Taking on a physical challenge after divorce is very common. I’m not sure why. Without a partner and with shared parenting, there’s often more time for activities, it can be a way of meeting new friends and there’s often a strong desire to take better care of yourself. I think there’s also an element of proving to yourself that you can do something that maybe you’ve never done before or haven’t done in a long time.
My present guest, Lucy took on a physical challenge after her divorce. She ran a marathon. Here’s Lucy:
I ran but I wasn’t a runner. I always worked out and taught aerobics and did stuff like that but I never really got into running until I got divorced.
I was just at my cousin’s party and one of her friends was fundraising for this Leukemia marathon. I thought he asked me to sponsor him and I said, “Oh sure, I’ll sponsor you,” but he was actually asking me to do the marathon. He was like, “Great, I’ll see you tomorrow at 10:00 A.M. for a run.” I’m like, “Wait, what?”
Then I just said, “Well, why not? I’ll do it.” So, I showed up for the run and then that’s when I met all these people who became my friends and I just really haven’t stopped since.
That run was 10 miles. And I had run maybe five miles max at a time. But it just worked. I was just oblivious, so I was like, “Okay, here we go.”
Now I run marathons twice a year. I was doing the “Team in Training” marathons and became a mentor for them. Team in Training is sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The marathon teams go around the country and raise money for Leukemia. So, let’s say I did a marathon in San Diego, I would raise $3800 and probably like 75 percent of it goes to fight Leukemia and then the other 25 percent pays your way to the event.
There’s a group in Milwaukee and they have two marathons per year that they train runners to participate in. I’ve stopped doing that but it’s a great thing. It’s a great way to meet people and just bond with people. It’s how I met my husband, and I also met my really good friend Mary Ann.
And after Mary Ann and I stopped doing the “Team in Training” marathons, we just continued training together every Saturday.
One Saturday about three years ago, Mary Ann said, “I have something to tell you, but you can’t tell anyone.” Well, another divorce story is born. Her husband was embezzling millions of dollars and he ended up going to jail and all these bad things. So, running is just like a therapy for both of us.
I expect many of the runners in Monday’s Boston Marathon were first timers excited about their challenge and many were running to raise money for various charities and causes. I keep thinking about them – the disappointment, the anti-climax, the missed opportunity. The months of training that have been dashed. I hope they are still able to appreciate that even getting to the marathon is a significant accomplishment, that they still have made a difference in this world.
Even though lots of people do seek out a physical challenge don’t feel it’s something you HAVE to do. If you approach something out of a sense of obligation, you won’t enjoy it as much and you’re reducing your likelihood of success. You can also take on a physical challenge in a way that suits you.
I hate running. Can’t even run a mile. When it comes to physical stuff I’m also very uncompetitive so timed events hold little interest for me and certainly aren’t motivational. It took me a while to figure out my physical challenge but last year, five years after the end of my marriage, I took up cycling and now I wonder why it took me so long! I won’t ever ride in a race but being outside, on the country roads surrounded by the foothills to the Rockies feeds my soul.
Have you taken on a physical challenge? What made you choose it? What difference has it made to you?
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