While, I'm not necessarily amazing, I am perhaps inspiring. The truth is that training for this marathon has been. Hard. In fact, right now I'm not allowed to run until the marathon so that i can nurse my shin splint. I'm not a stranger to my sciatic nerve, or my peritoneal tendinitis. There have been very few blissful runs recently. 2 days after my 20 mile run, I said goodbye to my precious grandmother and I've had a bucket load of other challenges.
I was often comparing my performance to that of 5 years ago when I ran my first marathon, pre cancer. I ran 9.5 minute miles, I had more energy. I was thinner. I was younger. I was healthier. (was I?) I was you-name-it. And maybe it is like childbirth, where we forget the pain and only remember the prize. If the day to day challenges are not easy then why push myself? Why not listen to my own advice to find joy in the present moment. There were some moments of pure NOT joy!
I coach other survivors on the importance of living for the moment, and seeking the things that bring joy. So why did I sometimes feel like a contradiction?
But then there were the times after the run. When the pain eased. When the goal had been accomplished. The feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself or my present circumstances. And a satisfaction that the work was making me stronger and better and feeling more alive than ever. And there were the miles I spent with other survivors who could not run. Who SO wanted to be able to run. Miles with Mollie, Miles with Mary Lou, Miles with Sally, Miles with Dorothy. Miles with Sue. Miles with Cassandra. And harnessing strength from my time with these precious spirits.
So not unlike life where there are moments of NOT joy, no matter how much we say JUST BE HAPPY because the truth is, that it is not that simple. But what we do have is our attitude, to know that we are part of something larger and beautiful, to know that our story is filled with joy and NOT joy. And that together it paints a picture..We are the canvas....but our attitude determines the colors. I choose bright rainbow colors..
In the end, even if there are moments of pain, the sum parts of running do indeed bring me joy. And I now know that I am AGAIN an athlete but perhaps by different, newer standards. Not standards of minutes per mile or by overall stamina, or a ripped tight body, but by the measure of being dedicated to the hard parts to reach the joy.
I remember now. ! Running is 85% attitude. (and 15% stretching) If you show up for the job, that is most of the success. Show up and let your body do the rest. Trust the schedule, Trust your body. Trust the journey.
I'm honored to run 26.2 for Wind River.