When I’m met with times of difficulty such as this I remember a few things:
1. I remember I’m damn lucky to still be able to run. I’ve been pushing my body to the extreme for years, running four full marathons while in college (during which I was a bartender and a server working all hours of the day/night), still running a few days a week over the summer, and competing in road races when I can. My running career started as a gangly Jr. High kid (Thanks to Lor Dickes) who didn’t think it was possible to run one time around the track in under a minute and a half. That turned into a passion for running that still lights a fire in me. I grew into a successful cross country and track athlete through my high school career collecting medals and ribbons along the way. It’s been 15 years since graduation – and I still find time to run…and it still comes relatively easy to me. I’m damn lucky.
2. Some people would give anything to run Saturday. Or any day for that matter. The day after the Boston Marathon bombings last year I was crabby. I was tired. I was stressed. I was sore. I did not want to run. But, I reminded myself there were hundreds of people in Boston, and all over this great country, that would give anything to get out and log a few miles. So, I put on my Boston Marathon shirt (nope, never ran, just got the shirt) and took off. It hurt. It was one of those runs that never really feels good…but you do it anyway…BECAUSE YOU CAN. I never forget that. During a particularly difficult mile during the Chicago Marathon years ago I looked up to see a billboard “Some people won’t even drive 26.2 miles today”. *Smirk* That’s right, some people won’t even drive as many miles as I run. Some people won’t run today – because they can’t – they may not even be able to walk. I’m damn lucky.
3. “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift” ~ Steve Prefontaine. Pre has been a staple in my running career since high school. As a runner, you constantly look and listen for legends. Some legends are made right before your eyes – like another Summer who ran for a large school near my hometown, she was blonde and fast and my hero. I watched her fall to her knees at the State Track meet during extreme heat one May…it literally took my breath away…and reminded me no one is immune to the conditions. Some legends you can only read about, or watch movies about, because they’re no longer with us. That’s Pre. He was 24 when he died, but never wasted a day of his life. He pushed himself to the limit – always. If anyone was going to beat him, they were going to “have to bleed to do it”. He was a true competitor. He never gave up, never gave in. When I’m feeling like I don’t have what it takes, a simple “Steve Prefontaine Quotes” Google search reminds me – I’m damn lucky.
4. Hebrews 12:1 “…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” I was invited to run my first half marathon with my step-father, Mark, a couple of years ago. We decided to register about 8 weeks ahead of time…I was not in shape for 13 miles. Luckily, the weather at that time of year was very cooperative so I got out to run just about every day. My mileage moved up easily and I was ready…but I was also anxious. A few days before the race my Daily Bible Verse popped up on my phone, it was Hebrews 12:1. I read it over and over and over until I had memorized it. It became my motto for everyday life – and especially for the half. The day of the half, I wrote the verse on my arm so I could look down upon it during difficult miles. I found the verse staring me in the face during the run – on T-shirts and banners and posters. It was everywhere. HE was everywhere. I was being lifted up and taken care of. I finished faster than I could have ever imagined – 2 hours, 11 minutes. Not to shabby for someone who only had 8 weeks to train…I was damn lucky.
So, today, I will use the RICE method on my Achilles. I will read quotes from Pre. I will study Hebrews 12:1. I will mentally remind myself I CAN DO THIS. I will run on Saturday, in the rain, in the cold, in the snow…whatever the day may bring. I WILL FINISH. And I will celebrate with my family and friends afterwards. Because, I will remind myself, I’M DAMN LUCKY.