Thursday, May 1, 2014

Perspiration & Inspiration

“I’m not train­ing to be skinny. I’m train­ing to be bad ass.” --anonymous

I'm a sucker for a good quote.  Luckily, I'm not a Pinterest person, or I'd probably spend valuable minutes each night looking thru endless images of mountains, flowers, sky and other scenic venues with bold, inspirational text sprawled across it.  I love hearing a quote that makes me think a bit, and then working thru how it applies to my own life.

“It’s much eas­ier to get over pain than regrets.” --anonymous

This is one of my favorite quotes when the alarm goes off at 4:15AM.  Or when the hill in front of me is begging me to walk.  Or when my mind is trying to justify a 'day off' because my muscles are sore from Lisa's morning Spartacus class.  I'm not gonna lie, sometimes those outside forces win the conversation.....and, sure enough, the regret sinks in later.

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” --anonymous

 I recently undertook a 50K race.  It was scary to think I was going to have to eclipse my best day running by nearly 30% in one single, cold, snow-fallen February day.  Since then, I have taken to planning much more ambitious runs.  Everything from a day of trails (not just a couple hours, or just doing them all, but spending a DAY running them) at Wallace State Park, to the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim challenge of running the Grand Canyon from South to North and back again in the same day (~45miles), to pushing myself harder than I ever have during a 5K.  I plan to run a 100K and a 100Mile race, and I want to partake in the Western States Endurance Run someday.  I'm starting to think I need to add the Boston Marathon to my wish list.  I want to find new ways to push my body that might not always be successful on the day of the event/race.

"If we all did the things we are capa­ble of, we would astound our­selves." --Thomas Edison

I hear so many people tell me they "can't".  My children tell me they can't do something.  People I meet tell me they can't run.  People who talk with me about my running tell me they can't run that far.  I see people saying they can't, all the time.  I tell myself I can't do double-unders (I need to stop using "can't", because by summer's end, I'm gonna master them).  What I've started to notice, though, is that those who say they "can't"......are often the ones who haven't tried.  In middle- and high-school, I told myself I couldn't run long distances.  I told my coach I couldn't run long distances.  I stuck to running everything less than 200meters.  Man, if I could go back and slap that stupid kid for thinking like that....
“I run because some­how com­pletely exhaust­ing myself is the most relax­ing part of my day.”

This one is funny, and relevant to me......and really, to everyone.  In this day and age of instant information, technological advances, etc....we are more stressed as a population than ever before.  Isn't it a bit ironic that a 10.5mile run this afternoon will be the relaxing part of my day?  Maybe the effort we put into the rest of our lives should equal that of our pavement pounding time?  Or, perhaps, it's the sheer love of running that keeps a person from recognizing exhaustion?  Maybe it's a good night's sleep after a long, slow run that tempts us back each morning?  Whatever it is, I wake up each day looking forward to pushing myself to exhaustion.

“I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done.” --anonymous

At first glance, this one might seem to contradict the previous quote.  But, there's a difference between 'tired' and 'exhausted'.  Tired can be corrected with a few moments of rest.  I get tired during many of my runs, and I simply back off the pace a bit.  Exhaustion means there's nothing left in the tank.  I can run myself to exhaustion doing just a 5K.  But, I would say neither exhaustion nor tiredness causes me to stop my run each day.  I quite literally stop when I want to (or if one of the ladies at running club has brought cookies).  I like to expand this quote to life in general.  I undertake each task I begin with the same goal in mind.....being done.

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." --Juma Ikangaa

Be it victory or defeat, those moments are fleeting and rare.  They are sensationalized moments in life that come and pass too quickly.  If we only lived in those moments, our lives would be drastically shorter.  Every accomplishment is only made better by the preparation that went into it.

Lastly, speaking of victory & defeat, I recently had some success running 5Ks.  Admittedly, this is a bit of a 'chest thumping' moment, but here goes......In two consecutive weekends, I managed to win a 5K.  Neither one was a spectacular accomplishment, but neither one was by accident either.  I run hard when I'm alone.  I put the miles in each week.  I've learned to run farther than ever before in my life.  Winning was awesome, I won't deny that, and it was a good validation of the hours I've put in.  But, after the race, a good friend (who wasn't at the race) sent me the following text:

That was me!  I stood very near the finish line and clapped and cheered for every 5K finisher for the next hour and a half.  Just knowing someone saw me and noticed my efforts, was better than winning.  Quite literally, the only moment of joy from winning was crossing the finish line with arms raised high.....but it's still a 'chest thumping' moment to be able to say that I stayed to cheer on everyone else.  This is a trait you will find unique to ultra distance runners.  It's not about the's about finishing what you started, and finishing it on your terms.

"If at first you don't much for skydiving!!!" --anonymous


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