I'd kind of cooked up a goal for myself this year: flush with the thrill of my big race in October, the girl who'd never run longer than a 10k decided she could run a half marathon. And yes, the dither implicit in that first sentence is intentional - I was torn between the couch potato I'd been for so long and the runner I really believed myself to be.
Late one Tuesday night in February, I had the registration form open for the Frederick Half Marathon. I completed all the fields, but chickened out when it came to making the payment. (Because honestly, spending the $80 is what makes it real, isn't it??) I chose to just leave the window open.
Wednesday morning 6am found me warming up at bootcamp, as I did every Monday Wednesday and Friday. After a flat-out sprint, 6.25am found me hobbling along the baseline of the gym, painfully aware that my goals might suddenly be changing.
When I surveyed friends about treatment for Achilles injuries, the answer was unanimous: GET THE HECK OFF IT. DO. NOT. USE.
That first week, my goal was simply to stretch and ice it daily, so certain was I that it was a minor hiccup in my training plan.
After 7 days' rest, my goal was to do a slow easy run, just to ease back into things. Twenty feet down the street and I knew I wouldn't be running for a long time.
After 14 days' rest, I finally called the doctor. My goal was simply to find out when I could run again.
At the podiatrist's, he cheerfully ventured a guess that I'd probably ruptured it to some extent, and ordered an MRI. More waiting.
A week later, the MRI completed, I waited nervously for the Official Diagnosis. More cheerful: no rupture! he enthused. Just some serious tendinitis. But when, I wanted to know. When can I run?
Five weeks he said. A walking cast for five weeks. A huge, ungainly and extremely inconvenient walking cast. If you're serious about healing this thing, he said, you will wear this for five weeks like it is the hottest accessory this side of Paris.
So now my goal is this: to run, someday. To wrap my head around a season of healing, instead of a season of training. To view renewed strength as success, as a different way of crossing the finish line.
Sometimes, goals are game changers. Sometimes, you have to be ok with the goal itself changing.
This post is submitted as part of Peter Pollock's One Word at a Time Blog Carnival, this week on 'Goals'.