Yesterday my friend said to me, “I’m not sure I could ever do a full. A marathon alone seems insurmountable.”
Ah ….. that. That right there.
It’s not about an Ironman at all. It’s about insurmountable. I miss that feeling in some ways, I don’t in other ways. The problem with having done so much is that I don’t feel like anything is insurmountable anymore. Trust me, at times that is a problem!
But again it’s not about an Ironman, not at all. It’s having something on your radar that makes you ask yourself “Could I DO that?”. That thing that you don’t know the answer to. Goals are easier when you know you can achieve them. The best ones, the scary ones, are the ones you don’t know you will achieve.
You have to be okay with knowing you might not achieve it, but don’t get caught up in that result and forget the progress and the journey that you got to take along the way. All progress is awesome progress. Reaching for a goal is far better than sitting on the couch, or worse, in a bar thinking of all the things you want to try, want to aim for.
You should just get out and do that shit.
I ran my longest run in YEARS this weekend. As the clock struck 2:30 I had another one of those crying moments. I felt all the feelings. It feels so good to be able to run this far. I feel so grateful to be able to do this. After all I have been through, this body is able to handle this.
It was interesting because my last few Ironman races and years of strong endurance training I was glued to the watch. What’s my heart rate? My pace? Coach said if I was three pounds lighter I would be running XX. This isn’t good enough.
Today….. I am free from all that.
Back in high school and college my swim coaches, the ones who knew me, took away my clock. They knew that my intuition was strong and they knew not to cloud it with data. That’s how I did well in triathlon too. Some athletes really do well with numbers and paces. My former coach is so motivated by that system and it works really well for him. He should never leave that system!
I needed to come back to here. This place. The place where I know by pure feel if I am running “in the right zone“. I meet myself where I am each day and allow the training to evolve. There is one person on this earth who knows me and this body. It’s me. I will never separate from that again. It took me a long time to learn to trust it again, but those were necessary lessons.
As I ran I felt it all. It was awesome.
I ran down roads I haven’t run down in a long time. One of the farmers that used to be part of my “good morning” was out there. “It’s good to see you again.” he called out to me. I smiled and reciprocated. If it wasn’t such a weird thing to do I would have gone to him and given him a big sweaty hug.
Actually, I should have just done that. Next week I will. Screw worrying if it’s weird. It was good to see him. I love running past his fields and seeing him out doing work that no one does today. I love seeing him tend to those crops with more care than I give to just about anything in my own life.
When I said it was good to see him too….. he had no idea how MUCH I meant that.
That one house by the light pole at the top of the hill, the two dogs are still there. They came out and ran along the fence with me, barking. Just like they always do.
The water spicket in Mendon was on thank God.
The house at the end of that other road has a new color.
The dog at the corner though, he’s gone.
These are the things I missed. Not the paces, not the heart rate. These things. These are the things that I carry with me through adventures that once seemed insurmountable. These are the things I missed while emotionally and physically recovering from all the stuff that comes along with overtraining, destructed health. Goodness that journey was long.
So here I was running the furthest distance I have in years, in my third 40 mile running week in over a decade. I am healthy, I am strong. I am good. The result will take care of itself, this is my process. I cried because I love it. I cried because I missed all of this. I cried because I will never take this ability for granted. It is not lost on me that I can do something many others can’t. I won’t waste that again. EVER.
It’s not insurmountable this time though, I do miss that.
The bottom line in my opinion is: goals are easy to set. Even the impossible ones. Are you willing to commit and to accept that the journey won’t be linear? That it will come with a whole hell of a lot of twists and bends and halts? Can you live with everything falling apart and continuing anyway? Can you give yourself the gift of self-belief, even if it seems too big or too much?
Who cares about the Ironman. For many of us that is just the path. What is YOUR insurmountable? A 5K? Graduate school? Becoming a parent? None of this is easy. I can guarantee you it’s all worth it. The journey is what makes it so beautiful though, that finish line is just the sweet reward.
So those things you dream of? You should just go do them. We get one shot at this thing called life. At the end of it we need to be able to look back and say “I can’t believe I did that. I am so freaking glad I took that chance on me.”
If you don’t take the chance on you….. who else will?