I’m a movie quote girl.
Remember in the movie Airplane when Lloyd Bridges says he picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue? Well, I thought of that quote a few days ago when I gasped my way through the end of my run workout. I picked the wrong time to get back in shape.
I’ve signed myself up for The Boulder Half Marathon in the summer. It’s funny to me that a half marathon is a final goal when I used to do those weekly in training — but all of us must select our goals relative to our own current fitness level. We can’t live each day fantasizing about what we used to be, or had, or accomplished; we need to live in the NOW.
So there I was amid my run workout, huffing and puffing. I was red-faced, sucking wind, seeing stars, hanging on by a thread, wondering how in God’s name I could be dying when my pace near the end of a 5-mile run was much slower than what my marathon pace was in my Ironman races.
It was a thick slice of humble pie.
It’s the love/hate part of running. It’s the mystery and the misery. The triumph and the triage. It’s why we give up and lace up, over and over again.
I began to doubt that I had ever in my life run 26.2 miles. Or ever been a professional athlete. That had to have been someone else – an impostor, a stunt double, someone in the witness protection program. I could not conjure any memory of it, or fathom any possibility of it.
When we are humbled or vulnerable, old voices like to sneak back in. I heard some adolescent ghosts whisper to me that I sucked, that no one would ever want pathetic me, that I should stick to things I am good at doing, that other people were athletes and I was simply a clumsy oof. Ugh.
I read something about how elephants are trained. When they are young they are tied up by one ankle with a heavy chain. No matter how hard they struggle or pull against it, they cannot escape. Over time they accept this condition as their destiny and full-grown elephants are able to be restrained by a wimpy little ankle chain. Anyone with eyes could see that with one tug of their mighty leg the elephant could instantly break their tether, but the elephant has no idea. The strongest animal on land dreams of freedom.
How often are we like the elephant? We are restrained by the old voices that used to define us, or we allow to still define us now. The heavy chains are nothing more than twine, easily snapped, if only we knew we had the strength.
I recently received the greatest card from my dear friend, Kristen, who has metaphorically walked by my side during some unbelievably dark days some years ago. I framed it, and look at it constantly.
In the card she wrote: Keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other. Get it done. (And be careful with your heart, sweet you!)
Keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other. Start TODAY. Not tomorrow, not next month. Find a goal (to keep you motivated) and put it on the calendar. Then go get it.
I’m rooting for you too.