“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.”
It’s Monday morning and every part of my body aches!
I ran Sunday, training for the upcoming Barcelona 1/2 Marathon (13.1 miles). There are about six-weeks left until the big run, and I’m behind schedule. I admit it!
Holiday travel and a toddler who was ill for most of December, have me focusing hard (both mentally and physically) to catch up.
It’s my first official race and, to some, a 1/2 marathon might seem like a walk in the park. For me, it’s a climb through a very thick and unfriendly jungle!
I don’t consider myself a natural runner and, truth be told, it’s not my favorite physical activity.
So, why do it?
That’s a good and obvious question. One I’ve asked myself several times, in fact.
The answer that keeps coming back to me is this: I want to prove to myself that I can go the distance and succeed in something that does not come easy for me. I want to break through this mental barrier urging my body to quit.
Oprah ran her first full marathon in 4 hours and 29 minutes. I have read inspirational stories of runners with artificial legs completing marathons, and elderly runners making it to the finish line. Here I am, a healthy and fit woman battling the urge to STOP not a full marathon but a HALF!
Within 15 minutes of my Sunday run, my calves and shins were aching and I was thinking of about a million other things I’d rather be doing. A voice within shouting, “Give it up, already!” Then, at about the 3-mile point is when another voice called out, “You cannot and will not surrender!”
I listen to the second voice. It urges me on. To quit would be disappointing. Disappointment in myself is equal to death, in my book. It is the lion that chases the gazelle!
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running!”
On Sunday, I could see the gazelle and I began to cry as I ran. A real, honest, raw, and unexpected emotional outburst: perhaps a breakthrough? I could feel the lion at my heels. “I won’t be your meal!” I ran faster and harder. The lion will lose this chase!
Running is, indeed, like life: you get out of it what you put into it. There is, at times, physical pain that comes along with the journey, not to mention the psychological pain of fear and doubt. Will I make it? What if I don’t? What if I can’t? What will they say? What will I say?
No, the lion will not feast today, or any day, on this gazelle! An exhilaration is born from somewhere deep within. I no longer focus on the physical pain. The psychological woes fade and all I see is the path of possibility.
My runs teach me that nothing can stop me, but ME. It seems that I embody both the gazelle AND the lion. I think we all do.
I desire to run the race of life, and my 1/2 marathon, with courage, grace, and a fearless spirit. I’ll get to the finish line! The lessons I learn along the way will enrich me beyond measure.
I’ll keep you posted on the 13.1. And, if you have a moment, I’d love for you to write me with your advice and encouragement!
Now, back to the run!
Affirmation: (Hold your arms to the sky as you say these words. Look up! Connect body to spirit)
Today, I go the distance. I break through any barrier, physical or mental, telling me that I cannot realize my goals and my dreams. Possibility is the path I choose. Nothing can stop me! Today, I run the race called life with courage, grace, and determination: fearless and free.