Heavy... Slow... Struggling!! Some of the more positive examples of the types of words ringing in my head in the weeks after my last marathon as I plodded through short base runs like an old and fat version of my long lost fit self. Most of the Boston Marathon was a nice and smooth "jog" at around 5:25/mile pace and here I am, well after what should have been plenty of recovery time, working hard for a minute slower per mile. Where are my lungs? Where are my legs? My glutes? Power? Speed? Hell, I'll take basic endurance at this point! And the list goes on...
What I'm feeling, like probably about 100% of athletes have also felt at some point, is just a bit of shock. Like a "how the heck can I have gotten this out of shape so fast?" type of shock. I am also fully equipped with an arsenal of answers to my own dilemma. It's just the typical recovery process, hyper compensation, healing, restoring.... Blah, blah, blah. "Thanks coach, now please shut up so I can comprehend the amount of work, and pain, that lies ahead!" Ah yes, sound familiar?
Along this journey of ups and downs and peaks and valleys, it can become a bit like being on a perpetual journey through space and time. But... It is in these moments that we must remember that in reality, it is actually the exact opposite of that. WE WILL NEVER BE HERE AGAIN! There is nothing perpetual about the human experience. Every moment, every breath, is an opportunity. The feelings of pain, even the shitty, slow, out-of-shape workout type of pain... That IS the glory.
Sometimes we ask ourselves, "How long can I do this?" "When is it enough?" Well, whether it's a job, sport, family, whatever battle you find yourself in, I say the answer is in our own mortality. The fact is that we aren't here for very long. Maybe a better question is "How long can I inspire myself, how long can I truly live?" "How long do I GET to do this?"
Here is where we find the will to push through hell and high water. Here is your motivation!
We have an opportunity, with each breath, to define ourselves through the adversities that present themselves just as much as we do through life's easier moments. Stay in the moment. Embrace it. After all, this is your story, all the goods and bads included! Stay with the pain, even if it's all you ever have, you will have lived it. And if you come out on the other side... Every ounce of victory is that much sweeter!
To me, this is one of life's great romances. The pursuit. Of what? Of it all. Of the destination and the journey. The pleasure and the pain. The joy and the hurt. The love and the loss.
So what say you, shall we train for another marathon? Just to see... Just because... Think about it. Let me know. I'd love to share the journey with you brother, sister.
I'll leave you with this, one of my favorite quotes from the movie Gladiator...
"WHAT WE DO IN LIFE, ECHOS IN ETERNITY!"
(*this blog originally posted June 9th, 2014)