times/runs/sections) "The mind gives up before the body does" and I've NOT ONCE found that to be untrue... - 10/7/2009   2:14:45 PM
  • 88
    "Any excuse for a party" just keeps running through my mind...
    Loved this blog.. thanks for the laugh in my heart today. - 10/7/2009   1:40:10 PM
  • 87
    This blog came just in time. I'm in a pity-party right now! Life surely throws some curve balls and I need to finally accept that.
    Thanks! - 10/7/2009   1:34:29 PM
  • 86
    Yes Fantastic Blog!! I in the past always had a pity party for me cause I had so many excuses.. NOW I keep focused.. Thanks.. - 10/7/2009   1:26:53 PM
  • 85
    Good blog....And you can be the next American record-holder if thats what you want..what ever you set your mind on and really want you can do..Good luck
    God bless you - 10/7/2009   1:22:59 PM
  • 84
    Thank you for sharing this with us! :-) Everyone has those same ups and downs - but you are absolutely right - you may think you have it the worst and then you realize that you actually don't!

    Good luck this weekend at your marathon - you're gonna do awesome!! :-) - 10/7/2009   12:47:42 PM
  • 83
    Thanks for sharing this!! I've definitely been having a pity party the last couple months and I need some help. Thanks for reminding us that no matter how crummy we feel, there's someone with a worse situation doing what we don't want to!! I'm running my first 5K, the Race for the Cure, this Sunday in Phoenix, but I'll think of you all at one point. I'm hoping of running my first half sometime relatively soon! - 10/7/2009   12:43:09 PM
  • 82
    Heres to a great run on Sunday Jen! Will say a special "encouragement" prayer for you and all the runners on Sunday! - 10/7/2009   12:39:16 PM
  • 81
    excllent blog - 10/7/2009   12:33:11 PM
    Actually this is just what I needed to hear today. I have been in a slump for the last few weeks and even though I know I need to get my butt in gear if I am going to achieve my goals I keep coming up with excuses in my head why I can't do it today or whatever. I need a kick in the butt to get up and get back on track myself. Thank you for this! - 10/7/2009   12:26:22 PM
  • 79
    The last pity party I had, I invited God over! :)
    He is the only One to help me get through
    my pity party! - 10/7/2009   12:24:48 PM
  • 78
    Wow thanks a lot! Just what I needed to hear today!! What inspiration to help us stop the pity parties and goodness knows I have plenty of them. - 10/7/2009   12:02:20 PM
  • 77
    excllent blog.goodluck to you - 10/7/2009   11:58:47 AM
  • 76
    Excellent blog! When I start feeling a pity party coming on, I look to my husband for inspiration. A 5-stroke survivor, he was into marathons, boxing and martial arts prior to his first stroke, after which he continued to work towards marathons even if he could only walk them. Even now, after loosing the use of his left arm and needing to walk with a cane, he continues to workout with weights and walk on our treadmill. He may not go fast, he may not be able to lift more than 3 lbs with his left arm (his right is as strong as ever), but he doesn't give up. He is an inspiration to me and my children. The great news is, his doctor has sent him to physical therapy to determine if a Bioness device (it stimulates muscles in the leg to assist in walking) will work for him and it will! Next we'll see about one for his hand. Technology is amazing!! - 10/7/2009   11:53:30 AM
  • 75
    Great blog. This sure made me think about the pity party I've been throwing myself the past couple of months. - 10/7/2009   11:21:15 AM
  • 74
    Great blog Coach Jen. Hmmm . . . you runners are pulling at my running shoestrings, aren't you? I have been in the contemplation stage of returning to this sport and may just be getting the motivation to get into the action stage.

    I've had reason to slow down due to a broken fibula in April 2008. It has healed quite nicely (had a plate and 5 screws put in and then taken back out a month later). I did some rehabilitation and it feels good. Now I have to get my mind set that I can do it again!

    Thanks for sharing and best wishes on the Chicago marathon. Tell Coach Nancy I said "hi." SP members will be with you both in spirit. I can't wait to read your blogs about the race.

    Spark Hugs and Cheers . . . Deb - 10/7/2009   10:35:58 AM
  • 73
    Great blog, Jen!! A bunch of us at Road Runners signed up for runner tracking at Chicago. We will be literally with you!!!! BEST WISHES! - 10/7/2009   10:23:58 AM
  • 72
    The singing group The Eagles have a song that is entitled...GET OVER IT!!!
    My favorite song when I am in a pity-party mode. We all can find someone worse off than ourselves, if we look. The trick that person out or anyone else...if you can. That always makes your problems seem so much smaller. - 10/7/2009   10:21:53 AM

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