My Pursuit of Excellence

In honor of Olympic Day, I'm going to share a little secret with you. I have a goal... a set desire that I've had for a long time that only a handful of people have heard. It's something I've wanted for a few years and something I'm already putting in the work towards, but is still quite a ways away. 

When we enter the journey of fitness, we are often taught to set a series of small goals to lead into a big goal. Well, this is my big goal...

Qualify for the 2024 US Olympic Team Trials in the marathon.

There it is... I've shared it publicly and there's no turning back! 

During my college athletics journey, I mostly competed in the 5,000-meter race, but at one point I ventured into the 10,000-meter training and racing. While my training ended up digging me into a hole that took me many, many months to dig out of (*you can search the term "overtraining" in runners and I was the poster child for it!), I absolutely LOVED the long runs, the long miles of progression runs, and the second runs after workouts in the evenings. High mileage worked for me for a while, until I stopped expressing to my coaches how I was feeling out of fear. I didn't want to seem weak so I kept pushing and pushing when my body was telling me to slow down. Now that I've learned more about listening to my body and where my limits are, I am on a journey to the marathon. I became one of those people who couldn't sleep the night before a long run because I was so excited to get out and crush it. While I still get those excited butterflies before long runs, I get even more excited butterflies thinking about the many miles my feet will take me on within this new journey!

I took a slightly unconventional route in my training. After my college running career ended, I had overtrained so horribly that I took a few months off. When that wasn't enough and running still wasn't going well, I reevaluated what I wanted at the time and Jordan and I decided we were ready to grow our family. Pregnancy gave my body a different kind of rest and allowed me to explore other kinds of fitness. I had two babies in less than 16 months. With my first, I really struggled with staying fit and healthy... I was still coming off the overtraining and to be completely honest, I had fallen out of love with running. During my second pregnancy, I ran - HARD - through most of it. When I had to stop running, I still did a lot of cardio, and I found that my birth experience and recovery the second time around was SO much better than the first because of that. I was able to get back into running much sooner and have overall felt a lot better this time! At 5 months postpartum, I am at the same mileage that I was this time last summer when I was 9 months postpartum. 

It's slow going, and no one ever said this process would be easy, but I want to share one of my favorite quotes from the book In Pursuit of Excellence by Terry Orlick...

"On the path to excellence, some obstacles may initially seem insurmountable. Every performer experiences this feeling, even the greatest performers in the world. If you believe that the obstacles are too great to overcome, you will probably prove yourself right even when you are wrong. Most seemingly impossible obstacles can be overcome by seeing possibilities, focusing on what is within your control, taking the first step, and then focusing on the next step and the next step after that. If your commitment wavers, remember your dream goal or mission goal and why it is important to you, find simple joys in your daily pursuits, rejoice in the little victories or small steps forward, and embrace the process of ongoing learning. With a positive perspective and persistence, you will get through, focus through, and find a way through all the obstacles."

When I was in college, I wanted nothing more than to have a professional running career. But a series of choices in my training lead to a downhill spiral where that dream faded more and more into the distance. It became something of a joke to me, and I accepted that my fate was sealed. I had fallen out of love with running and it was time to close the book. In the end, I'm so thankful for the struggles I endured and the choices I made because they led me to opening Heartland Soles and also lead me to having my two beautiful children! I wouldn't trade that for the WORLD!! 

But now I'm presented with new opportunities, new dreams, new obstacles. While I could potentially set my sights on the 2020 Olympic Trails (and don't get me wrong, I have not completely counted them out), I have decided I am more willing to commit my dream to something long term- 2024- where I can put in years of focus, intention, persistence, commitment, drive, and of course, MILES, to get me to a place where I can be competing with the best of the best at that distance. I've fallen back in love with running, and I'm so excited to share this journey with you!

So, friends, here's to the accountability of sharing goals! My goal is to not only qualify, but to stand on the line that day ready to take on each step with confidence and readiness... to run with some of the best in the world and give myself a shot at representing the country I love. While the road is going to be long, grueling, and very trying, I am ready to take those first steps down that road towards my pursuit of excellence.

What will your pursuit be?

- Lindsey

By Lindsey Andrews